Qualitative research methods

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Qualitative methods in sociological research refer to distinctive types of research activities: participant observation, intensive interviewing, and focus groups. The three qualitative designs differ but also share many similar characteristics that distinguish them from quantitative methods of research. Qualitative researchers begin their research with an exploratory research question (for many times there isn't sufficient data to formulate a structured and specific goal). And once started they make sure to pay attention to the social context in which social phenomena occur, human subjectivity and how they themselves can influence any situation.

Participant observation[edit]

Participant observation is a method for gathering data that involves developing a relationship with people while they go about their daily, normal activities. It is a means for seeing the social world as the research subjects see it, in its totality, and for understanding subjects' interpretations of that world (Wolcott, 1995:66).

For more information, see Participant observation (Wikipedia)

Intensive Interviewing[edit]

is a method in which the researcher seeks in-dept information from their interviewee's feelings, experiences, and perceptions.

Focus Groups[edit]

is a method in where the researcher seeks to encourage discussion among participants about a certain topic of interest.


Wolcott, Harry F. 1995. The Art of Fieldwork. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.