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EXDL 806: Research Methods II

Common Types of Qualitative Research Design

Case study

Definition: In-depth examinations of people, groups of people, or institutions. Content analysis is the term used to indicate the examination of communication messages obtained in case studies, as well as in other types of qualitative studies.

Example: A Case Study of an Exemplary Transition Program in High School


Definition: Collect data from groups, such as certain cultural groups. Ethnographers frequently live with the people they are studying. Data are collected from key informants, who are the people most knowledgeable about the culture.

Example: The Andacollo's Mining Community: Ethnographic Work-Based Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility Policies and Practices


Definition: Examine human experiences through the descriptions that are provided by the people involved. Bracketing is the process in which qualitative researchers put aside their own feelings and beliefs about the phenomena under consideration to keep from biasing their observations.

Example: Emergency Remote Education Experiences of Teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Phenomenological Research


Definition: Uses stories, autobiography, journals, field notes, letters, conversations, interviews, family stories, photos, life experience, and other artifacts as the units of analysis to research and understand the way people create meaning in their lives as narratives.

Example: Accessing rural health services: Results from a qualitative narrative gerontological study

Grounded Theory

Definition: Studies, data are collected and analyzed, and then a theory is developed that is grounded in the data. A process called constant comparison is used, in which data are constantly compared to data that have already been gathered.

Example: Fostering the academic success of their children: Voices of Mexican immigrant parents

Mixed Methods

Definition: Combines elements of quantitative research and qualitative research.

Example: Impact of Undergraduate Students’ Library Use on Their Learning beyond GPA: Mixed-Methods Approach

Definitions from Foundations in Nursing Research, 6th edition by Rose Marie Nieswiadomy

Resources on Qualitative Research Designs

Introduction to qualitative research methods : a guidebook and resource by Steven J. Taylor, Robert Bogdan, Marjorie L. DeVault (e-book)

An informative real-world guide to studying the "why" of human behavior Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods is a practical, comprehensive guide to the collection and presentation of qualitative data. Unique in the market, this book describes the entire research process -- from design through writing -- illustrated by examples of real, complete qualitative work that clearly demonstrates how methods are used in actual practice.

Fundamentals of qualitative research by Johnny Saldaña (e-book)

Fundamentals of Qualitative Research approaches qualitative inquiry as a strategically selected composite of genres, elements, and styles. This book presents a concise yet rigorous description of how to design and conduct fieldwork projects and how to examine data in multiple ways for interpretive insight. Saldana acquaints readers with the major genres of qualitative research available and the elements of interviewing, participant observation, and other data collection methods to inform emergent research design decisions. 

Designing qualitative research by Catherine Marshall, Gretchen B. Rossman (print book)

Addressing the complexity, flexibility, and controversies of qualitative research’s many genres, Designing Qualitative Research gives students, research managers, policy analysts, and applied researchers clear, easy-to-understand guidance on designing qualitative research. While maintaining a focus on the proposal stage, this best-selling book takes readers from selecting a research genre through building a conceptual framework, data collection and interpretation, and arguing the merits of the proposal.

Research Methodology Overview of Qualitative Research by Daniel H. Grossoehme (journal article)

Describes three common methodologies: ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology. Issues to consider relating to the study sample, design, and analysis are discussed. Enhancing the validity of the data, as well reliability and ethical issues in qualitative research are described.

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