Participant viewpoints. A desire to explore and present the various subjective perspectives of participants is associated with qualitative research. Its privileging of subjectivity is also seen in the way that the interpretation of the data is influenced by the researcher’s own biography together with their involvement with people in the study.
Small-scale studies. Qualitative researchers are interested in deep exploration in order to provide rich, detailed, holistic description as well as explanation. Therefore, small samples are the norm.
Holistic focus. “Rather than directing their attention to one or two isolated variables, qualitative researchers tend to be oriented to a wide range of interconnected activities, experiences, beliefs and values of people in terms of the context in which they are situated. This provokes qualitative researchers to account for a multiplicity of dimensions and relationships in the context”. (Daymon, 2002, p. 23)
Flexible. Although researchers have a topic and an agenda which fuel their research progress, they are usually committed to exploring new and often surprising avenues that emerge as informants reveal their understandings and interests. Research procedures may be unstructured, adaptable and sometimes spontaneous. At times the research process may even be described as rather ‘messy’ as researchers attempt to unpack the complexities of the social world of public relations and marketing communications.
Natural settings. On the whole, qualitative investigations are carried out in people's natural environments such as in their offices or where they shop. This enables researchers to observe how they go about their routine activities and