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Use of Theory in Qualitative Studies

Compare and contrast the role of theory (theoretical framework and conceptual framework in qualitative research) in the five main qualitative approaches (case studies, narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, and ethnography.

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On Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is that path of social sciences that utilizes text-data to understand a phenomenon. The exploration of the phenomenon is undertaken for the purpose of coming up with a descriptive study that undertakes the explanation of the mechanisms involved, impacting and is impacted by the subject under study. Thus, the purpose is to collect information so that a true, understandable picture of the subject emerges. Unlike quantitative studies whereby the purpose is to measure, qualitative studies therefore does not rely on numerical data but on text-data from surveys, interviews, observations, fieldwork, etc. Qualitative research is about collection of details - the messier, the better.

Using Theory

Doing research requires the employment of techniques and processes that scientists have used time and again to sharpen their research, to achieve their purpose and to ensure that what they are doing are in accordance with the scientific form of inquiry. In the social sciences, using theories in research is like using a tool to focus the study so that what the researcher envisions takes place. A theory is already an accepted position in science having been established ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the subject of their application in qualitative research. Each approach is looked at in terms of how theory can be utilised conceptually and theoretically. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.