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Three main types of qualitative research methods were used within the EQUIP programme of work and these form the focus of this chapter: in-depth interviews, focus groups and observations. Throughout the chapter, the authors look at allied publications resulting from EQUIP as a way of providing examples of real life research to support the description of the methodological approaches provided. This chapter presents the three types of qualitative research methods, discusses the factors that influence the choice of research method, and gives practical advice on how to utilise qualitative research methods.
This chapter provides an explanation of what qualitative data is, and gives examples of different analysis methods and the factors that influence how and why they are chosen. Analysing data by looking for common themes (known as thematic analysis) is one of the most common ways in which researchers approach data they have gathered. There are various criticisms levelled at qualitative analysis including issues relating to validity, reliability and credibility. Researchers can address these through a range of methods including triangulation of data, member validation, careful sampling and transparency of approach.