Thursday, May 23, 2013

BOOK | Qualitative Research : Advantage of this Paradigm

Qualitative research emphasizes study and observation of phenomena using techniques like case study, personal experience, introspection, etc. which facilitates in-depth probing of research data. In other words, qualitative captures the human-ness of the informants. The researcher is able to gather details like perceptions, thoughts, etc. without reducing them to mere numerical variables. Qualitative studies' subjects such as people and places are taken holistically. More than anything else, qualitative perspective enables researchers to know what is behind human behaviour and why such is happening.

One of the many things that qualitative research attempts to understand using available methodologies is culture. As culture is the conglomeration of beliefs, norms, traditions, rituals, etc. of a particular social group, it makes the topic a rich area for research. In the Philippines, qualitative paradigm is apt to gage Filipino Communicative Behaviour. One of the tenets to this Filipino culture is ambiguity or the high cultural context. 

Filipinos are known for being ambiguous that foreigners are at loss when communicating with Filipinos. A good example of this is when someone asks a Filipino if he is hungry, an expected answer would be "no" when in fact he is hungry. In a recent forum held by Professor Mark Curry from South Korea, he quipped that whenever someone would open the door and come in while in the discussion is already in progress, he couldn't help but wonder why Filipinos come late for a meeting.

Perhaps it is irritating to some cultures but in a Filipino context, the late arrivals have become a statement saying "I can be late. It's okay." And only qualitative paradigm can capture the logic behind this cultural differences.

Today, qualitative research has been so popular even political campaigns and corporate brands have been evaluated and studies using qualitative techniques. Recently we have seen a surge of TV ads showing this Filipino politicians and from a qualitative perspective, we can understand how these TV ads are influencing voters in the upcoming election. In the end, qualitative research becomes an advantage by letting us know who we really are as human beings.


From my old files, Qualitative Research 100, February 6, 2007

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