Chapter 17: Qualitative Methods of Data Collection

Quizzes give you the chance to test your knowledge through multiple choice questions, short answers, matching activities and other revision tools.

1. Critique the wording and format of the following topic guide which a researcher plans to use with qualified nurses / midwives and where appropriate, suggest alternatives:

  1. Did you become a nurse / midwife because you want to care for people?
  2. Do you have relatives who are nurses / midwives?
  3. What did you think the role of a nurse / midwife involved and has it turned out to be as you expected?
  4. Caring for sick people can be stressful and upsetting. Were you prepared for this?
  5. What has been the most distressing aspect of working as a nurse / midwife?


  1. Not a good opening question as may lead to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. It is also a leading question as it assumes caring for people was likely to have been an influential factor. A better alternative could be: ‘can you tell me about the reasons why you decided to come a nurse  / midwife’
  1. May lead to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. Could be used as a probing question after the question above has been asked.  
  1. A muddled question which should be split into two separate questions.
  2.  A closed and leading question. A better alternative could be ‘can you tell me what it’s like caring for sick people’ and then follow with probing questions to establish if they felt adequately prepared for the aspects of the role they described.  


2. Suggest four ground rules to be agreed by participants before a focus group commences:

  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Allowing each other to have their say
  • Trying not to speak over each other
  • Acknowledging the differing views of others

3. Explain the following:            Non-participant observation

                                                  Participant observation

                                                  Covert observation

                                                  Overt observation

Non-participant observation:  A method of data collection whereby the researcher observes a group and does not participate in group activities during episodes of data collection.

Participant observation: A method of data collection whereby the researcher observes a group whilst at the same time participating in the group’s activities.

Covert observation: Observation carried out when participants do not know that they are being observed.

Overt observation: Observation carried out when participants are fully aware that they are being observed.