Limitations of qualitative research

Qualitative research does not pick out small differences quite as well as large-scale quantitative research. Nevertheless, qualitative research can detect minor problems that are not apparent in a quantitative study. Another limitation is that qualitative studies do not provide samples that are representative of the target population of the research. In terms of the sort of data produced, small sample size and free-flowing discussion can lead qualitative research projects along many different avenues of thought. Influential or dominant characters within a discussion group can also lead the group off on tangential discussions or bias the 'group view'. There is also the problem of the discussion leader's competence. The usefulness of qualitative research depends very much on the skills of the researcher.

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