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Table 3. Approaches in qualitative researchOrigin Broad term for all qualitative Symbolic interactionism Various schools of Cultural anthropologyresearch and may have its origins and social sciences philosophy in any of the other disciplinesAims Description of the issue under Generation of theory from the data Description/interpretation/ Direct description of astudy Modification/extension of existing understanding/meaning of group, culture or communitytheory the lived experience/ phenomenon under studySample Purposive/convenience Initial sampling of people able to give Purposive Purposive, non-probability, information on the topic. This is followed criterion-basedby theoretical sampling where further sampling is guided by the analysis and emerging theoryData Interviews often semi-structured Interviews, participant observation, Unstructured, formal, Observation, interviews and collection diaries and other documents, multiple interviews, examination of documents inresearcher’s own experience written texts, e.g. diaries the fieldData Generic data analysis tools, Constant, comparative analysis – data Data analysis tools vary Description, analysis andanalysis e.g. Miles and Huberman (1994) collection and analysis are linked from depending on school of interpretation of the culturethe beginning of the research philosophy adopted Findings Description of the phenomenon Description of the emergent theory, Description/interpretation The culture as experienced byunder study incorporating the cultural processes of the phenomenon under its members is presentedand meanings studyPhenomenology/ Generic qualitative research Grounded theory hermeneutics Ethnography
that ethical principles are being adhered to and that participants are protected from potential sources of harm (Burns and Grove, 1999). It is important to note that within qualitative research, ethical issues often arise at different stages in the study and may be discussed when they occur rather than under a specific heading.Data collectionIn a qualitative study any number of strategies can be adopted when collecting data, including non-numerical questionnaires with open-ended questions, interviews (semi-structured and unstructured), participant observation, written texts such as diaries or emails, and historical or contemporary documents. The researcher should outline the rationale for the chosen method of data collection and offer sufficient information of the process. If using a particular approach, such as grounded theory, it should be evident from the discussion that the researcher has adhered to the processes inherent in the methodology (Table 3).Interviews are by far the most common method of data collection and are mainly either semi-structured or unstructured (Holloway and Wheeler, 2002). If a semi-structured interview format is selected it should be evident how the themes or questions were derived. In unstructured interviews the initial opening question should be presented and clearly linked to the purpose of the study. Interviews