Qualitative strategies

Study approaches

Within qualitative strategies, establishing sliding scales of options is more challenging, perhaps because qualitative research does not rely on numbers but also because the qualitative research process is often emergent rather than tightly prescribed. Nevertheless, there are a range of possibilities for qualitative study approaches, of which those in the list below are some of the most common:

? Case studies involve in-depth exploration of the effects of an intervention on one or more individuals


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  • ? Narrative research involves the study of an individual’s involvement in an intervention, with the information then retold in a narrative chronology
  • ? Phenomenological research involves identifying common patterns in participants’ subjective experiences of an intervention to develop patterns of meaning
  • ? Grounded theory involves building a theoretical model around an intervention grounded in the views of participants involved
  • ? Ethnography involves studying participants in an intervention in relation to data gathered about the setting and other individuals
  • ? Related to qualitative strategies, arts-based research involves art forms being used either as types of data themselves or as ways of analysing or interpreting data to convey meaning about an experience

For more on arts-based methods specifically, Patricia Leavy considers how narrative, poetry, music, dance, visual arts, theatre, drama, and film can be used in research in her book Method Meets Art.(8)

As with quantitative research, the qualitative approach is usually selected based on the research question being asked. Overall, qualitative research can help to establish how participants personally experience an intervention and the meaning it has for them.

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