Qualitative research is basically the use of interviews or the observation of behavior in a group of people to determine what the group's needs are so that the organizations can develop products that will meet these needs. Qualitative researchers use a variety of methods in their research to collect data that is qualitative. Qualitative researchers are interested in how people from different types of organizations view a given set of issues or problem, how employees and workers view work, learning, the environment, production, customer service, and waste management.
Qualitative research uses quantitative data acquired from the qualitative researcher from first hand observation, interviews, surveys, focus groups, questionnaires, diary and participant observation. The quantitative data are normally non-numeric. Some examples include case studies, which involve case studies of a specific situation. Qualitative researchers rely mainly on non-parametric statistics such as survey studies, qualitative methodologies such as the MAST program ( Module for the Study of Qualitative Research) and theory-based methods such as Qualitative Theory Based Research (TBT).
There is no problem using qualitative data because they are both descriptive and predictive. For example, data on qualitative research often reflects what people think, rather than what they actually do. However, sometimes it can be very difficult to analyze quantitative data from qualitative data because of the incompleteness, or otherwise high subjectivity, of the qualitative data. Qualitative researchers have to make a very good use of statistical analysis tools such as sampling techniques and multivariate analysis to correct for sample effects and to ensure that the data presented are consistent with prior expectations.