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Is qualitative always the best option?

Your research question determines your methodology, not the other way around. Let's find out more.

Your research question determines your methodology, not the other way around.

So, in answer to the question ‘is qualitative always the best option?’ it’s a no. It all depends on the nature of your research problem. Once you have decided what you want to know, you can tailor your research design to best capture the information you need.

Keep in mind, neither qualitative nor quantitative approaches do everything. They use different methods for gathering information and analysing it, because they examine different kinds of data. Depending on the aim of your research and what it takes to answer your particular question, you may choose to use qualitative methods, quantitative or a combination of both to collect data.

What’s your research question?

Do you already have a research topic you’re interested in or a specific problem you’ve decided to investigate? Or are you starting from scratch?

For those of you who have not completed the first course in this series, ‘Why Research Matters’, you might like visit step 1.7 in that course ‘Why does research matter?’ and watch this video for inspiration.

If you’re still thinking about a potential area to research, do some brainstorming now. Decide on one issue in your workplace, school or wider community that interests you. The question can be anything you like that has practical or theoretical significance. For a qualitative research project, it will need to be a ‘why’ or ‘how’ problem that seeks to understand a particular phenomena.

Your task

Post your research topic ideas using the comments link below. In your response, briefly tell us how you think a qualitative research approach could help you uncover some or all of the data you need and what challenges you might face.

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Why Experience Matters: Qualitative Research

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