Qualitative Research is a process of gathering data that has specific meaning to the researcher. Qualitative research usually relies on data gathered from first-hand observations, interviews, surveys, focus groups, questionnaires, recordings made in natural environments, documents, or artifacts. The data collected are usually qualitative. Qualitative data cannot be quantified, although some quantitative methods may be applied for research purposes. Quantitative methods may also provide a useful input to the development of qualitative projects.
It is sometimes difficult to determine whether the data that is gathered have strong qualitative properties, because the data collection depends on the quality of the understanding of the participants. In Qualitative Research projects, it is very important for the researchers to understand what their participants really think. In most cases, qualitative research cannot determine or measure the existence and/or significance of a particular phenomenon. Some researchers use different methodologies to collect quantitative data and compare them with what the qualitative researchers already have.
In addition, qualitative researchers use case studies for in-depth understanding of a social reality. For example, a qualitative researcher cannot determine the occurrence and importance of a particular event if she has not been there to experience it. Case studies are therefore very important for qualitative researchers use as reference materials. A case study provides a vivid picture of what occurred in real time, allowing the quantitative data to verify or corroborate the qualitative data.