QUALITATIVE RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS: There are many types of qualitative research tools; however, the one you choose must go according to our research objectives. To choose the proper one or ones you must answer the following questions: What are you really planning to find out? How are you going to observe the target population? What´s the best tool to observe certain variables or indicators? Among the most used instruments in research are the observation, the survey and the interview (Eladio, 2006). However, from these ones the observation, and the interview are the ones that are used in a qualitative investigation. There are others like: history or life stories, discussion groups, in-depth interviews, case study, and focus group that are used in a qualitative research investigation.
When the topic and the objectives are not well define we can always carry out a direct observation. It is called direct observation because you write down information of a phenomenon or event that is taking place at that very moment. After a while of observing you might have a better idea of the research problem and start writing the topic, research objectives, questions, or hypothesis of actin or change if you need them. The direct observation begins with the first interaction the researcher has with the phenomenon to be studied. It is divided in structured and unstructured observation. The difference between them is that structured observation is carried out with an observation guide and it is nonparticipant. However, an unstructured observation does not need an observation guide and can be participant or nonparticipant.
To carry out a structured observation you must first select the variables or indicators you are about to observe. Take into account the participants, behavior, and environment where it will take place as well as any physical movements or symbols that are important to be taken into account. The observation notes must be compared periodically to check their reliability (Scribano & Zacarias, 2013). Keep in mind that you might need a close or open observation notes. The following chart gives you a better idea of open observation notes you might consider using