Qualitative research helps us build mental models about the contexts, problems, and motivations our products and designs must account for. It helps us understand what is important at a high level—what matters to people and how they understand their relationship to the world.
The questions are more open-ended. When we do qualitative research, we're trying to synthesize a narrative about our subject. It's closer to Sensemaking MOC than quantitative methods: it builds a perspective based on the available evidence that can later be measured through quantitative methods.
A strong foundation of qualitative research can help us have a better intuition about people and culture.
- Inductive reasoning develops new hypotheses based on limited available data.
- Abductive reasoning infers explanation from observation
- Questions about the sample size for qualitative research may indicate trust concerns
Ladner, Sam. Mixed Methods: A Short Guide to Applied Mixed Methods Research. Sam Ladner, 2019.
Levin, Alec. “StAtIsTiCaL SIgNiFiCaNcE.” Known Unknowns (blog). Accessed October 12, 2020. https://knownunknowns.substack.com/p/statistical-significance.
Schuler, Greg. “Getting Big Ideas Out of Small Numbers.” Cooper (blog), April 8, 2020. https://www.cooper.com/journal/2013/05/getting-big-ideas-out-of-small-research/.