The goal of qualitative data collection is to explore or explain a possible condition, problem, or phenomena. In qualitative methods, you are collecting data, just as you collect data with quantitative methods. However, in qualitative data collection, your questions are broad and open-ended within a focus group or elicitation interview setting, and the data you collect consists of words, text or even images that come from the voices and views of the participants. Where you may have calculated proportions and risks for your quantitative data collection, you use a process of creating codes, memos and themes to interpret and draw conclusions from your qualitative data.

Qualitative research begins with assumptions, a worldview, the possible use of theoretical lens, and the study of research problems inquiring into the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem.  To study this problem, qualitative researchers use an emerging qualitative approach to inquiry, the collection of data in a natural setting sensitive to the people and places under study, and the data analysis that is inductive and establishes patterns or themes.  The final written report or presentation includes the voices of participants, the reflexivity of the researcher, a complexity, description, and interpretation of the problem and it extends the literature or signals a call to action. 

John Creswell (2007)

To learn about the elicitation or key informant interviews done for the Native CARS study, go to the next section.