Qualitative research, according to Creswell, has an ever-changing definition, which is not always made clear in introductory books. He suggests that ―qualitative research begins with assumptions, a worldview, the possible use of a theoretical lens, and the study of research problems inquiring into the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem (Creswell, 2007, p. 37). Hesse-Biber and Leavy (2006, p. 49) suggest that qualitative research seeks ―to discover, explain, and generate ideas/theories about the phenomenon under investigation; [and] to understand and explain social patterns (the ‗How‘ questions).‖ According to Berg (2007, p. 8), qualitative researchers are ―most interested in how humans arrange themselves and their settings and how inhabitants of these settings make sense of their surroundings through symbols, rituals, social structures, social roles, and so forth.‖ Through qualitative techniques, Berg (2007, pp. 8-9) suggests, researchers are allowed to ―share in the understandings and perceptions of others and to explore how people structure and give meaning to their daily lives.‖ What all of these have in common, according to Creswell (2007, pp. 37-39), are some common characteristics including: natural setting, researcher as key instrument, multiple sources of data, inductive data analysis, participants‘ meanings, emergent design, theoretical lens, interpretive inquiry, and a holistic account. There are many ways to collect data, whether it is interviewing individuals, holding a focus group, observing as a participant or non-participant for observations, content analysis, or a combination of various methods. There are also different theoretical lens to begin with and various ways of analyzing the data once you have it.
Sullivan, Jessica R.
"Skype: An Appropriate Method of Data Collection for Qualitative Interviews?,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 6
, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol6/iss1/10