What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is about exploring issues, understanding phenomena, and answering questions by analyzing and making sense of unstructured data. From health studies, to academic, market and policy research; qualitative research happens in nearly every workplace and study environment, nearly every day.

Focus groups, in-depth interviews, content analysis, ethnography, evaluation and semiotics are among the many approaches that are used, but qualitative research in its most basic form involves the analysis of any unstructured data, including: open-ended survey responses, literature reviews, interviews, audio recordings, videos, pictures, social media and web pages.

Want to learn more about qualitative research?

Watch a video, The Value of Qualitative Research, to understand what qualitative research is, the differences between qualitative and quantitative research, and the goals, types of data and overall process of conducting a qualitative research study.

What is qualitative research software?

Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) software like NVivo, helps people to manage, shape and make sense of unstructured information. It doesn't do the thinking for you; it provides a workspace and tools to enable you to easily work through your information.

With tools for classifying, sorting and arranging information, qualitative data analysis (QDA) software speeds up your research process and provides you with more time to analyze your materials, identify themes, glean insight and develop meaningful, evidence based conclusions.

More about NVivo


"NVivo plays a key role in getting more qualitative research published as it facilitates a rigorous analysis. It's not that manual analysis isn't rigorous, but it is more difficult to demonstrate rigor analyzing data manually."


Dr. Anthony Onwuegbuzie

Sam Houston State University



Discover how to transform the way you analyze information and deliver research with NVivo.


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Available 29th September 2015.


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