A Guide to Qualitative Research Methodologies In a Master Dissertation


Research methodology refers to the “how” question of a master’s dissertation. It explains how you will reach the desired conclusion and answer research questions. Different kinds of research employ different research methodologies. For example, the methods used in a qualitative master’s dissertation are far different from a quantitative dissertation. Both have different ways of gathering and analysing data.

As the article title suggests, in today’s post, we will explore qualitative research methodologies. It means we will know about different methods that can be used to reach the “how” question. So, let’s get started with the topic straight away and discuss each methodology one by one.

Qualitative research methodologies used in a master’s dissertation

A qualitative study is a study focused on collecting data related to human behaviour and human perception of something. So, there are different methods used in this study to collect the relevant data. The results of these research methodologies are always non-numeric. It means the results are in the form of words, expressions, or statements. Nevertheless, a brief description of the top methodologies often used in qualitative research is as follows:

1. One-on-One interview methodology

The first and the most widely used qualitative research methodology is known as a one-on-one interview. It is a type of conversation which involves only two people. One is called the interviewer, and the other is called the interviewee. The interviewer asks the interviewee some questions, and he answers them to the best of his knowledge. This is how this study goes on. Based on the way of conducting research using this methodology, there are three types of it. The three types are structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews.

2. Focus group research method

The next qualitative research methodology is similar to interviews. It is similar in the way both studies are conducted. In both research methodologies, the researcher asks questions. But in the interview technique, the researcher asks questions from a single respondent. On the other hand, in focus group methodology, the respondents are in the form of a group. The group can be of 4 to 8 people. In this method, the researcher asks a question, and the respondents give an answer to that question as per their understanding or perception. This is how he collects the data and answers the “how” question. However, if you do not know how to collect data using this method, you can ask for help from any masters dissertation help service.

3. Ethnographic research method

The next research methodology is known as ethnographic research. This method is used where an in-depth analysis of the research participants is required. The ethnographic methodology is a kind of observational study. However, it is not like other observational research methodologies. This methodology asks the researcher to study the research participants or respondents in their natural environment. Hence, it is an in-situ study where the respondents are not observed in a lab or any other controlled environment.

4. Surveys and questionnaires methodology

The next research methodology used commonly in qualitative research is the method of collecting data through surveys and questionnaires. In surveys, the researcher asks different questions from the research participants and allows them to answer those questions based on their views about the problem. The questionnaire is also the same technique. Depending on the question type in these research methodologies, these can be open-ended or closed-ended. Open-ended surveys allow the respondent to answer whatever he wants. On the other hand, closed-ended questionnaires have some options, and the respondent has to select an answer only from those options.

5. Qualitative observational research methodology

Qualitative observation is another research methodology based on the principle of observation. However, this kind of observation is different from ethnographic methodology. Using this methodology, the researcher can observe the research participants or respondents in a controlled environment, e.g., a lab. This kind of observation is mainly used to identify the differences in a population and propose solutions to those. This observation does not involve measurements. It just involves a note down of the characteristics.

6. Case study research methodology

Lastly, there is the case study research methodology. It is one of the least used research methodologies in qualitative research. Still, it is a research methodology. This method is used mostly in the field of education and social sciences. A case study involves a research problem which is specific to a discipline or an organisation. This method allows the researcher to dive deeper into the problem and solve it by looking at it from different angles and perspectives.


In this guidepost, we have discussed the top qualitative research methodologies. The interview, survey, and observation are the three top methodologies used mostly. However, others are also important. Hence, learn about all of them by reading the information given above. Good luck with your qualitative research.