Qualitative Research

 

Qualitative research commonly includes the use of interviews, observations, field notes, and artifacts (i.e. photographs, documents, and other hard evidence) to better understand a central phenomenon. Research questions used in qualitative designs are significantly different than those of quantitative studies.

 

Example:

 

Weber, R. M. (1993). Even in the midst of work: Reading among turn-of-the-century farmers' wives. Reading Research Quarterly, 28, 292-302.

 

Abstract [with notes added in red]:

 

The place of reading in the lives of farm women at the turn-of-the-century [one type of qualitative study is a historical study] is examined through an analyis of the content of extention bulletins directed to farmers' wives and of their responses to it [In this study, the researcher examined artifacts, i.e. the bulletins and written responses. This is a common form of data collection in qualitative studies]. The bulletins of the Cornell Reading-Course for Farmers' Wives offered an ideal vision of literacy that prevailed at the time, tempered to suit women's lives on farms. These bulletins recommended a range of literate practices to guide and lighten work, offset prejudices against farming, and foster virtue. These included reading thoughtfully and widely, cultivating reading in children, and reading with others at home and in study clubs. The women's responses generally accepted the recommendations, but valued reading mainly as a diversion from work.