7 Types of Qualitative Research: The Fundamental!

There are several types of qualitative research. This is very useful if used to examine various to expose social events around us.

Nowadays, qualitative research has become acceptable in academic and professional fields. A large number of student and scientist comes from different disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, political science, and psychology).

Also, there are professionals (e.g., city planning, education, program evaluation) who use it as part of their work.

To be honest, qualitative research is an attractive, interesting, and fruitful way of doing research. It can be a good chance of developing new concepts and theory. Sometimes, it explains about the social change of people.

Also, qualitative research is challenging. You need to have a sharp sense and sensitivity to the issue you concern about. Not processing quantitative data does not mean you can relax. There is a lot of procedure that you have to follow to make sure the outcome is satisfying.

For some people, making qualitative research feels less interesting. This is because research is more focused on social matters and less data availability.

In fact, many international journals are dominated by qualitative research.

We could focus on specific topic or theme such as homeless woman, child labor, informal workers, etc. you can spend your time as a volunteer, help others to understand, and dig as much as you can to make a proper narration about your qualitative research.

The allure of qualitative research is that it enables you to conduct in-depth studies about a broad array of topics.

Qualitative research literature

Qualitative Research Definition

Qualitative research is a study that aims to describe a condition, phenomenon, problem or things where the variables used are nominal or ordinal scale. When the analysis is complete, there is no quantification process (changing qualitative to quantitative data).

Qualitative research allows us to conduct studies about various topics, including special phenomenon happen in the world. It allows people to have their own freedom to explore their favorite.

Sometimes, researchers choose qualitative research methods because of unstable research conditions, there is no sufficient data series or lack of coverage, an inadequate sample of respondents, and low response rates.

The thing you have to remember is you have unlimited ideas of the qualitative study.

Many items can be subject to your observations. The relevant issues can include characteristics of individual people (including their fashion interest, behavior, or even specific change), interactions among people, certain incident, physical surroundings including visual and audio cues.

Qualitative research definition

Types of Qualitative Research

Understanding all the types of qualitative research will help you to do your job. Sometimes, it is confusing because it looks similar to one another. We must distinguish it from the type and purpose.

In qualitative research, you have the freedom to choose your scope, methods, or framework problem. The limit of this type of research is none. You strive to maintain flexibility and openness to include any new ideas or exclude any irrelevant aspect.

Qualitative research aiming to study of human nature event s as they are immediately experienced in real-world settings, resisting prior categories and concepts that might distort the experiential basis for understanding the events.

1. Case study

The case study is a study that focuses on discussing a particular event or phenomenon. A case could be individual, a group, a community, a city, an episode, an event, a problem or group of population. If you pick a case study, it is important to treat the total of your subject of the study population as one entity.

A case study should focus on a bounded subject. It is very flexible and open-ended to data collection techniques and analysis.

 A case study on certain and special population, not the whole population of cases. You can use purposive, judgmental, or information-oriented sampling technique to get the best result.

You can use various data collection methods such as in-depth interviewing, observations, and others to explore and collect information from all available sources. If you want to research a group or community, then you have to spend time with them to gain trust and produce reliable research reports.

Case study of qualitative research

2. Oral History

Oral history is a process of obtaining, collecting, recording, analyzing, presenting, and interpreting historical or current information based on personal experiences and opinions of some members of the study group.

This research could be based upon eye witness evidence or information passed from other sources such as older people, ancestor, public figure, or stories.

Oral history is written using personal language and personal views. To make an oral history, first, you must determine what type of experience, perception, or historical event you want to study. Then, you have to identify the availability of sources who can provide the information you need. Collect them as much as you can so you can make fantastic research.

Oral history

3. Focus Groups

Focus groups are one type of qualitative research where experts, resource persons, researchers and people involved in it gather and share ideas, opinions, views, and experiences in an open discussion.

This discussion focuses on the issues or topics where participants will ask each other questions, answer and give their perspective.

For your information, because it is a low-cost method, it is very popular among researcher or professional.

Focus groups are very useful for exploring the diversity in opinions on different issues.

4. Participant Observation

Participant observation is another type of qualitative research for gathering information about social interaction or phenomenon. Usually, it is done by constructing a close interaction with members of a group or living in a situation which is being studied.

As a researcher, you can involve yourself in the activities of the group, observing them, interact with them, and make the report. You may collect as much information and data you want.

The main advantage of participant observation is that you can spend sufficient time with the group study and have contact with the situation directly, gain much deeper, richer, and accurate information.

But, remember, if you are not very careful, you can make your own misinformation.


5. Holistic Research

Another type of qualitative study is holistic research. It is a comprehensive and more a philosophy than a study design.

This study discusses a theme from various perspectives, not just from one side. In collecting data, it is often a combination of several techniques so that the results obtained are truly complete and very informative.

Holistic research

6. Community Discussion Forums

Community design forums are qualitative research methods that focus on discussing issues and problems related to a particular group or community.

Community forums are very similar to group discussions. It’s just that this involves more participants. In a focus group, you may select the participants but in community forums, it is open to anyone who has an interest in the same issue.

Community discussion forum

7. Reflective Journal Log

Basically, this method is a form of recording any ideas, thoughts, views, or other interesting things found in everyday life. You can record anything you find when talking to other people, take part in a forum, or whatever you feel is useful.

This reflective record will be the basis of findings and conclusions. You can also combine this method with other data collection methods.


Qualitative Research Examples

Almost every country in the world has macroeconomic indicators about the poverty rate. These indicators are the result of quantitative studies that produce absolute value. The resulting numbers are always an interesting discussion both by the government and academics.

Suppose, you already know the poverty city in a city based on the official release results from the authorized statistical agency.

You find the surprising fact that poverty in a certain area has increased dramatically based on the official data.

Unfortunately, there is no further explanation of why, how, and what is happening so that the poverty level increases.

To answer this problem, you can use qualitative research as a form of study which certainly can explain more about this phenomenon.

Well, you have several options for types of qualitative research.

You can pick this theme as a case study and make a descriptive analysis that can explain clearly why poverty can increase in that city.

By using case study, you may search as much as you can why poverty happens and probably how poverty impacts their life.

You can go directly to the field with suitable data collection tools and look for the main causes.

The results of your research will be very useful in explaining this event.



In general, there are 7 types of qualitative research design and method:

  1. Case Study
  2. Oral History
  3. Focus Groups
  4. Participant Observation
  5. Holistic Research
  6. Community Discussion Forums
  7. Reflective Journal Log

Now, you understand there are several types of qualitative research.

It is totally different from types of quantitative research.

Remember, the main objective qualitative study is to describe variation and diversity of a problem, phenomenon, or situation with a very flexible approach.

Choosing a suitable one will help you to achieve your goal in qualitative research.

Do not hesitate to leave a comment!