Exploring Qualitative Research Methods


Researchers use different kinds of methods of analysing the collected data. Quantitative and qualitative are two types of research methods which are used by many researchers for evaluating and interpreting the results of any research. In this assignment, qualitative research methods will be elaborated in details. There are different kinds of the process can be followed in qualitative research which can be used by the researcher while doing any kind of research. Interviews can be taken, proper observation can be done, or some open-ended surveys can be organised by the research authority. This assignment will focus on different types of interviews such as semi-structured, unstructured and observation type research. Dobash and Dobash study will be used here to describe the details of the concerned topic. Apart from this, Humphrey's Tearoom Trade study will also be included in this assignment for supporting the details.



Unstructured interviews refer to the process of taking interviews when the researcher directly asks a bunch of questions to the participants. Interviews help together different kind of sociology related data. These interviews can be conducted either face-to-face or via Skype telephone. Unstructured interviews do not depend on a bunch of questionnaires. In this case, the interview can ask any type of question as per the choice of the researcher. Moreover, depth exploration can be found by conducting an unstructured interview. There is no protocol or previously settled question asked to the participant while taking the unstructured interview. It's like a conversation which is an informal type. In the Dobash and Dobash study, the author clearly provides evidences of the violence against wives. This study was done by taking unstructured interviews. There were not previously questioned prepared by the author which helped the victims to clearly speak about their problems. Socialisation factors were elaborated in this study by the authors. The relationship of male and female were elaborated clearly by taking interviews. So, it can be stated that this method of taking interviews helped the research to find out clear details about the issue. This method was used to get proper information regarding to the incident. In addition to this, there is no rigid type of structure, and more flexibility is given to the interviewer for picking up the key elements mention by an interviewee. This type of interview is taken on smaller samples, and that means only a few candidates can join this interview process. The researcher needs to be polite with the participants for getting detailed information about the concerned topic of the interview.


In Dobash and Dobash study the interviewer asked many kind of question as per their choice and interviewees can give an answer by following their own method. Any kind of sensitive topics can be discussed by conducting unstructured interviews. It helps to get in-depth, rich and valid data from the participant. All the priorities and the concerns related to the participant can be identified properly by conducting and structured interviews. Participants can open up incase of rapport with the interviewer.


The main disadvantages of unstructured interviews are mentioned below. It can create different kinds of bias during the interview session. In addition to this, the participant can withdraw their statement at any time, and sometimes proper operation cannot be found. Comparison of different types of data is critical in this process. The researcher may find issues related to journalising the outcomes because interviews are really small.

Semi-structured interviews

Semi-structured interviews generally conducted on social researches. In this type of interviews, the researcher follows both structured and unstructured type of interviews. For example, the researcher prepares a bunch of questionnaires which also include demography questions and distributors’ questionnaire to the selective number of participants. In addition to that, some open-ended questions also ask the participants. Sociologist carries out these interviews by preparing some specific questions related to the concerned topic of the research. For example, in Humphrey's Tearoom Trade study, the researcher observed the details of public places where impersonal sex were made by people. So, semi-structured interviews were conducted by the researcher for tracking the subjects. Though there were many risks but the researcher deeply analysed the sincerity of the topic. The author did not have the subject knowledge but the author recorded details of licence numbers and tracked them for getting additional details. Ethical questions were asked to the participants for this sociological research. This method was used because it helped to clarify the incident in details. Deep analysis can be done by conducting these interviews, and the research course can be evaluated in a detailed way by conducting this type of interviews. So it can be stated that this type of interviews helps to uncover the hidden information related to the concerned topic of the research. Different kinds of opportunities can be found by using the research method for getting valuable information.


The main benefit of semi-structured interviews is mentioned in the below section. This type of research helps to provide in-depth and research qualitative data. Also allows participants to open up about different kinds of sensitive problems. It encourages the communication method, and natural flow within the conversation can be found I conduct in semi-structured interviews. So this type of interviews helps to identify detailed information about any topic and the participants feel so much comfortable while sharing their own experiences.

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Semi-structured interviews are time-consuming, and a lot of effort is required to proceed with these interviews. It also requires any kind of extensive resources such as dictaphone for recording, specific location for depth conversation. Sometimes it may be challenging to find the intentions of the interviewer. So a high level of training related to interviewing skills is required for conducting this kind of interviews. The researcher needs to include some specific personal characteristics like empathy and warmth for conducting semi-structured interviews. In addition to this, enough people can participate in these interviews. Therefore sometimes it becomes very hard to find a specific conclusion because different kinds of opinions can be observed during the interview session. Different opinions can distract the researcher from the topic of the interview. It also can create bias during the interview session, which can negatively impact on the research program.

Observation research

Observation research refers to the process of gathering data by observing activities of different kinds of people. This process actually includes lots of advantages, and it can provide valid information to the research. Sorry searcher observes and prepares notes for the recording of the incident. It is generally based on the observation power of the researcher, and what the researcher see is clearly described within the research.

There are two different kinds of observation which are participant observation and non-participant observation. Participant observation refers to the process where the researcher takes part in any particular event of the selective number of the participant while doing observation. In non-participant observation, the researcher clearly observes an event or focus on a group without taking any part in the event.


The researcher needs to be honest, and this observation helps to maintain the ethics of the research. The researcher can prepare notes openly by doing observation method. It helps to observe any kind of sincere issues in depth. The subjects sometimes agree to participate in questionnaires for an interview session. So it can be stated that the observation process helps to gather any kind of valuable data.


The main disadvantage of the observation process is the appearance of trust issues and risks. In addition to this, not everyone is comfortable to observe deviance or crimes. The researcher must not modify any data, and personal details of the interviewees must not be discussed with others. All these ethics should be maintained by the researcher properly.


This assignment elaborated different kinds of the interview process, which helps to get valuable data from the participants of any research. Depth analysis can be done by following these types of interview process. Though there are many drawbacks if proper strategies applied by the researcher, then the researcher can get a lot of information from the participants. Valid data can be found by applying these methods. Moreover, while taking interviews, the researcher must maintain all the ethics of the research. In addition to this, the researcher needs to secure all valuable information. Apart from this, the researcher needs to maintain the confidentiality of the research process.

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