Qualitative research focuses on the collection of non-numerical data such as narratives and unstructured interviews.
The qualitative approach is often associated with post-positivist, hermeneutic or constructive schools of thought (Evers and Walker, 2005: 42). Each of these approaches provides researchers with different paradigms or conceptions and views of research problems and methods. As a result, the conclusions generated from each of these methodologies are different.
Accordingly, methodology deals with the methods and principles used in an activity, the researcher explain how he did the research, the methods of data collection, materials used, subjects interviewed, or places he visited. Give a detailed account of how and when he carried out his research. Explain why he used the particular methods, which he did use, rather than other methods. Once a person has decided upon a research topic, the next important step is to choose an appropriate method. He may decide on a qualitative study, collecting data by interview, or you may choose a quantitative method, carrying out a survey by means of a self-completion questionnaire.
In order to have a good piece of research, a researcher must have a detailed plan of how the research will be conducted. A good research design not only will anticipate and specify the seemingly countless decisions connected with planning and carrying out data collection, processing, and analysis, but also will present a logical basis for these decisions.
As a researcher, several different questions surface concerning which design to choose. The distinction between design and method must be made clear. The design is your plan, whereas the method is the means by which you investigate your research interest (Bassey, M. 1999, 24-26). One of the key decisions a researcher must make is how to operationalize their research study. Often, a researcher decision to choose either "quantitative" or "qualitative" methods influences his design choice. However, researchers often triangulate their methods making the line between these approaches less clear.
Once the researcher has decided on the theoretical or conceptual framework informing or underpinning the study and has formulated the research questions, the next step is to decide on the data-collection strategy and the precise methods to be used. Whilst the general nature of the research design is known at the outset, the research design may evolve as the study progresses. The degree of statistical manipulation that can be performed depends on the nature of the data collected. Whilst a wide variety of methods can be used to generate quantitative data, those wishing to test hypotheses usually make use of surveys, experiments, structured observation, and the analysis of secondary data such as official statistics.
Following the research design stage is data collection. There are a number of decisions the researcher must make in terms of how data can be collected for a study. The choice strongly depends on the question the researcher is asking and the phenomenon being researched. A common