Five Qualitative Approaches to the Inquiry

Subject: Sciences
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Study level: College

There are five qualitative approaches to the inquiry which may be used in the research, depending on its peculiarity, purpose and research questions that are aimed to be answered. Narrative research, phenomenological research, grounded theory research, ethnographic research, and case study research are the approaches to qualitative research which exist according to Creswell (2007). Coming closer to the discussion of each approach to the quantitative research it should be mentioned that it is better to use one specific approach as the mixture of the latter may lead to complications in data organization and analysis.

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Narrative research is based on the idea of gathering different stories, writing down dialogues and personal experiences. This approach to quantitative research is originated from literature, sociology, and sociolinguistics. Polkinghorne (1995) states two specific types of narrative qualitative research “analysis of narratives” and “narratives in analysis”. The main difference in these types of narrative research is that in the first case the researcher creates the description on the basis of the gathered information, while in the second case the stories and descriptions are sued for data analysis. The peculiarity of narrative research is that it discusses the lives of one or a maximum of two people.

Phenomenological research is based on the same principles as narrative research with the main difference that research, in this case, is based on the stories and discussions of a group of people. A researcher bases the experiment on the life experience of those who take part in the research. Grounded theory research is similar to phenomenological research, but the difference still exists. While the main idea of the phonological research is to dwell upon the experiences of each individual in the group with its detailed consideration, the grounded theory research is aimed at generalizing the research results. This theory may be considered as systematic procedures and the constructivist approach (Clarke, 2005).

Ethnographic research is based on the cultural peculiarities and aspects for discussion. Therefore, such patterns as beliefs, behavior and language perfectly met the pattern. Having the desire to study cultural-oriented information, this kind of research fits only particular ideas for consideration. Case study research is research that is based on the experimental situation considered within a bounded system. According to Creswell (2007) case study research is a case or a number of cases that last for some time and the data is collected by means of involving multiple sources of information.

Our research questions are based on the problem of alcohol consumption among adolescents aged 12-16. The ethnographic research has been chosen as for considering the stated research questions, it is important for us to study the beliefs and behaviors of the group, their power and dominance. The main research questions we are going to consider are based on the seriousness of the alcohol consumption of students aged 12-16 in the West Indian public school. Moreover, the research is going to focus on collecting data concerning age, sex, religion, level of education, and family problems which may influence the increase of alcohol consumption among students aged 12-16 in the discussed area. Ethnological research perfectly fits for considering the relation between social and environmental factors and alcohol drinking of students aged 12-16 in the West Indian public school. Having chosen the ethnological approach for quantitative research, we are going to refer to realist ethnography as the most objective type of research with the reference to participants’ views (Van Maanen, 1988).

Reference List

Clarke, A. E. (2005). Situational analysis: Grounded theory after the postmodern turn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: choosing among five approaches. New York: Sage Publications.

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Polkinghorne, D. (1995). Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis. Qualitative Studies in Education, 8, pp. 5–23.

van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the Field. Chicago: Chicago University Press.