Qualitative research has been discovered to overcome limitations of qualitative research. Despite widespread popularity and advantages of qualitative research approach, it is not applicable to all types of studies because not all studies or analysis can yield numerical data; qualitative research approach can be used to conduct these studies that are not associated with numbers or numerical measures. It finds its widespread application in many study including social science, educational, and academic researches and many other fields of study (Erickson, 2011, p. 43). Qualitative research focuses on the interpretation of the perception of people from social perspective using various qualitative data collection tools including interview, social query, polls, or surveys. Result of a qualitative research tends to be largely descriptive, Glesne notes (Glesne, 2015a, p. 09). To conduct an in-depth study on any social or educational phenomena based on participants’ view, proper integration of qualitative research is essential. Qualitative research is helpful in building meaningful relationships between the researcher and common people, which facilitate better understanding of their world and interpret the result in terms of qualitative approach.
One of the major drives in selecting qualitative approach for research is the versatility and reliability associated with the collection of data. Qualitative approach provides the researcher with multifarious options to gather his own data using different tools. Moreover, it is highly reliable because researcher can collect his own data and cross check the validity of his data with co-researcher’s data. Moreover, triangulation technique allows the researcher to deploy multiple ways for collecting same data and thereby increase the reliability (Glesne, 2015b). Thus, qualitative approach offers multiple methods for collecting data and, thereby, eliminates the scope of mistakes and error rates significantly. Moreover, it deepens understanding and interpretation of qualitative data.
Observation, interview, and document collection are three major qualitative data collection approaches, which can be performed in numerous ways. It is, therefore, obvious that qualitative research is highly flexible and versatile to suit researcher’s ability and scope. For example, observation or interview can be performed using either video tape or audio tape or picturing. Each method has its merits and demerits and all of them present same data in different manners. The researcher prepares his own data for most of the time and can rely on the data collected and method used (Glesne, 2015b, p. 57).
With the proliferation of the technology, techniques employed for qualitative data collection is changing and developing at pace. For example, one of the mostly used qualitative data collection approach is interview, which has seen major breakthrough in recent years because of inclusion of technological solutions. Interviews can now be performed not being physically present to interviewees’ location by using different technology such as video conferencing, online interview techniques, mobile phone and many other state-of-the-art technologies. Internet has revolutionized the realm of interview and made it simpler for the researcher to adopt interview technique as a potential tool of qualitative research. Fontana and Frey (2005) point to the fact that virtual interviewing, the interview using the Internet and computer technology, is making qualitative research cheaper and easier solution to the researchers. Therefore, the platform provided by technology has made qualitative research much easily conductible and is one of the major rationales for qualitative research.
From the ancient time, academicians, researchers, and sociologists have been adopting qualitative research as one of the most favorite method of research. This tradition and ancient works have made qualitative research a preferable choice for researcher today. For example, if a researcher finds the previous works on his topic have been performed following qualitative approach, it is highly likely that his works also be influenced by this method. On the other hand, it has been found that quantitative research always performs well when works on the foundation of a qualitative approach; whenever a quantitative research tries to eliminate the qualitative foundation the following quantitative research is highly likely to go wrong. Therefore, in order to avoid potential source of mistakes associated with quantitative approach, researchers prefer qualitative approach, which is highly reliable and better performing.