Qualitative Analysis


Posted July 13, 2009

Qualitative analysis involves the why and how of decision making as opposed to the what, where, and when of quantitative analysis.  Since qualitative analysis focuses on in-depth reasoning and quality of results, many researchers prefer it over the quantitative analysis that focuses on bigger sample sizes. This type of analysis does not use any statistical tools in the process.  Qualitative analysis needs small and focused samples instead of the large random samples that quantitative analysis uses.  Qualitative analysis classifies data into patterns in order to arrange and conclude results.  The data used can be in many forms such as texts, images, sounds, etc.  The most important requirement needed is the presence of in-depth knowledge of the target subject.  Qualitative analysis is applied in almost all possible fields including psychology, medicine, nursing, business, marketing, etc.

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In the field of psychology, qualitative analysis is used to understand diverse human behaviors— their general trends and their causes and consequences.  This aspect of psychology is called the behavioral science, and it performs analysis through in-depth study of different population groups and through contextual and structured interviews.

For the field of medicine and nursing, qualitative analysis is used to overcome certain problems. Generally, there are two types of qualitative analysis that are used in medicine and nursing: the Delphi process and the Nominal Group Technique.  The Delphi process is the reliable and creative exploration of ideas to produce the most suitable set of information.  In the Nominal Group Technique, brain storming sessions are used in order to receive suggestions of each person of the group, and then all the suggestions and perceptions are prioritized by the consent of the majority.  Qualitative analysis is widely used in the field of business, especially in the field of market research.  In marketing, it is useful in many ways.  For example, if a company wants to know the requirements of certain gadgets’ features amongst the people of different age groups, sexes, and locations, then qualitative analysis tends to be quite helpful for such companies.  The researcher can prepare a questionnaire that would cater questions for the aim of the analysis.  Sometimes, the questions asked on the questionnaire are very sensitive, however, and the researcher should be very attentive and articulate while framing these types of questions.

There are many aspects of qualitative analysis, and there are many tasks that different people must perform in order to collect the data.  The roles involved are the moderators, facilitators, planners, and consultants.  The moderators initiate group discussions and take care of the group members.  This includes making them feel comfortable and supervising the discussion without wasting time or hurting the participant’s feelings.  The facilitators in qualitative analysis also take care of the sensitive questions in order to avoid any disturbances in the discussion.  The planners involved help the facilitators by creating templates and plans.  They ensure that the discussions are smooth and productive for the research.

Qualitative analysis is one of the best methods of research for many fields of study.  It provides depth and detail by analyzing things more than just numbers and sizes.  It does this through examining attitudes, feelings, and behaviors.  This type of analysis encourages people to expand their responses and also helps people to have a better and more detailed picture of the causes and conclusions of different actions and reactions in the world.  Finally, qualitative analysis deals with the exclusion of prejudices and prejudgments, because every thought, action, and behavior is researched through the cause and the reality.


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