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Research Methodology

Qualitative Research
Methods for Tourism and
What is qualitative research?

 Investigation

 Deeper understanding

 Finding meaning

 Investigating the subtle interplay of a number
of factors
Concept of Qualitative Research
 Qualitative research is concerned with developing
explanations of social phenomena. That is to say, it
aims to help us to understand the world in which we
live and why things are the way they are. It is
concerned with the social aspects of our world and
seeks to answer questions about:
Qualitative Research Explains
 Why people behave the way they do

 How opinions and attitudes are formed

 How people are affected by the events that go on around them

 How and why cultures have developed in the way they have

 The differences between social groups
Qualitative Research Explains

 Experiences

 Understanding

 Behaviours

 Politics

 Sensitiveor high risk issues
 Non-mainstream ideas or behaviours

 Social and cultural influences
Qualitative Research Explains
 Qualitative research is concerned with finding the answers to questions
which begin with: why? how? in what way?

 Qualitative research is concerned with the opinions, experiences and
feelings of individuals producing subjective data.

 Qualitative research describes social phenomena as they occur naturally.

 Qualitative data are collected through direct encounters with individuals,
through one to one interviews or group interviews or by observation. Data
collection is time consuming.
Qualitative Research Output

 New theories

 Description of previously unexplained situations or behaviour

 Narratives about experiences

 New ways to comprehend events or behaviours

 New ideas

 Understanding
Definition of Qualitative Research

 “Qualitative research is an inquiry process of
understanding based on distinct methodological
traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human
problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic
picture, analyzes words, report detailed views of
informants, and conducts the study in a natural

 Qualitative Research is collecting, analyzing, and
interpreting data by observing what people do and
Definition of Qualitative Research

 research that deals with the quality, type, or
components of a group, substance, or mixture,
whose methods are applied to advertising audience
research in order to determine the quality of
audience responses to advertising.

 Qualitative research is exploratory in nature and
uses procedures such as indepth interviews and
focus group interviews to gain insights and develop
creative advertising tactics.
Quantitative Vs Qualitative
 Research questions: How  Research questions: What?
many? Strength of Why?
 Develops theory
 Test theory
 Interpretive
 Measurable
 Report rich narrative,
 Report statistical analysis individual; interpretation.

 Basic element of analysis is  Basic element of analysis is
numbers words/ideas.
Quantitative Vs Qualitative
 Uses instruments  Uses communications and
 Establishes relationships,
causation  Describes meaning, discovery

 Experimental  Descriptive

 Researcher knows clearly in  Researcher may only know
advance what he/she is roughly in advance what
looking for. he/she is looking for.
Types of Qualitative Research

 1) phenomenology

 2) ethnography

 3) grounded theory

 4) case study
 Phenomenology literally means the study of
 Phenomena may be events, situations, experiences
or concepts.
 Phenomenological research begins with the
acknowledgement that there is a gap in our
understanding and that clarification or illumination will
be of benefit.
 Phenomenological research will not necessarily
provide definitive explanations but it does raise
awareness and increases insight.

 Ethnography has a background in anthropology

 The term means “portrait of a people” and it is a
methodology for descriptive studies of cultures and

 The cultural parameter is that the people under
investigation have something in common. Examples
of parameters include:

 geographical - a particular region or country

 religious

 tribal

 shared experience

 Ethnographic studies entail extensive fieldwork
by the researcher. Data collection techniques
include both formal and informal interviewing,
often interviewing individuals on several
occasions, and participant observation.
 Ethnographic research can be problematic
when researchers are not sufficiently familiar
with the social mores of the people being
studied or with their language.
Grounded Theory
 The main feature is the development of new theory through the
collection and analysis of data about a phenomenon.

 New theory begins its conception as the researcher recognises
new ideas and themes emerging from what people have said or
from events which have been observed

 Grounded theory research could provide professionals with a
better framework for providing truly holistic knowledge.
Case Study
 A case study is an intensive study of a specific individual or
specific context.

 Case study research excels at bringing us to an understanding
of a complex issue or object and can extend experience or add
strength to what is already known through previous research

 Case study research generally answers one or more questions
which begin with "how" or "why." The questions are targeted to
a limited number of events or conditions and their inter-
Participant Observation
 Participant observation is a qualitative method with roots in traditional
ethnographic research

 Participant observation is a set of research strategies which aim to
gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals
(such as a religious, occupational, or subcultural group, or a particular
community) and their practices through an intensive involvement with
people in their natural environment, often though not always over an
extended period of time.

 Participant observation always takes place in community settings, in
locations believed to have some relevance to the research questions.
Types of Participant Observation

 External Participation constitutes the lowest degree of
involvement in observation. This type of observation can be
done by observing situations on television or videotape.

 Passive Participation means the researcher is present at the
scene of action but does not interact or participate. The
researcher finds an observation post and assumes the role of a
bystander or spectator.

 Balanced Participation means that the researcher maintains a
balance between being an insider and being an outsider. The
researcher observes and participates in some activities, but
does not participate fully in all activities.
Types of Participant Observation
 Active Participation means that the researcher generally does
what others in the setting do. While beginning with observation
to learn the rules, as they are learned the researcher becomes
actively engaged in the activities of the setting.

 Total Participation means the researcher is a natural
participant. This is the highest level of involvement and usually
comes about when the researcher studies something in which
he or she is already a natural participant.
Strengths Vs Weakness
 Allows for insight into  Time-consuming
contexts, relationships,
 Documentation relies on
 Can provide information memory, personal discipline,
previously unknown to and diligence of researcher
researchers that is crucial
for project design, data
collection, and interpretation
of other data  Requires conscious effort at
objectivity because method
is inherently subjective
Direct Observation
 During direct observation it is common for an observer to be
present who sits passively and records as accurately as
possible what is going on.

 The observation can be totally “free” or more structured i.e.
where observers record events as belonging to one of a
number of discrete categories identified.

 Direct observation has the highest degree of ‘ecological’ validity
in that direct observation attempts to monitor usage of a product
in settings which are close to actual usage.
 Informal – researcher is required to recollect
 Unstructured – e.g. ethnographic interviewing –
researcher allows interview to proceed at
respondent’s pace and subjects to vary by
interviewee (to an extent)
 Semi-structured – researcher uses an interview
 Structured – researcher uses identical stimuli and
adheres to interview schedule
Focus Groups
 A research method that brings together a small group of consumers to discuss
the product or advertising, under the guidance of a trained interviewer.

 Qualitative research concentrates on words and observations to express reality
and attempts to describe people in natural situations. The key element here is the
involvement of people where their disclosures are encouraged in a nurturing

 Focus group participants should be people with similar experiences or
backgrounds so that they feel comfortable talking with one another
Focus Groups
 Focus group participants are more likely to share their experiences
and perceptions if they do not know one another before the focus

 Focus groups should have no fewer than 6 participants in order to
get a good group discussion and no more than 10 participants so
that less assertive participants will still contribute to the
Document Analysis
 Content analysis
 Discourse analysis

 Historical analysis

 Analysis of
pictorial material
Validity of the Qualitative Research

 Be a listener. The subject (s) of qualitative research should
provide the majority of the research input. It is the researcher’s
task to properly interpret the responses of the subject (s).

 Record accurately. All records should be maintained in the
form of detailed notes or electronic recordings. These records
should also be developed during rather than after the data
gathering session.

 Initiate writing early. It is suggested that the researcher make
a rough draft of the study before ever going into the field to
collect data. This allows a record to be made when needed.
The researcher is more prepared now to focus the data
gathering phase on that information that will meet the specific
identified needs of the project.
Validity of the Qualitative Research

 Include the primary data in the final report. The inclusion of
primary data in the final report allows the reader to see exactly
the basis upon which the researcher’s conclusions were made.
In short, it is better to include too much detail than too little.

 Include all data in the final report. The researcher should not
leave out pieces of information from the final report because
she/he cannot interpret that data. In these cases, the reader
should be allowed to develop his/her conclusions.

 Be candid. The researcher should not spend too much time
attempting to keep her/his own feelings and personal reactions
out of the study. If there is relevance in the researcher’s
feelings to the matter at hand, these feelings should be
Validity of the Qualitative Research

 Seek feedback. The researcher should allow others to critique
the research manuscript following the developmental process.
Professional colleagues and research subjects should be
included in this process to ensure that information is reported
accurately and completely.

 Attempt to achieve balance. The researcher should attempt
to achieve a balance between perceived importance and actual
importance. Often, the information reveals a difference in
anticipated and real areas of study significance.

 Write accurately. Incorrect grammar, misspelled words,
statement inconsistency, etc. jeopardize the validity of an
otherwise good study.