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6 minute read
22 May 2023

Qualitative Research, Observational Studies & the JBI, CASP & STROBE Checklists

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Qualitative research differs from quantitative research

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research explores people’s subjective experiences, perspectives, and behaviors to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular topic. It uses methods such as interviews, observations, and focus groups to collect and analyze data. Unlike quantitative methods, which rely on numerical data, qualitative research is particularly useful in exploring complex and multifaceted issues. By getting up close and personal with the subject matter, it allows researchers to understand the “why” behind people’s actions and behaviors.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research, on the other hand, measures and quantifies social phenomena using numerical data collected through surveys, experiments, and statistical analysis. Unlike qualitative research, which explores the “why” behind social phenomena, quantitative research aims to answer specific research questions or test hypotheses using structured and standardized methods. It typically involves larger sample sizes to ensure statistical significance and generalizability. While quantitative research can provide valuable insights and enable generalizations about a population, it may miss the nuances of human behavior and experience that qualitative research can uncover.

The key differences between qualitative and quantitative research methodologies

  • Data collection methods

    Qualitative research relies on methods such as interviews, observations, and focus groups to gather data. In contrast, quantitative research typically uses surveys, experiments, and statistical analysis to collect data.

  • Sample sizes & Generalizability

    Qualitative research often involves smaller sample sizes than quantitative research, as the focus is on gaining an in-depth understanding of a particular phenomenon rather than making generalizations about a population. Qualitative research is often criticized for lacking generalizability, as the findings are based on a small and specific sample size. Quantitative research, on the other hand, aims for a high level of generalizability to the larger population.

  • Research design

    Qualitative research typically involves a flexible and iterative research design that allows for the exploration of complex and multifaceted issues. Quantitative research, on the other hand, involves a more structured research design that aims to test specific hypotheses or answer research questions.

  • Data analysis

    Qualitative research typically involves a process of coding and categorizing data to identify patterns and themes. Quantitative research involves statistical analysis to test hypotheses and determine relationships between variables.

Preparation is half the battle

Before you can start your qualitative research, the following pre-research steps must be taken care of:

  1. Defining the research question
  2. Choosing a research design
  3. Choosing between inductive and deductive research designs
  4. Developing a research plan
  5. Identifying and selecting participants
  6. Ensure ethicality

You can find a comprehensive explanation of the individual steps in our free eBook!

Qualitative Research Methods

There are various methods of qualitative research, and each method has its strengths and limitations. The most common qualitative research methods are:

Now that we have introduced some of the key qualitative research methods, let’s take a closer look at how to effectively use some of these methods in practice. The following paragraphs will give you handy tips and best practices specifically tailored to conducting interviews, focus groups, and observations.

The Importance of Transcription in Qualitative Research Interviews

Interview transcription is a crucial step in qualitative research that enables researchers to systematically analyze and interpret the data collected through interviews. This allows researchers to draw meaningful conclusions from the research findings.

What is interview transcription?

Transcription involves the conversion of audio or video recordings into a written format. This involves listening to the interview recording and transcribing, or typing out, the spoken words into a text document. The resulting transcript captures the content of the interview, including the words spoken by the interviewer and the interviewee, as well as any background noises or interruptions.

How can transcriptions ease qualitative research interviews and focus groups?

By transcribing interviews, researchers can easily review and analyze the information provided by participants, identify key themes and patterns, and gain a more in-depth understanding of the topic being studied. Transcription also allows researchers to capture nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, pauses, and emphasis, which can provide important insights into the participant’s emotions and attitudes. Without transcription, researchers may miss important details and insights that could be relevant to their research question.

How to transcribe interviews – fast (and accurate)?

Luckily, there’s a transcription expert out there that can make your qualitative research process a lot smoother: Amberscript! We specialize in transcription services and can help you make sure your interviews are transcribed accurately and efficiently. Learn more about our automatic and professional transcription services to see which option suits your purpose best.

Plus, we have a handy interview transcription checklist that you can download to ensure you’ve covered all the bases before starting your transcription. It includes all the important aspects to consider when using interviews as a research method, so that you can be confident that everything is well-prepared and the transcription process goes as smoothly as possible.

Mastering the Art of Focus Groups

Focus groups are a qualitative research method that involves bringing together a small group of people to discuss a particular topic or issue. They can be a valuable tool for exploring complex attitudes and perceptions, as well as generating new insights into social or cultural phenomena. However, in order to conduct a successful focus group, it’s important to plan and prepare carefully, and to follow a structured process for conducting and analyzing the data.

To help you with this, Amberscript has created a comprehensive focus group checklists that covers everything from selecting participants to analyzing the data. Download our free checklists to ensure that your focus group research is methodologically sound and produces reliable and valid findings. More information on the different types of focus groups, and tips on how to run a successful focus group can be found here.

Unveiling the Unseen: The Value of Observational Research in Qualitative Studies

Observational research offers a unique perspective that unlocks hidden insights about human behavior in natural settings. Unlike other research methods, such as surveys or experiments, observational research allows researchers to capture social phenomena in real-time and in their natural environment, without any artificial constraints or biases. It’s like being a detective who’s also a master of disguise – with the ability to blend in and get up close and personal without being noticed.

This method is particularly useful in providing rich and detailed data that cannot be obtained through other means. For example, a study that observed the behavior of shoppers in a grocery store revealed the impact of product placement on consumer buying habits.

Observational research can complement other qualitative methods like interviews or focus groups by providing a unique angle on social interactions. It plays a crucial role in fields such as anthropology, sociology, and psychology by providing a deeper understanding of human behavior and social dynamics. If you are fascinated by human behavior and want to dive deep into the social world, observational research might just be your calling!

Using JBI and CASP Checklists for Observational Research in Qualitative Studies

Observational research can be a powerful tool in qualitative research, allowing researchers to directly observe and document social phenomena as they occur in real-world settings. To ensure that your observational study is conducted in a systematic and rigorous manner, you can use tools such as the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI), the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP), or the STROBE checklists.

The JBI Checklist

The JBI checklist is your go-to guide for planning, conducting, and reporting your observational study. It provides guidance on selecting appropriate participants, determining the scope and focus of the study, and collecting and analyzing data.

The CASP Checklist

Meanwhile, the CASP checklist helps researchers critically appraise the quality of observational studies, including assessing the validity and reliability of the data, identifying potential biases, and evaluating the generalizability of the findings.

The STROBE Checklist

STROBE stands for Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology. This checklist provides a rundown of essential items that researchers should include in their reports, such as details about the study design, participant characteristics, outcomes, and statistical analyses.

Qualitative Research Made Easy: Your Comprehensive Guide and Checklists Bundle

Are you planning to conduct qualitative research, but not sure where to start?

Our comprehensive eGuide has got you covered! We have put together everything you need to know about qualitative research, from an introduction to the different methods to tips on how to analyze and report your findings. And to make your research process even easier, we have also included:

  • our interview transcription checklist,
  • our checklist for planning focus groups,
  • checklist for conducting focus groups, and
  • checklist for analysing focus groups.

With our bundle, you’ll have all the tools you need to conduct your qualitative research in a methodologically sound manner and produce reliable and valid findings. Whether you are a seasoned researcher or just starting out, this bundle is a valuable resource that can help you enhance your qualitative research skills and produce more robust and meaningful results.

Download for free using the form below!

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