Qualitative research is used to record data that is not in the form of numbers such as opinions, feelings, and experiences; quantitative research is used to measure data in the form of numbers. Qualitative research uses observation as the data collection method (Clark & Veale, 2018). Qualitative research lacks standardization and some data might have been recorded as notes or on tapes. The researchers must use this data to formulate words. Because qualitative data are presented as words from participant observation field notes, interview transcripts, journals, documents, and literature, thematic analyses with coding and sorting techniques commonly are conducted. Qualitative analysis inevitably involves breaking the data up and coding different segments. Increasingly, researchers use software packages to assist in managing data (Gerrish & Lacey, 2013).
Qualitative research refers to a method of inquiry in which the researcher, acting as data collection instrument, seeks to answer questions about how or why a particular phenomenon occurs. Questions regarding of what a phenomenon is comprised may also guide qualitative research. The most fundamental assumption underlying qualitative research is that reality is something socially constructed on an individual basis. Varied methods of qualitative research exist. Examples of qualitative methods employed in nursing research include Qualitative research refers to a method of inquiry in which the researcher, acting as grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, and qualitative description (Miller, 2010). Each method has its own assumptions and purposes and an appropriate method is chosen based on the research question. An example would be, a researcher investigating the process involved in the occurrence of a phenomenon would likely choose grounded theory, while a researcher interested in the meaning of the phenomenon would utilize phenomenology (Miller, 2010). Regardless of method, participants are purposefully enrolled based on their familiarity with the phenomenon. Researchers can organize data by collecting the data through interviews, observations, or document/photograph review. Data can be organized in a manner which best answers the research question. Importantly, the objective of qualitative research is not the accumulation of information, but the growth of understanding about phenomena of concern to nursing.