Strengths and Weaknesses of Qualitative Research (Can determine how…
Strengths and Weaknesses of Qualitative Research
The data are based on the participants’ own categories of meaning.
It is useful for studying a limited number of cases in depth.
It is useful for describing complex phenomena.
Provides understanding and description of people’s personal experiences of phenomena (i.e., the “emic” or insider’s viewpoint).
Can conduct cross-case comparisons and analysis.
Provides individual case information.
Can describe, in rich detail, phenomena as they are situated and embedded in local contexts
The researcher identifies contextual and setting factors as they relate to the phenomenon of interest.
The researcher can study dynamic processes (i.e., documenting sequential patterns and change).
The researcher can use the primarily qualitative method of “grounded theory” to generate inductively a tentative but explanatory theory about a phenomenon.
Can determine how participants interpret “constructs” (e.g., self-esteem, IQ).
Data are usually collected in naturalistic settings in qualitative research.
Qualitative approaches are responsive to local situations, conditions, and stakeholders’ needs.
Qualitative researchers are responsive to changes that occur during the conduct of a study (especially during extended fieldwork) and may shift the focus of their studies as a result.
Qualitative data in the words and categories of participants lend themselves to exploring how and why phenomena occur.
One can use an important case to demonstrate vividly a phenomenon to the readers of a report
• Determine idiographic causation (i.e., determination of causes of a particular event).
Knowledge produced may not generalize to other people or other settings (i.e., findings may be unique to the relatively few people included in the research study).
It is difficult to make quantitative predictions.
It is more difficult to test hypotheses and theories.
It may have lower credibility with some administrators and
commissioners of programs.
It generally takes more time to collect the data when compared to quantitative research.
Data analysis is often time consuming.
The results are more easily influenced by the researcher’s personal biases and idiosyncrasies.