Qualitative research practice (Ritchie & Lewis, 2013)
Chapter 1 key terms:
Ontology: concerned with the nature of reality and WHAT to study. Different approaches:
- Realism: external reality, independent of people’s beliefs
- Materialism: real world, but only materials hold reality
- Idealism: reality is only because it’s constructed by/in the human mind
Epistemology: concerned with the nature of knowledge and HOW to study. Approaches:
- Positivism: methods of the natural sciences are appropriate, independent and objective
research is possible.
- Interpretivism: opposite of positivism; natural science is not appropriate, as there are no
rules. The researcher has to understand matters from different contexts and perspectives.
Induction and deduction are part of epistemology, induction more often:
- Induction: developing new theories and insights
- Deduction: testing theories/hypotheses Chapter 2 key terms:
Theoretical research is concerned with theory building/testing. Applied research is concerned
with using acquired knowledge in practice, to see its influence. In some cases, mixed methods
- Facilitation: one facilitates the other:
1. Explanatory: quantitative -> qualitative
2. Exploratory: qualitative -> quantitative
- Complementarity: to cover different aspects, when a study is broad. Many methods are
- Triangulation: using different methods/sources to make a better study. Some argue
triangulation validates conclusions, other argue that it extends understanding. 4 types:
4. Data: multiple people, times, places
Chapter 3 key terms:
Control groups: if this is used, there are two (identical) groups in the study, but one is not
Case study: study into a specific context, with multiple perspectives (e.g. methods)
Longitudinal research: more than 1 episode of data collection.
Secondary analysis: returning to a data set, to re-examine it with a slightly different objective.
Chapter 4 key terms:
Purposive sampling: when participants are sampled because of prescribed criteria.
- Theoretical: people are chosen because they are expected to fit/contribute to a certain
theory. (grounded theory)
- Symbolical: symbolise different groups/characteristics
Sample frame: the information source from which the sample is selected.
Sample matrix: shows the prescribed sample criteria.
Quotas: requirements in numbers
Non-probability sampling: range of strategies the probability of units being sampled is
unknown and random. There is no intention to choose a representative sample. Chapter 5 key terms:
Unstructured data collection: flexible and interactive questioning techniques.
Semi-structured data collection: when there is a certain structure but still room for interaction
(topic guides, key terms).
Enabling and projective techniques: approaches to facilitate data collection of subjects that are
unconscious or hard to reach/sensitive:
- Vignette questions: using hypothetical examples to reach underlying values or
- Card sorting: written examples are ordered by the participant.
Field notes: notes used by the researcher in the field. (ethnographic research)
Chapter 6 key terms:
- Reveals deep and personal value/meaning
- Suitable when a questionnaire is not an option
- Suitable for sensitive topics
- Suitable for specific paradigms
- Flexible and interactive
- Although data is naturally captured, it is still generated
Understanding is more important than explaining. Empathy is considered important as well.
There are emic versus etic approaches.
Reciprocity: idea of researchers giving something back to the interviewees.
Also, the researcher should establish rapport and take emotional aftercare if necessary. General interviewing techniques and types of questions:
- Content mapping questions: to identify dimensions.
- Content mining questions: to go deeper into details. Probing is often used.
- Probes: responsive questions to obtain greater clarity, detail or depth. There are many
types of probing questions.
- Prompts: come from the researcher and are not really a reaction on the interviewee.
- Leading questions: indicating a preferred/expected response, so should be avoided.
- Open questions: require more than a single word or sentence to be answered.
- Closed/dichotomous questions: can be answered with yes or no. Specific interviewing techniques and types of questions:
- Visual aids: show photos to evoke reaction/memory