Qualitative Research in Psychology

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  • Identifies the main research topic of the chosen research and provides a clear paragraph elaborating on the topic.
  • Identifies the research problem in the chosen research, and includes a rationale.
  • Identifies the methodology and design used in the chosen research, and provides a summary description of the method and design used.
  • Describes the findings in the literature review that are closely related to the research problem in the chosen research and elaborates on how thesehelp define the boundaries of the research problem.Describes the findings in the literature review that are closely related to the research problem in the chosen research and elaborates on how thesehelp define the boundaries of the research problem.
  • Explains and evaluates how the methodology and approach will help the researchers answer the research question or questions in the chosen research by including any limitations the methodology and approach will have in answering the research questions.
  • Communicates in a manner that is completely scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the identified field of study, and uses APA style and formatting with few or no errors.


Qualitative Research in Psychology

Psychologists, unlike other scientists, have been known to employ qualitative methods of research more often as opposed to the quantitative methods. Psychology is the study of human behavior and the functions of the human mind. Therefore, psychologists seek to answer questions of what is real and how the conclusion of realness was found. To understand the qualitative approach as used by psychologists, it is important to first understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods of research.

Differentiating Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

Qualitative research is highly based on the type and kind of the topic in question whereas quantitative research seeks to measure how much. Therefore, it is correct to say that quantitative researchers count, calculate and issue out questionnaires. On the other hand, qualitative researchers are more inclined towards listening, interviewing and observing (Camic, 2003).Paul Stenner, in his book, “Heidegger and the subject: Questions Concerning Psychology” Theory and Psychology (1988), argues that quantitative methods are correct but not necessarily true. On the other hand, qualitative methods are true and more accurate (Stenner, 1998).

What Is Qualitative Research Good For?

Qualitative research is good for exploring topics that have not been researched on previously. The Qualitative methods are more efficient since their key motive is to bring out the raw truth. Since the research method focuses on interviews and observation, collecting a detailed data can lead to multiple analysis of a single topic. Qualitative research also requires one to be actively involved in the topic at hand instead of having a theoretical overview.

Case Study: Cups

Cups can be measured and counted. One can go an extra mile and determine what are in the cups and how much is in there. The measurements are correct as per quantitative analysis. However, to understand what cups are and their importance to human beings, qualitative questions would be more accurate. The answers derived from asking such questions are qualitative.

Understanding what a cup does not require any written formula. On the other hand, counting and measuring cups requires a formula. With counting and measuring, one can never perceive the deeper understanding of what a cup really is. Knowing what a cup is, is inclined towards the truth whereas counting and measuring the cups only brings out a pre-determined method. Therefore, quantitative methods of research can be termed as correct but not necessarily true, unlike qualitative methods which seek to define the truth.


In light of these findings, the only way to understand the mind of a human being is by using another human being. Listening, asking questions and observing, all of which are qualitative aspects of research, are active methods geared towards understanding one another. Therefore, to become a competent researcher and psychologist, one needs to improve on the art of qualitative analysis.

The persistent link for the article Purposeful Sampling in Qualitative Research Synthesis is 10.3316/QRJ1102063





Camic, P. M. (2003). Qualitative research in psychology: Expanding perspectives in methodology and design. American Psychological Association.

Stenner, P. (1998). Heidegger and the subject: questioning concerning psychology. . Theory & Psychology, , 59-77.

Suri, H. (2011). . Purposeful Sampling in Qualitative Research Synthesis. Qualitative Research Journal, , 63-75. .http://dx.doi.org/10.3316/qrj1102063



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