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Skip to 0 minutes and 24 secondsHi, everyone. My name is EVE Ren, and I'm from the Institute for Tourism Studies Macau. Very happy to be here today to share the session with you. So today we are going to talk about qualitative research methods. Now these are the intended learning outcomes of this session. So by the end of this session, you will be able to understand the nature and importance of qualitative research methods; the key procedures of developing a qualitative research proposal, as well as the main approaches for data collection and analysis in qualitative research. We will also discuss about the importance of validity and reliability and relevant strategies to address these two words.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsIn the first half of the session, we will focus on theories. And in the second half of the session, I'm going to share a few qualitative research real cases with you.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsSo first question: What is qualitative research? Creswell defines qualitative research as a means for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups as ascribe to a social or human problem. Many other definitions all share the similar meanings. This is the definition. The next question is then why do we need to conduct a qualitative research. As quite a few of you are probably worrying that so far qualitative research don't get a lot of chance to be published in high tier journals. However, we still need to address, we still need to understand the importance and the important use of qualitative research in the social science.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 secondsBecause there are a lot of questions, such as the why, what, and how, questions cannot be answered by numbers. For example, why do you like travelling? Different people give very different answers. Because human beings are the most complicated creatures, even with the same event, same products, same service, people have different interpretations, because they are from different person backgrounds, they have different perspectives and angles. And always the contextual details are always different. And these nine key features provided by Creswell also well address the question. Now they include natural setting, researcher as key instrument, multiple sources of data, inductive data analysis, participants meanings, emergent design, theoretical lens, interpretive, and holistic account. Let's talk about a few of them.

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 secondsTake natural setting for example, qualitative researchers tend to collect data in the field at the site where participants experience the issue or problem under study. They do not bring individuals into a lab, a contrived situation, nor do they typically send out instruments for individuals to complete. These, up close information gathered by actually talking directly to people and seeing them behave and act within their context is a major characteristic of qualitative research. In the natural setting, the researchers have face to face interaction over time. The second key feature, researcher as a key instrument, that means qualitative researchers collect data themselves through examining documents, observing behavior, or interviewing participants.

Skip to 4 minutes and 25 secondsThey may use a protocol that is an instrument for collecting data, but the researchers are the ones who actually gather the information. They do not tend to use or rely on questionnaires or instruments developed by other researchers. This is very different from quantitative studies. And multiple source of data, means qualitative researchers typically gather multiple forms of data, such as interviews, observations, and documents, rather than rely on a single data source. Then the researchers review all of the data, make sense of it, and organize it into categories of themes that can cut across all of the data sources. And then we have inductive data analysis.

Skip to 5 minutes and 18 secondsThis means that qualitative researchers build their patterns, categories and themes from the bottom up by organizing the data into increasingly more abstract units of information. And the other features are all very important to understand the nature of qualitative studies. Jennings provides a comparison between qualitative and quantitative research approaches, as it is shown in this table. The main differences are that qualitative approach is more inductive in nature, while the quantitative counterpart is more deductive. And therefore qualitative studies are often less structured, often more subjective. And the data is usually composed texts, images and even sound. The research focus of qualitative studies are motifs and themes.

Skip to 6 minutes and 14 secondsWhile the focus of quantitative studies are on different variables trying to test the relationship (between)among the variables, how variable A influence variable B. And therefore the selection of research respondents is usually non random for the qualitative studies. The findings of qualitative studies are often presented in an innovative manner, instead of tables and figures which are more often seen in quantitative studies. So far, you should be able to understand the importance of qualitative studies in social science.

Key procedures in qualitative approach

In last week, we had learned the research paradigms and differences between quantitative and qualitative research. This week we will learn key procedures, data collection and analysis, case study and content analysis, coding and conceptual framework in qualitative research.

This week’s course will be led by two educators, Dr. Fan Daisy and Dr. Ren Eve, who is a new educator in our course.

Dr. Ren Eve is an assistant professor in Macao Institute for Tourism Studies. She is the Academic Coordinator for Tourism Retail and Marketing Management program. She holds a doctorate in Hotel and Tourism Management, which she earned at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She has published many papers in top journals for tourism studies.

Now, let’s start with the first video of this week. In this video, Dr. Ren will introduce the importance of qualitative studies in social science.

What is qualitative research?

What is the difference between qualitative research and quantitative research?

We would like to invite you to share some thoughts with learners in the comments section below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Research Methods in Tourism Studies

Nankai University