Define Qualitative research and explain 2 major ways in which it differs from Quantitative research. 2) To what extent does qualitative research allow to achieve (or not) reliability, validity, and representativeness in their study of society? 3) Using specific examples, explain 2 fundamental differences between post-positivism and social constructivism as interpretive frameworks for qualitative research.


The exam will consist of five essay questions. Each answer should be about one page long, double spaced. You will have 120 minutes (2 hours) to complete the exam.

1) Define Qualitative research and explain 2 major ways in which it differs from Quantitative research.
2) To what extent does qualitative research allow to achieve (or not) reliability, validity, and representativeness in their study of society?
3) Using specific examples, explain 2 fundamental differences between post-positivism and social constructivism as interpretive frameworks for qualitative research.
4) You decide to conduct a qualitative research of a high school football team, how would a narrative and phenomenological approach differ? Which one would you rather choose and why?
5) You are doing a Qualitative research project on women’s under representation in high status job and you have the opportunity to interview a woman who has a high level managerial position. Build an interview guide of 13 questions, and provide clear explanation how you created it (How you choose the questions and how you order them)

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Define Qualitative research and explain 2 major ways in which it differs from Quantitative research. 2) To what extent does qualitative research allow to achieve (or not) reliability, validity, and representativeness in their study of society? 3) Using specific examples, explain 2 fundamental differences between post-positivism and social constructivism as interpretive frameworks for qualitative research.
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Qualitative Research: An Exploration of Methodological Approaches and Interpretive Frameworks


Qualitative research plays a pivotal role in understanding the complexities of human experiences and social phenomena. It involves a systematic exploration of subjective meanings and interpretations through a variety of methods such as interviews, observations, and textual analysis. This essay aims to delve into the nature of qualitative research and highlight its distinctions from quantitative research. Additionally, it will discuss the extent to which qualitative research can achieve reliability, validity, and representativeness in the study of society. Furthermore, it will examine two interpretive frameworks—post-positivism and social constructivism—and illustrate their fundamental differences. Finally, it will explore the nuances between a narrative and phenomenological approach when researching a high school football team and provide insight into the preferred choice.

 Defining Qualitative Research and its Distinctions from Quantitative Research

Qualitative research focuses on understanding and interpreting subjective experiences, meanings, and social phenomena in their natural settings. It emphasizes context, complexity, and the richness of human experiences (Ahmad et al., 2019). In contrast, quantitative research involves the collection and analysis of numerical data to identify patterns, correlations, and statistical relationships. Two major ways in which qualitative research differs from quantitative research are:

  1. a) Data Collection and Analysis: Qualitative research employs methods such as interviews, observations, and textual analysis to gather rich, descriptive data. It emphasizes the exploration of individual perspectives and the context in which the phenomena occur. Conversely, quantitative research primarily relies on structured surveys, experiments, and statistical analysis to generate numerical data that can be subjected to statistical inference.
  2. b) Emphasis on Subjectivity and Context: Qualitative research acknowledges the subjective nature of reality and focuses on understanding the diverse meanings individuals attach to their experiences. It places importance on the social and cultural context in which phenomena occur. On the other hand, quantitative research aims to uncover objective truths through standardized measurements and generalizable findings, often overlooking the nuances of subjective experiences.

Reliability, Validity, and Representativeness in Qualitative Research

Reliability, validity, and representativeness are key considerations in research. While qualitative research may face challenges in achieving these elements compared to quantitative research, it is not devoid of them.

  1. a) Reliability: In qualitative research, achieving reliability refers to the consistency and dependability of the findings. While qualitative research may not rely on statistical measures of reliability, it can enhance reliability through transparency in research design, data collection, and analysis. Techniques such as triangulation, member checking, and prolonged engagement with participants can strengthen the reliability of qualitative findings.
  2. b) Validity: Qualitative research aims to achieve validity by ensuring that the interpretations and conclusions drawn are credible and trustworthy. Strategies such as thick description, reflexivity, and peer debriefing can enhance the validity of qualitative research. Researchers should engage in reflexivity, acknowledging their biases and preconceptions, to ensure the credibility of their interpretations.
  3. c) Representativeness: While qualitative research typically does not aim for statistical representativeness, it seeks to achieve theoretical representativeness by providing rich insights and in-depth understanding of specific social contexts or groups. Researchers can employ purposeful sampling techniques such as maximum variation or snowball sampling to ensure diversity and depth in their participant selection, thereby enhancing the representativeness of their findings within the studied context.

Post-Positivism and Social Constructivism: Interpretive Frameworks in Qualitative Research

Post-positivism and social constructivism represent distinct interpretive frameworks within qualitative research, shaping the way researchers approach knowledge and reality.

  1. a) Post-Positivism: Post-positivism emphasizes the objective pursuit of knowledge, acknowledging that researchers’ biases and subjectivities can influence their interpretations. It recognizes the existence of an external reality that can be objectively observed and measured. Post-positivists aim to minimize bias through rigorous research design, systematic data collection, and logical reasoning to develop generalized explanations and theories.
  2. b) Social Constructivism: Social constructivism asserts that reality is socially constructed through the meanings and interpretations individuals assign to their experiences. It emphasizes the role of language, culture, and social interactions in shaping these constructions. Social constructivists value the diverse perspectives of participants, often employing interpretive and narrative methods to understand the complexities of human experiences and social phenomena.

 Narrative and Phenomenological Approaches: Understanding a High School Football Team

When conducting a qualitative research study on a high school football team, both a narrative and phenomenological approach offer unique insights, but their focus differs.

The narrative approach focuses on individuals’ personal stories and experiences within the context of the football team (Ntinda, 2018). It aims to explore the lived experiences, challenges, and triumphs of players, coaches, and other stakeholders. This approach provides a rich understanding of individual narratives and their interconnectedness within the team’s dynamics.

On the other hand, the phenomenological approach delves into the essence of the football experience, aiming to understand the underlying structures and meanings attributed to the phenomenon. It explores the players’ subjective experiences, perceptions, and motivations, shedding light on the unique phenomenological aspects of playing football.

Considering the research objective of understanding the holistic experiences of the high school football team, a narrative approach may be preferred(Shuffler et al., 2018). This approach allows for the exploration of individual perspectives, interactions, and the social dynamics within the team, offering a comprehensive understanding of the lived experiences and social interactions within the football context.

Interview Guide for Exploring Women’s Underrepresentation in High Status Jobs:

When designing an interview guide for exploring women’s underrepresentation in high-status jobs, the following 13 questions have been carefully selected and ordered to optimize the flow of the interview

  1. Can you share your personal experiences and journey towards achieving your current high-level managerial position?
  2. How would you describe the gender dynamics or challenges you faced in your career progression?
  3. In your opinion, what factors contribute to the underrepresentation of women in high-status jobs?
  4. Have you encountered any specific organizational or structural barriers that impede women’s career advancement?
  5. Can you provide examples of strategies or initiatives that have been effective in promoting gender diversity and women’s empowerment in the workplace?
  6. How do you navigate work-life balance and handle the expectations and pressures associated with your managerial position?
  7. What support systems, if any, have you found helpful in your career journey?
  8. Are there any cultural or societal factors that you believe influence women’s career choices and opportunities in high-status jobs?
  9. From your perspective, what actions or policies can organizations implement to address the underrepresentation of women in high-status roles?
  10. Have you witnessed any significant changes or progress in gender equality within your industry or organization over the years?
  11. How important is mentorship and sponsorship in supporting women’s career development and advancement?
  12. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to pursue high-status jobs in male-dominated fields?
  13. Is there anything else you would like to share regarding women’s representation in high-status jobs?

The order of the questions aims to establish rapport, gradually move from personal experiences to broader societal perspectives, and conclude with an opportunity for the interviewee to provide additional insights.


Qualitative research offers a unique lens to explore the complexities of human experiences and social phenomena. Through its focus on subjective meanings and contextual understanding, it provides valuable insights into the diverse perspectives and social dynamics at play. While qualitative research may differ from quantitative research in terms of data collection, analysis, and emphasis on subjectivity, it can still achieve reliability, validity, and representativeness. Interpretive frameworks such as post-positivism and social constructivism further shape the researcher’s approach to knowledge and reality. Finally, when conducting a qualitative research study, choosing the appropriate methodological approach, such as a narrative or phenomenological approach, depends on the research objective and the depth of understanding sought.


Ahmad, S., Wasim, S., Irfan, S., Gogoi, S., Srivastava, A., & Farheen, Z. (2019). Qualitative v/s. Quantitative Research- A Summarized Review. Journal of Evidence Based Medicine and Healthcare, 6(43), 2828–2832. 

Ntinda, K. (2018). Narrative research. In Springer eBooks (pp. 1–13). 

Shuffler, M. L., DiazGranados, D., Maynard, M. T., & Salas, E. (2018). Developing, sustaining, and maximizing team effectiveness: An integrative, dynamic perspective of team development interventions. The Academy of Management Annals, 12(2), 688–724. 


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