qualitative observations

qualitative observations

qualitative observations
qualitative observations

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qualitative observations

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Qualitative observation implies understanding the differences and similarities in quality. It depends on subjective methods to gather data for analysis. Unlike quantitative observation, takes more time. However, the research is more extensive and personal; also, the size of the sample is much smaller. In this method of observation, a researcher gathers a wide range of responses to receive better outcomes from the survey. 

A qualitative observation involves the use of five sensory organs, sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, and their function to examine the attributes. Being subjective in nature, it focuses on the characteristics and qualities of the variables rather than the numerical value. 

Examples: 

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In 1990, Connelly and Clandinn observed that in a qualitative observation, a researcher must determine what role to play for the success of the study and acceptance by the participants. Some methods include the following.

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    The data collected from the qualitative observation explains that these lead managers are not well trained in public relations; hence they are bad at client management. A newly opened café wants to understand the taste preference of the customers to increase the menu. The qualitative observation can help them dive deeper into the customers’ choices by receiving results based on their popular taste.

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    qualitative observations

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    Qualitative Observation is the research process of using subjective methodologies to gather information or data. Since the focus on qualitative observation is to equate quality differences, it is a lot more time consuming than quantitative observation but the sample size used is much smaller and the research is extensive and a lot more personal.

    Qualitative observation deals with the 5 major sensory organs and their functioning – sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. This doesn’t involve measurements or numbers but instead characteristics.

    Learn more: Qualitative Market Research

    Characteristics of qualitative observational research can very broadly be bucketed under ten overlapping themes that researchers should know of when they analyze the data that has been collected. They are:

    qualitative observations

    This characteristic is a major part of qualitative observational research because the interviewer or the researchers immerses himself/herself with the group and gets in sync with the topic. The questions evolve during the research process. The researcher can form any hypothesis through the answers and work backwards to prove or disprove it or even build on it. Another component of this is the researcher evaluates a lot of content which is known as inductive content analysis. This analysis to is used to form hypothesis and act as a primary content type. This approach allows for the findings to emerge from raw data without the restraints of structured methodologies of significant, dominant or repetitive themes.

    For example, when someone borrows a book from you. They say they will return it in 2 weeks but don’t. And then do that a few more times. Every time a date is decided on, that is a premise. But if the book isn’t returned after a few such instances, you assume that you are never getting the book back. That is the conclusion.

    The researcher has to be aware of the “Halo effect” during a research study. Whilst it is important to immerse yourself with the subjects for a study, it is also counter-productive to form a bias. Being emotionally vested in a study helps to derive better answers but it is also a slippery slope if the researcher lets the topic get biased.

    A good example for this would be an influencer being the researcher for a sports shoe manufacturer’s study with current and prospective customers. The researcher can offer important inputs toward the research but offering personal suggestions or product tweaks would bias the study and the corresponding research.

    This type of qualitative observation and qualitative research is the type of research that focuses on how people react or behave when they are put in a real life situation in a natural environment. This characteristic hinges on the reality that things in general are coherent, consistent and predictable. Hence the researcher here would try every extent to control the contours of the environment the research study is happening in so that the study happens in context.

    For example if you wanted to understand from students how many of them use e-learning modules, you cannot do this in a cafeteria where all the students may not be taking online courses. It would have to be done in online forums or through video conferencing.

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  • Qualitative observational research focuses on getting multiple answers. There’s no right or wrong answer and hence the researcher must prod for every possible aspect towards the study. It is also imperative that the researcher motivates the participants to provide every variant of the answer that they think is right.

    An example would be in a sample research with a few participants to discuss a new mobile phone features, the researcher should push the respondents to talk about every feature they think is important or not or add something that is still only on the drawing board.

    This approach assumes that the whole is greater than the sum of all the parts. This means that every action or communication in a research study has to be accounted for as part of their culture or community. But. But if not careful, the researcher assumes every little thing to be relevant and that leds the researcher down the wrong path.

    A very good example of this is the use of plastic bags in a certain country. If a lot of the people are interviewed about their plastic usage and discuss how to reduce the usage, the usage would never reduce.

    Researchers must never lose focus of the fact that each research study is different from another and equal importance and time and emotions must be devoted to each research. Researchers must also realize no matter what outcome of a study is required, the same amount of time has to be devoted to the research.

    An example of this is a focus group on the color of a clothing item is as important as the focus group on the design, fabric and fit.

    The researcher must be sensitive to the fact that different ethnographics respond to the same question very differently and he/she should not negate an opinion or thought on the basis of a personal bias. They must also realize that certain demographics, geographical locations or even cultural behavior can influence the variables for each question. The researchers should be able to account for them and see patterns and map them in the analysis.

    Focus groups with various people of different ethnicities being asked about their food preferences is an example of this characteristic. People of different religions and different geographies respond to different ways to food because of their upbringing, the nutritional value of the food, religious beliefs etc.

    Ideally, researchers should be non-judgmental while compiling findings of a research study. But being completely neutral is not possible for a human being, this concept is a controversial topic in qualitative research.

    For example, an orthopedic surgeon who was the researcher for a study cannot be biased towards orthopedic doctors who were respondents of the research study whilst putting down the other medical professionals.

    Many methodologies like interviews, samples and research reports can help triangulate the cultural orientation of a group in a research study. This is summation of the culture the way it is. A researcher can do the ground research work to find a common bond and then conduct the actual interviews to get their point of view – this is qualitative data.

    For example, trying to understand why Eastern African runners do well in long distance competitive running. Reports show you the results and the researchers go into a study with that premise and then conduct actual interviews to understand the reasons behind their dominance.

    Researchers can deep dive into certain threads that come out of a research study even though it may not be directly relevant to the central theme of the study. This is to coerce the recipients of the study to answer being fully invested in the study.

    This can be denoted with if a restaurant is coming up with a new venue and the central theme is Mexican food but after the research, there seems to be some interest for South American food too. The researcher should take cognizance of the request and build on it.

    To summarize, it is paramount that the researcher has an open mind to the study and can distance himself/herself from any bias or a halo effect. The researcher must also be aware of their own biases and know how to keep those biases away whilst representing a group.

    Learn more: Qualitative Research Questions and Questionnaires

    Even though qualitative observation is subjective, the researcher must define the end result and quantify it so that the research is actionable. The researcher must also be aware of bias and try to not let that engulf the research. It also helps to have more than one researcher so that the accumulated research is holistic in nature. The four types of qualitative observations are:

    In this type of qualitative observation, the researcher is completely unknown to the research audience and cannot even be seen. This type of research gives the audience more freedom to speak because they think they are not being observed or judged. But this method of qualitative observation is losing ground over other types because of privacy issues. In today’s day and world, one cannot observe you without your knowledge.

    This model although is the only option in a public place like a lounge, restaurant or a coffee shop. The other alternative to this is to have a camera recording the focus group or discussion that the group is having.

    In this type of qualitative observation, the researcher is known to the focus group or the people in the sample undergoing the study. In this study type, the end goal of the researcher is known to everyone. In this case the observer can play an active part in the discussion. But it is preferred if the suggestions given are limited so that it doesn’t influence the research outcome or sway the group towards a certain bias.

    An example of this type of study is when a fan of a certain football club is doing an extensive research if the club of his/her choice is going to make it to the SuperBowl and if yes or not, what are the reasons for the it with other fans. Other fans know him/her as a fan but not in the capacity of a researcher and hence indulge in the research study.

    In this type of qualitative observation, the observer completely indulges the participants and participates in the discussion. Even though the participants discuss in entirety with the observer, they do know that the observer is also a researcher. The observer in this case though is a family member or a close friend and hence that doesn’t deter the participants from a discussion.

    An example of this study type is a medical study on an in-depth but a slightly embarrassing topic where the researcher could be related the participant or participants in any way.

    This research type is used for secretive topics or research areas that you wouldn’t want to ruffle feathers with. In this case the researcher is completely in sync with the participants. The discussions are free flowing no holds barred and the researcher indulges in the discussion animatedly. In this research type the participants don’t know the researcher or even that a research study is being conducted.

    A shopping mall trying to understand purchasing and spend habits of the shoppers is an example of this type of study. This is where the researcher is planted in an already group of participants and the researcher can plant thoughts or ideas or coerce participants to speak up.

    Learn more: Conduct Qualitative Research

    To better understand qualitative observation, below are 2 examples:

    1. Qualitative observation is called intensive. An example is – A vacation rental owner wanted to understand why there were diminishing guest visits, very few repeat guests and negligible referrals. An online community of the vacation rental home were interviewed to understand their holiday and stay habits and preferences. At the end of the interview, it was realized that the reason for non-repeat visits and no referrals was that the home didn’t contain a washer dryer, it was far from downtown and getting necessities was tough and the home wasn’t pet friendly.

    qualitative observations

    By conducting this qualitative research, the owner realized the shortcomings of the place and what were the innate feelings of the guests. Through this research, the homeowner can now rectify or alleviate some of the problem areas.

    2. Another example of this is a an investment firm where the objective of the study was to understand the investment trends of customers with specific fund managers. Some fund managers even though had better results and impressive portfolios were the least picked or had very high retention amongst clients. An online sample of the investment firm was called upon for in-depth focus groups. After days of data collection and analysis, it was found out that the fund managers who were really good at portfolio management were terrible in client management. They did not explain the funds to their customers or ignored recommendations of their customers on other funds. They also chose not to communicate with their direct customers and maintained stoic silence for the review process.

    By conducting this research, the fund manager realized that if his staff was trained better, he could bring up the performance of the laggards and train the good performers in smart skills to increase client satisfaction.

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    Difference between qualitative observation and quantitative observation

    There are many differences between qualitative observation and quantitative observation but some of the major differences are:

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    When carrying out experimental research, researchers can adopt either qualitative or quantitative methods of data observation depending on the sample size, research variables, and the hypothesis. Observation is an important aspect of systematic investigation because it sets the pace for any research. 

    Qualitative and quantitative observation methods can be used interdependently with a variety of research tools in order to facilitate data collection and analysis. However, it is easy for these methods of observation to be mixed up hence, the need for researchers to understand the key differences between qualitative and quantitative observation.  

    A quantitative observation is an objective method of data analysis that measures research variables using numerical and statistical parameters. This method of observation views research variables in terms of quantity hence; it is usually associated with values that can be counted such as age, weight, volume, and scale. 

    A quantitative observation is also referred to as standardized observation because it measures research variables using definite parameters and results in definite research outcomes. It is usually carried out with a large data sample size because the larger the research sample; the more accurate the research findings would be. 

    qualitative observations

    Surveys, questionnaires, and polls are common methods of carrying out quantitative observation and you can use online data-gathering platforms like Formplus to create and administer quantitative observation surveys. As a result of its dependence on numerical data, quantitative observation is commonly used for scientific research.  

    Unlike other methods of data analysis, the quantitative analysis yields definite results that can be quantified. Hence, adopting this data analysis design would help you arrive at more accurate research outcomes. 

    The research outcomes arrived at via quantitative observation are typically constant and not subject to sporadic changes. For example, the freezing point of water is 0°C and remains constant as long as other research variables are constant. 

    For a quantitative observation to be effective, the data sample must be large enough. This provides researchers with enough information for arriving at objective findings. 

    The data gathered using quantitative observation is usually accurate since it is subject to a few research biases. 

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  • Qualitative observation is a research method that makes use of subjective parameters for data gathering. It utilizes processes like inductive reasoning, naturalism, and empathetic neutrality in order to equate quality similarities and differences among research variables. 

    Usually, qualitative observation is more time-consuming, extensive and personal, and it uses the 5 sensory organs while examining research variables. This is because the focus of qualitative observation is the characteristics of the research subjects rather than numerical value or quantity. 

    Qualitative observation is a research method that examines the characteristics of research variables while quantitative observation is a research design that quantifies variables in terms of statistical and numerical value. Simply put, quantitative observation is an objective method of data gathering while qualitative observation is a subjective method of data gathering. 

    For example, when a researcher pays equates research variables in terms of their quality, then this is qualitative observation. However, when a researcher measures the number of variables using fixed numerical or statistical parameters, then this is quantitative observation. 

    Examples of quantitative observation include age, weight, height, length, population, size and other numerical values while examples of qualitative observation are color, smell, taste, touch or feeling, typology, and shapes. 

    Generally, quantitative observation deals with data that can be counted while qualitative observation deals with data that can be described in terms of the 5 sensory organs. 

    Consider the examples below:

    The data sample in example 1 denotes quantitative observation while the data sample in example 2 denotes qualitative observation. 

    Qualitative observation is mainly used in research that is concerned with the differentiating qualities of research variables while quantitative observation is mainly used in research processes that require data quantification. In some situations, a researcher may need to combine quantitative and qualitative observations in order to arrive at more objective findings. 

    If a researcher needs to categorize his or her data sample based on statistical parameters, then quantitative observation would be utilized. However, if a researcher needs to categorize his or her data sample based on qualitative differences, then qualitative observation would be adopted. 

    Qualitative observation results in more in-depth and descriptive research outcomes, unlike quantitative observation. In qualitative observation, the researcher pays attention to the nature of the research variables in order to discover the true characteristics and behaviors of these variables in their natural environments. 

    On the other hand, quantitative research only focuses on the numerical values of research variables without taking the nature of these variables into consideration. Hence, it is more suitable for research processes that examine quantifiable data.  

    Because of its focus on the in-depth description of research variables, qualitative observation is time-consuming, capital intensive and also requires a high level of expertise. Hence, this method of observation may not be suitable for systematic investigations that are set within a short time frame and are subject to limited resources. 

    On the other hand, quantitative research requires a shorter time frame and results in more definite research outcomes. Since its data sample can be quantified using fixed numerical parameters, quantitative observation yields more accurate results than qualitative observation and it is suitable for statistical investigations. 

    Qualitative observation gathers data samples using complete observer, observer as a participant, participant as an observer and complete participant methods while quantitative observation collects data samples using surveys, questionnaires, and polls. For instance, you can use Formplus to create and share an online survey with your research groups part of quantitative observation. 

    Qualitative observation methods typically entail the researcher recording the research variables in their natural environment. To do this, the observer may need to become a part of the research group, interact with the research group or co-exist with the research group in order to effectively describe its habits.  

    Numerical evaluation and bias-free research findings are the major characteristics of quantitative observation while inductive analysis and naturalism are common features of qualitative observation. Quantitative observation defines research data based in terms of quantity hence, it utilizes statistical parameters for measurements. 

    Qualitative observation, on the other hand, uses inductive analysis and naturalism to describe the nature of research variables. Naturalism entails observing research variables as they interact in their natural environment while inductive analysis involves generating hypotheses based on interactions with the research group. 

    Qualitative observation is usually conducted on a small data sample size while quantitative observation is carried out on a large data sample size. Quantitative observation depends on the quantity of the research variables in order to arrive at objective findings since the data is quantified as the actual. 

    In the case of qualitative observation, the research variables represent the emotions of a larger data sample. Qualitative observation works with a small data sample size because it is more extensive and personal, and the outcomes are the result of extended observation of the research group. 

    As a research design, qualitative observation is used to gather information for policy formulation, developing new concepts and creating new products while quantitative observation is mostly used in scientific research since it generates numerically observed outcomes that can be measured. 

    For instance, if an organization wants to gather information relating to market needs for a product launch, it may have to adopt qualitative observation methods. However, if the same organization needs to gather information on the number of consumers that use its product, it may have to utilize quantitative observation methods. 

    A quantitative observation is objective while qualitative observation is subjective. Quantitative observation methods depend on fixed numerical parameters in order to categorize data samples while qualitative observation depends on subjective parameters for data gathering and data analysis. 

    In qualitative observation, the researcher does not work with any fixed parameters in generating research outcomes rather, s/he collects and describes a variety of information related to the research variables. Quantitative observation, on the other hand, examines the data samples in line with definite numerical values.  

    Quantitative observation methods make use of statistical parameters while qualitative observation makes use of subjective parameters. In this sense, carrying out quantitative observation means quantifying your data using certain numerical values such as age, weight, population, depth, amount and other units of measurement. 

    On the other hand, qualitative observation does not quantify data hence, it is not suitable for statistical evaluation. Instead, it focuses on describing the nature of the research variables by examining how they interact with their natural environment; therefore, it is not a common method of observation in scientific research. 

    Qualitative observation is more suitable for sociological investigations while quantitative observation is more suitable for scientific research. Qualitative observation methods such as naturalism involve examining research groups in their natural environment in order to arrive at objective conclusions about their behaviors and characteristics. 

    Quantitative observation utilizes data gathering methods such as surveys and polls in order to quantify and categorize the research data. This research approach aligns with the scientific method of inquiry in which the research data sample is examined using measurable processes in order to arrive at definite results. 

    Qualitative observation is more susceptible to biased outcomes, unlike quantitative observation. Qualitative observation methods are fluid and do not have any definite parameters for data description hence, the data gathering process is largely subject to the discretion of the researcher. 

    qualitative observations

    Quantitative observation produces bias-free outcomes because this method of investigation adopts definite and objective approaches to the examination of research variables. However, these outcomes have a margin of error which is the level of error in results arrived at from analyzing random sampling surveys. 

    Qualitative observation has a high degree of variability, unlike quantitative observation. Variability in research refers to the lack of consistency in research parameters or the lack of a fixed or definite research methodology as is obtainable in qualitative observation.

    Qualitative observation methods do not have fixed parameters for the examination of sample data instead, these methods are modified based on the discretion of the researcher to suit the sample and research environment. On the other hand, quantitative observation examines data samples based on definite numerical values. 

    Quantitative observation employs deductive analysis while qualitative observation employs inductive analysis. In a deductive analysis, the researcher develops a research theory, builds hypotheses from this theory and tests the hypotheses by collecting and analyzing data samples using quantitative observation methods. 

    On the other hand, in inductive analysis, the researcher first gathers data samples through the observation of the research variables in their natural environment. After doing this, he or she proceeds to analyze the data samples in order to identify patterns and develop a theory that explains these patterns. 

    Despite their different approaches to data gathering and analysis, there are a number of similarities between quantitative and qualitative observation methods. Here are a number of them: 

    Both qualitative observation and quantitative observation depend on data samples gathered from research participants in order to generate objective findings. However, while qualitative observation draws data samples from actual interaction with the participants, quantitative research may utilize different indirect methods for data collection from participants. 

    Qualitative and quantitative observations are both potent tools for systematic investigation. While the former is used for research analysis aimed at describing the nature of the variables, the latter is used to quantify variables based on numerical values. 

    Qualitative and quantitative observation methods can be used interdependently in research. For example, in gathering feedback about a product, an organization may need to collect information about the product’s market share before proceeding with consumer satisfaction inquires. 

    Both quantitative and qualitative observation methods are aimed at data collection. In other words, quantitative and qualitative observation helps the researcher to gather the information that would later be analyzed in order to come up with research findings. 

    You can use Formplus to create and administer online surveys as part of the methods of quantitative observation. Formplus allows you to create a dynamic survey form in minutes and you can easily share your form link with friends and family. 

    Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use Formplus for quantitative observation: 

    In the Formplus builder, you can easily create your survey form by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

    Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on “Create Form ” to begin. 

    Formplus allows you to add unique features to your survey form. You can personalize your form using various customization options in the builder. Here, you can add background images, your organization’s logo, and other features. You can also change the display theme of your form. 

    Now, save your survey form and share the link with respondents. You can also track all form responses in the analytics dashboard. 

    Qualitative observation and quantitative observation are 2 of the most common data collection and data processing methods used in research. Both methods are primarily defined by specific characteristics in terms of their research design, data sample size and other features already mentioned in this write-up. 

    Unlike quantitative observation that arrives at research outcomes through deductive reasoning, qualitative observation applies inductive reasoning for data analysis. In this sense, the researcher develops a theory to explain the patterns he has observed from his research sample after an extended inquiry period. 

    In terms of similarities, both qualitative and quantitative observation methods depend on participants and groups in order to gather research variables. As an online data-gathering platform, Formplus can help you to develop and easily administer online surveys as part of the methods of quantitative observation. 

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    Perform better observation with an online survey that gather and analyze data

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    Qualitative data is all around you. From the smoothness of your skin to the softness of your hair, qualitative observation data provides a description of how something looks, feels, smells, etc. View examples of simple qualitative data in everyday life and in research. Get an overview of the language used for qualitative observation.

    Qualitative data is used to characterize objects or observations. It is observable data that might use your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. It does not refer to aspects that can be numbered or measured. Qualitative aspects are subjective and abstract qualities, not objective or concrete factors. Explore several examples of qualitative data:

    Qualitative data is descriptive data like color, taste, texture, smell, etc. Quantitative data, on the other hand, is data that is measurable. For example, qualitative data of milk might discuss it’s a white liquid. Quantitative data of the same milk might discuss there are 3 gallons of milk. See another example to drive this difference home.

    Qualitative observations and data can be extremely helpful to research and scientific studies. Explore qualitative data used in studies.

    When making qualitative observations, several different adjectives or adverbs you might use include:

    qualitative observations

    Typically, qualitative data is used alongside quantitative data to make a well-rounded experiment or study. Looking to find out more about research? Dive into the scientific method examples. Not only will you find out the history but learn how it is used.

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    Gathering accurate data depends on the observations of the researcher and how you categorize them. You can categorize observations based on the method and tools the observer uses to gather the information. Qualitative observation is one such categorization often used by researchers. In this article, we explore qualitative observation, the types of qualitative observation and some of their specific characteristics and outline several examples of the method.

    Qualitative observation is the act of gathering information for research through subjective methods. Qualitative observation depends heavily on a person’s senses: taste, sight, hearing, touch and smell. Using these senses, researchers can gather very specific data and report on characteristics in place of measurements. For example, a researcher might want to know what a new material feels like on human skin, so they test it on their own hands.

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    Quantitative observation is another method by which researchers gather information, but it can depend on using quantifiable information, or information that the researchers can measure. This includes numerical values like age, weight, height, length or monetary value. An example of quantitative observation is measuring the weight of a new product before sending it to the testing room for qualitative observation.

    qualitative observations

    The common characteristics of qualitative observation help separate it from its counterpart and can include:

    Since qualitative observation depends on the subjective observations of people, it can produce biased results. For example, if you put two people in the same room and ask them what colors they see in a painting in the room, they may note different colors. One person’s green may look bluer to another or a red can look more orange. Qualitative observation produces biases that researchers can use to identify patterns within a group of people or a specific concept.

    Where quantitative observation seeks a quantifiable answer, qualitative observation looks for patterns and characteristics instead. The researcher uses their five senses to learn more about the object, person or event and doesn’t produce a definitive answer to the initial question. For example, if a scientist wants to learn what species an animal is, using qualitative observation doesn’t produce a definitive answer. The scientist can list the animal’s characteristics, which help in future identification, but only the combination of quantitative and qualitative observation can produce a definite answer.

    Qualitative observation completely depends on the subjective observations of the researcher or participant. Where quantitative observation produces definite, measurable results, the results of qualitative reasoning can vary based on human factors like background, skills and education. This can help the researcher learn more about the direct behavior of specific groups and events and help create a more inclusive research environment.

    Qualitative observation typically looks for patterns from other sets of data to support a hypothesis. For example, if a scientist observes a specific animal behaving differently during winter, another scientist might look for that same pattern during their analysis. With this information, the research team can determine if the behavior is a single event or, in fact, part of the animal’s instinctive behavior. From their qualitative observation, they can draw quantifiable results.

    Some qualitative observation involves natural inquiry or the natural reactions that a person might have given a certain situation or environment. The results of the observation may depend on the participant’s natural actions and responses. If you want to learn how birds lay eggs, you would look at a bird’s nest rather than an underground lair. Natural inquiry requires that the natural environment for observation exists and the observer is aware of it.

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  • Empathy is a natural human emotion, but one that is typically controlled during qualitative observation to avoid biases. However, it’s not always possible to control such emotion, so researchers account for it in their findings. For example, if a teacher is a member of a research panel, they must show empathetic neutrality toward the responses of other teachers who are respondents of that study. The teacher must acknowledge each person’s contribution to the study and set aside their own biases toward teachers to collect accurate information.

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    Here are some types of qualitative observation to consider:

    Surveys are one of the most common methods of qualitative observation. Surveys depend on feedback from a control group or audience, such as a customer of a business. The survey might explore a customer’s experience with the business, ask for any suggestions to make the business better or ask about the company’s products. Surveys depend entirely on the subjective experience of the person or people completing the survey to draw conclusions.

    Many industries and researchers use surveys as quick information-gathering tools. For example, a political campaign might use surveys to learn what percentage of the local population votes for which parties. Surveys can be vague and collect general information or specific to an organization, campaign or research project.

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    Interviews allow a researcher to ask a person direct questions relating to the study. A news anchor might interview an expert about the best way to prevent the flu during winter. The news anchor may bring objective questions such as “what steps can we take to prevent the flu?” The specialist can provide subjective advice based on their experience in the medical field and with the specific illness. The interviewer can’t measure the expert’s responses in numerical value but in the consistency and quality of their answers.

    Case studies focus on specific people, contexts or issues. These studies can help prove a hypothesis, identify trends or simply create a larger pool of information to learn from. For example, a scientist with a hypothesis about heart health might study individuals from different backgrounds to learn more about how race, gender or hereditary factors can affect heart health. Case studies provide valuable information that researchers may use to create solutions and prevent new trends. Case studies are common in many industries to gather data such as:

    Employment

    Health education

    Political affiliation

    Direct observation allows the researcher to observe an object, person or phenomenon and collect subjective data about their qualities. This can include questions like:

    What does it look like?

    What does it sound like?

    What does it taste like?

    What does it feel like?

    What is it doing?

    How does it behave under specific circumstances?

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    To better understand qualitative observation, here are some examples of the concept for reference:

    Example 1: A scientist is confident they’ve discovered a new species. The scientist visits the species’ natural habitat, observing its behavior and documenting using their five senses. The scientist keeps a journal for several weeks, tracking reproductive behavior, food gathering, sleep patterns and the physical appearance of the new species.

    Example 2: A business wants to know whether customers like the new materials for the company’s clothing line. Using a survey, the company asks customers if they noticed a change in materials and what felt different about it. The company also asks customers to list three things they like and dislike about the new materials to learn more about customer preferences.

    Example 3: A medical researcher wants to know if a certain kidney disease affects one group of males more than other groups. The researcher collects information on 100 participants in one group and 100 participants in other groups, comparing the results to form a hypothesis about the disease. The results show one particular group experiences complications from the disease, but it’s not a definitive answer because of the sample size.

    Example 4: A doctor at a mental health facility notices a patient exhibits concerning behavior because of a mental health condition. To learn more, the doctor places the patient under direct observation, documenting the patient’s response to certain stimuli like food and light, their appearance and their level of aggression. Using this information, the doctor can research the condition and use the patient as a basis for a hypothesis about new symptoms for the condition.

    qualitative observations
    qualitative observations

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