PUB 550 Describe three methods for qualitative data collection and discuss an example of when each method would be used

PUB 550 Describe three methods for qualitative data collection and discuss an example of when each method would be used

PUB 550 Describe three methods for qualitative data collection and discuss an example of when each method would be used

The qualitative approach to data collection is observation. As Busetto et al. (2020) describe, the method involves using the five senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. However, sight and hearing are the most commonly applied in medical research. Additionally, observation can be participant or non-participant, with the latter often used in ethnographic studies, where researchers avoid influencing or interrupting the research settings. In this regard, observation data collection approaches are best suited for studies requiring interaction with the participants. Reducing the distance between the observer and the subjects leads to enriched data and less participant bias.

Secondly, focus groups are often incorporated when collecting qualitative data. In such a case, Busetto et al. (2020) state that the method involves a group of participants employed in exploring their expertise and experiences, such as an explanation of people’s behaviors, including the “why” and “how” of such conduct. In most cases, the focus groups constitute six to eight individuals who offer their opinions on a subject. The approach can be used as a secondary approach in developing more in-depth themes or issues from a more significant qualitative result and when collecting data to build a survey. The emphasis is on less biased data.

Thirdly, semi-structured interviews assist researchers in collecting qualitative data, adding insights to a phenomenon of interest. Busetto et al. (2020) state that such approaches are applied in collecting a person’s subjective experiences, including attitudes, values, opinions, and motivations. Additionally, semi-structured and open-ended questionnaires are more suitable when collecting qualitative data, owing to their flexibility. Semi-structured interviews apply when a researcher wants to explore a participant’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs related to a given topic. As highlighted, such subjective data is more suitable when a person wants to delve more deeply into the questions, which may often be sensitive or complex.


Busetto, L., Wick, W., & Gumbinger, C. (2020). How to use and assess qualitative research methods. Neurological Research and Practice2(1), 1-10.

The three most common methods for qualitative data would be focus groups, in depth interviews and participant observations. Each method has a distinctive purpose and is used for different methods. “The focus group approach is a qualitative method to collect the data on the selected topic with a structured and focused discussion in a small group of people.”(manju, 2020) Focus groups are most used to help other methods of data collection. Its main purpose is to provide in-depth information during a short term period. “In-depth interviewing is a qualitative research technique that involves conducting intensive individual interviews with a small number of respondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program, or situation.” (Boyce, 2006) Interviews are the most common method used for a lot of data collection. In-depth interviews provide the possibility to capture rich, descriptive records about how human beings assume and behave, and unfold complicated approaches. “Participant observation (PO) is a research methodology where the researcher is immersed in the day-to-day activities of the participants. The objective is usually to record conduct under the widest range of possible settings.”(Utoronto) 


Manju Gundumogula, M. Gundumogula. Importance of Focus Groups in Qualitative Research. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IJHSS), Center for Promoting Ideas (CPI), USA, 2020, 8 (11), pp.299-302. ff10.24940/theijhss/2020/v8/i11/HS2011-082ff. Ffhal-03126126f

Boyce, C., & Neale, P. (2006). Monitoring and Evaluation -2 CONDUCTING IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS: A Guide for Designing and Conducting In-Depth Interviews for EvaluationInput.

Participant Observation | Human Ethics Principles. (n.d.).

Click here to ORDER an A++ paper from our Verified MASTERS and DOCTORATE WRITERS PUB 550 Describe three methods for qualitative data collection and discuss an example of when each method would be used:

The Qualitative Research Methods (n.d.) mentions that there are three qualitative data collection methods include participant’s observation, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. Participant observations involves the researcher to actively engage in the participant activities in the environment. Through observation and involvement, the researcher identifies and notes down the information of interest. For example, if the researcher needs information on a foreign language, he may enroll in such a class, complete assignments, attend field trips, interview the students, etc., to obtain data.

 A Focus group entails the researcher carefully selecting individuals from a population and exploring how the people think and behave by asking why, how, and what questions. For example, a focus group of parents could be selected to discuss issues affecting children. The parents could share problems they have identified facing children and what they have done to solve them.

In-depth interviews involves conducting interviews by asking questions to the selected individuals to learn their perspectives on issues, ideas, programs, and situations. For example, the method could be applied in a healthcare setting or the managers could ask the microsystem leaders about their experiences and expectations on a given program. In this case, they will explain how they perceive the given issues, such as change resulting from their involvement in the program.


Qualitative Research Methods: A Data Collector’s Field Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from FAMILY HEALTH INTERNATIONAL:

The composition of a focus group needs great care to get the best quality of discussion. There is no ‘best’ solution to group composition, and group mix will always impact on the data, according to things such as the mix of ages, sexes and social professional statuses of the participants. What is important is that the researcher gives due consideration to the impact of group mix (eg, how the group may interact with each other) before the focus group proceeds.

Interaction is key to a successful focus group. Sometimes this means a pre-existing group interacts best for research purposes, and sometimes stranger groups. Pre-existing groups may be easier to recruit, have shared experiences and enjoy a comfort and familiarity which facilitates discussion or the ability to challenge each other comfortably. In health settings, pre-existing groups can overcome issues relating to disclosure of potentially stigmatising status which people may find uncomfortable in stranger groups (conversely there may be situations where disclosure is more comfortable in stranger groups). In other research projects it may be decided that stranger groups will be able to speak more freely without fear of repercussion, and challenges to other participants may be more challenging and probing, leading to richer data.


Gill, P., Stewart, K., Treasure, E. et al. Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. Br Dent J 204, 291–295 (2008).

One of the most popular qualitative data collecting techniques is conducting interviews, which is a wonderful strategy when you need to obtain highly individualized data. Open-ended questions that enable you to acquire a rich, comprehensive background are great for informal, conversational interviews. 

Participants can answer freely and in-depth on open-ended surveys and questionnaires rather than selecting from a predetermined list of options like, how do you see your future? . Then, instead of just offering individuals a predetermined list of replies to choose from, you would give them the opportunity to respond narratively. 

Focus groups are conducted in a group setting, unlike interviews, which are conducted individually. When scheduling one-on-one interviews is too time- or labor-intensive, you could employ a focus group. They are useful for gathering information about a particular population as well. Focus groups are a fantastic option, for instance, if you want to allow individuals to express their opinions on a new product or gather input on a new marketing campaign from a variety of demographically comparable people in your target market. 


Overview of Qualitative Methods and Analytic Techniques. Common Qualitative Methods. Retrieved from: 

In qualitative research the focuses are on gaining relevant information through observational, open-ended and communication methods. According to Statswork,(2019) “Data gathered during qualitative research can be collected in many ways, some common methods researcher uses are interviews, observation and surveys.” Interviewing is the most optimal method of qualitative data as the questions are steered by the researcher to gain insight about the knowledge or perception surrounding the topic of choice, interviews can be conducted in two ways such as : structured or unstructured. The t interviews can be informal and those are dependent upon experiences , perspectives and individual beliefs. Next is observation, this method includes the researcher observing the behavior of the individual and recording how they interact and communicate with each other. In observation there are two main  methods used : Covert and Overt. In convert method the researcher / server keeps his purpose concealed, without letting anybody know that they are conducting the observation and in overt method , everyone aware of them being observed. Lastly surveys, this method is one of the most common used to gather data and develop an informed hypothesis or conclusion. Surveys are assumed to be more beneficial when used for obtaining information by asking open-ended questions, which makes the individual render their point of view or opinion over a certain topic or situation. Furthermore, these can be divided into two types which are a paper survey and online survey. All the qualitative research methods can essentially assist researchers to access the thoughts and feelings of research participants , leading to greater outcomes (Sutton & Austin,2015)


Statswork(2019). Methods used for qualitative Data Collection. Retrieved from

Sutton, J., & Austin, Z. (2015). Qualitative Research: Data Collection, Analysis, and Management. The Canadian journal of hospital pharmacy68(3), 226–231.