Types of qualitative research designs -A quick guide

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If you are an undergrad or postgrad student, you’ve got your work cut for you to carry out research to claim your degree. Graduating without research is out of the question. You might have studied in your coursework regarding the two main types of research: qualitative and quantitative research. Each has its own design, requirements, and limitations.

If you, being a student, have opted for qualitative research and have very little to no knowledge of its design, you need a quick guide to get acquainted with the core concept of qualitative research design. Even, if an essay writer is stuck with the preliminary design of his qualitative research, this article might help him through the research design.

Given the fact, you are running out of time; let’s not waste it and start with the guidelines of qualitative research design that may come in handy. Qualitative research is done to determine human behavior and to understand their buying behavior. Let’s have a look at the five major traditions of qualitative research design.

Field research

This technique requires the researchers to literally go to the field or the environment the case requires and to observe the subject in its natural environment.


This is a little bit different from the field research. While in field research, the researcher will mix amongst the participants and take notes, while ethnographers will make observations from the outside.

Case studies

This involves the analysis of a specific case. Unlike field and ethnographic research, it only focuses on one particular case study, person or activity.

Grounded theory

In this method, the grounded theory researchers try to develop theories about the phenomena that are the subject of the study. However, these theories must be based on observations.


This is a philosophical approach, which is undertaken to understand various viewpoints and, depending on subjective interpretations, how the research perspective is different from general perception.

Some other types of qualitative research design include:

  • action research (taking an active role and collaborating with participants)
  • autoethnography (involves reflection of personal experiences)
  • case studies (focusing on one specific phenomenon)
  • content analysis (studying documents and communication)
  • critical race theory (analyzing racism, oppression, discrimination)
  • discourse analysis (analysis of language)
  • ethnography (lengthy and detailed field-based study)
  • ethnomethodology (focusing on the commonality of a lived experience)
  • feminist research (focusing on women’s lives, gender, power)
  • focus groups (asking questions of a group of people)
  • grounded theory (using inductive reasoning)
  • historical (using primary historical documents)
  • internet/virtual ethnography (ethnography on the internet/in virtual worlds)
  • interviews (asking people a set of questions)
  • life history (collecting a person’s life history)
  • narrative inquiry (constructing a narrative of the findings)
  • observation (observing people’s behavior)
  • phenomenological study (studying events as immediately experienced and resisting prior categories and concepts)
  • queer approaches (deconstructing social categories and binary identities)

From an academic's point of view, qualitative research can encompass discourse analysis, historical reviews and narrative, grounded theory, ethnography, and other forms that analyze a dataset by describing it or using text and visual data to form theory.

Have you ever asked yourself why qualitative research is important to you – being a student at a professional college? This is one of the most exciting professions if you do it sincerely & honestly as your new finding/innovation can add to the basic knowledge or can help the society/ common men.

Further, there is a range of techniques used for exploration and discovery in qualitative research, and all these techniques aim at understanding the behaviors.

For further assistance, you may search for an online essay writing service and hire a professional writer to help you with your design.

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