In order to gain in-depth knowledge of underlying reasons and motivations, qualitative research is conducted. However, qualitative research also has limitations. In my previous article, I discussed the limitations of the quantitative research approach. In this paper, I would be discussing the limitations with respect to qualitative research.
Time consuming process
The major drawback associated with qualitative cultural analysis is that this process is time-consuming. The second potential problem with qualitative research is that a particular problem could go unnoticed (Bowen 2006). Also, the interpretations of researchers are limited. Personal experience and knowledge influence the observations and conclusions related to the research problem.
For example, if the interview was conducted with 15 teachers from 5 different schools on the effect of digital integration in the classroom teaching-learning process on the learning/understanding level of Class 9 students. Data collection will be time-consuming as it will be collected based on appointment dates fixed with individual respondents.
The entire process thus might take several weeks or months. Besides, the varied perspectives recorded will be analyzed based on the limited understanding of the researcher. Also, since qualitative study delves into personal interaction for data collection, often discussion tends to deviate from the main issue to be studied.
No result verification in qualitative research
As qualitative research is mostly open-ended, the participants have more control over the content of the data collected. So the researcher is not able to verify the results objectively against the scenarios stated by the respondents.
For example, quantitative data like salary/compensation and years of experience is verified from school records. However, it is difficult to verify qualitative information like teachers’ perception of interactive classroom sessions or their effects on teenage students.
Labour intensive approach
The qualitative study requires a labour intensive analysis process such as categorization, recoding, etc (Elo & Kyngäs 2008). Similarly, qualitative research requires well-experienced researchers to obtain the targeted data from the group of respondents. Also, different conclusions are derived based on the same information depending on the personal characteristics of the researcher (Maxwell 2005).
Difficult to investigate causality
Researchers find it difficult to investigate causality between different research phenomena. Qualitative research is a little complex to explain the difference in the quality and quantity of information obtained from different respondents and arriving at non-consistent conclusions (Barbour 2000).
For example, to determine if human development is dependent on the level of education, interview or focus group data is collected from the residents of Uttar Pradesh. It is difficult to determine the effect, owing to varied perspectives which is difficult to gauge. It is due to the lack of statistical results, which would have made the procedure more systematic.
The qualitative study requires thoughtful planning to ensure the obtained results accurately. There is no way to analyze the qualitative data mathematically. This type of research is based more on opinion and judgment rather than the results. All the qualitative studies are unique in themselves so it is difficult to replicate.
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