Qualitative research is an important research method that is employed in most academic fields. Unlike most of the research techniques, qualitative research aims at finding or gathering in-depth information about a subject that concerns human behavior and attitudes. In addition, qualitative research aims to answer the question of why and how; unlike most other research methods that seek to find the response of when, where, and what. In qualitative research, the structured and unstructured research methods determine the results of the research work and therefore the researcher should be concerned about the choice. To begin with, the unstructured method of research is the most appropriate in qualitative research since the questions and approach can be changed to suit the respondent (Glesne & Pushkin, 1992). Through this flexibility, the researcher can be able to obtain the appropriate response to the research questions.
Secondly, the unstructured method is better than the structured method of research in qualitative research since the researcher has limited restrictions. In any research work, most of the hypotheses set at the design stage of the research project do not apply in the real ground. Therefore, they have to be reviewed once the researcher notices that there is a problem and flexibility is a requirement. With an unstructured research method, the researcher can adjust the hypothesis and reflect through the research questions and data collection methods. The freedom of the researcher eliminates biases while promoting explicitness that is required in research.
As highlighted by Miles & Huberman (1994), the credibility of research is determined by the ability of the findings to reflect the actual condition on the ground. In unstructured research, the ability of the researcher to research as dictated by the ground situation enables the researcher to determine accurate information. This reflects the real-life situation and is important in answering the question of why and how.
The final project research will be qualitative research and therefore the sample size of the research is important to both the research and the quality of the research. The determination of the sample size is the process through which the researcher determines the number of observations that are necessary for any statistical sample of the research. In most research cases, studying the whole population is impossible or difficult and therefore the researcher uses the sample to make inferences about the research (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The expected value and the available resources determine the sample size of research and the research methods to be applied.
In qualitative research, the sample size will determine the quality of obtained results. Therefore, it is important to choose a sample size that reflects the population. In such a case, a sample size of about ten percent of the actual population is necessary to give meaningful data.
Secondly, a research project is an expensive undertaking, and therefore the price factor matters a lot for success in the project. Although the equality of the research data increases with the increase in sample size there is a limit to the sample that can be used and the cost is a major determining factor (Patton, 2002). In the qualitative research project, an appropriate population sample will fit into the research project budget without any constraints on the budget.
Thirdly, the researcher should choose the sample depending on his/ her statistical capabilities since the sample size would be important in the statistical analysis. The researcher would therefore choose a sample size depending on their abilities to carry out data analysis and the available tools and resources.
Let the population to be studied be 10 million residents of Illinois State who use mobile phones. An appropriate sample for such a proposed population would be all senior schoolteachers.
Journal entry on focusing and bounding the collection of data
In this topic, I have learned that in data collection the sample size determines the quality of the research work. In addition to this, there is a limit to the sample size that can be employed in the data collection process and this determines the bounding of the data collection process. The sample size of the research also determines the focus of the researcher and the period and the location to be covered. Focus in the research implies that the researcher carries out the data collection process with utmost accuracy to obtain the best result for the project. From this topic, I have realized that the accuracy of the results can be enhanced through the increase of the sample size but there is a limit to the extent that the researcher can use the population as a sample (Denzin, 1978).
If I was to carry out this qualitative research project the second time, I would consider the use of more explicit questions in the questioners. The use of explicit questions in qualitative research ensures that the results obtained from the survey reflect the minds of the respondents and their decisions. This will ensure that the project avoids issues encountered in the previous research by eliminating uncertainty. Finally, unlike other projects, this research project will be concerned with the accuracy of the research findings.
Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
Denzin, N. (1978). The research act: A theoretical introduction to sociological methods. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Glesne, C., & Peshkin, P. (1992). Becoming qualitative researches: An introduction. New York: Longman.
Huberman, A., & Miles, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis; an expanded sourcebook. California: Sage.
Patton, M. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). California: Sage Publications.