Qualitative research focuses on collecting data and observations related to understanding the nature of concepts and phenomena and how and why things occur. Qualitative research is still empirical, but it does not involve collecting quantitative or numerical data. It provides context rich data, examines processes, and explores possible reasons for outcomes. Qualitative research is an underused method in research on agriculture, food systems, nutrition, and health, as seen through IMMANA's Evidence and Gap Map. Below you will find a variety of resources and guidance for qualitative data collection.
Research manuals and guidance
- Checklist for use of qualitative methods and approaches: This checklist from USAID covers basic characteristics of good qualitative methods.
- Introduction to qualitative research methodology: This manual from UKAID is designed for qualitative researchers working in low- and middle-income countries.
- Introduction to qualitative data and methods for collection and analysis in food security assessments: This technical guidance documents from WFP VAM introduces qualitative data and methods for collecting and analysing data through food security assessment.
- Qualitative research methods: a data collector's field guide: This free field guide from USAID focuses on qualitative data collection for health research.
- Understanding people's perspectives on identification: a qualitative research toolkit: This toolkit from the World Bank synthesizes core methods, tools, and good practices for qualitative research in social science. It includes practical experiences from conducting qualitative research in the global South.
Types of qualitative research methods
- Key informant interviews
- Key informant interviews: This training document prepared by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research introduces key informant interviews and provides detailed information on how to plan and carry out interviews.
- Focus groups
- Data collection methods for program evaluation: focus groups: This brief from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a basic overview of focus groups, when to use them, how to plan and conduct them, and the related advantages and disadvantages.
- Understanding people's perspectives on identification: a qualitative research toolkit: This toolkit from the World Bank includes a section dedicated to good practices for designing focus groups.
- Semi-structured interviews
- Conducting semi-structure interviews: This guidance document from OXFAM reviews concepts and methods for conducting semi-structured interviews, as well as problems that may arise during interviews and additional resources.
- Interview protocol design - This website from Imperial College London includes recommendations for creating interview protocols for both structured and semi-structured interviews.
- Preparing for one-on-one qualitative interviews: designing and conducting the interview: This guide from the University of Florida explains types of qualitative interviews (including semi-structured and in-depth), as well as how to prepare for and conduct interviews.
- Semi-structured interviews: This web page from FAO briefly introduces semi-structured interviews as a tool for participatory assessment, including their purpose, benefits, use, and related precautions.
Examples of qualitative research tools and guides
- Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) guides and instruments: This website contains the qualitative (and quantitative) tools used for each version of WEAI, including detailed guides and qualitative protocols.