What are qualitative instruments? (with photo)

Focus groups can be used to determine the qualitative factors that play a role in a specific opinion.

Qualitative instruments are used in investigative qualitative research. This type of research differs from quantitative research because the researcher is a large part of the process and can be considered one of the qualitative instruments. Other types of qualitative instruments include focus groups, interviews, and document analysis. In addition, narratives and observations by the researcher in the field are used. Data is analyzed using different methods to produce information in the form of words or pictures and can be coded for further analysis.

The researcher is considered one of the main qualitative instruments in this type of research, as he is a large part of the process. When the researcher conducts an interview or observes a party, he is affecting and becoming involved in the situation. This is different from quantitative research which aims to be objective rather than subjective, using instruments that have been standardized in previous populations. A qualitative researcher usually develops the questions he asks before the study begins, as the aim of qualitative research is to gain personal insight into the subject, or subjects, being studied.

Interviews are often important tools in qualitative research and can be done in structured or unstructured ways. Structured interviews include a set of questions that the researcher has formulated in advance. Unstructured interviews allow the researcher and subject to simply talk to each other and share information in an informal atmosphere. Focus groups are used to get a group talking about a certain topic while the members are under observation. This is a useful tool if a researcher wants to get ideas from more than one person at a time or to see interaction between group members.

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Another of the main qualitative instruments is field observation, which is carried out by the researcher when the subject is in an apparently normal environment. For example, a child playing with toys or other children can be observed with a video camera and the content analyzed later. Narrative is another instrument frequently used, which allows the subject to tell a story or write something that he/she gives to the researcher. This allows the subject to convey information completely in their own words, which can be further analyzed for themes or trends. The analysis of videos and old objects can also be used as qualitative instruments.

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