Broadly, there are two approaches in collection of information for research purposes in social sciences: qualitative research and quantitative research. Quantitative research originated in the natural sciences such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology and others, and focused on investigating things the researcher could observe and measure in some way. Evidently, applicability of this approach to social science research was rather limited: social world is impossible to objectively measure in the same way as natural world.
Researchers working in the social sciences such as psychology, sociology, anthropology and others were interested in studying behaviour of human beings and various aspects of the social world inhabited by people. Attempts to explain human behaviour in simply measurable terms had only partial success: although measurements obtained with the help of quantitative research told researchers how often human beings demonstrate some or other type of behaviour or how often certain social phenomenon occur, no quantitative research could determine why people demonstrate such behaviour or why things in social world occurred in some specific way. Qualitative research is an effective alternative to find the answer to this question.
Qualitative research is defined as "multimethod in focus, involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter" (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994: 2). ...