Qualitatively-oriented research employs several methodologies. Among these methodologies, ethnography, case studies, and narrative inquires are frequently used by researchers who want to generate in-depth knowledge of the phenomnon they study.
To begin with ethnography, it is one of the dominant methodologies in anthropological research. It has variants such as institutional anthropolgy. It focuses on understanding the culture or subcultures of a group, an organization, a community, or a clan. an institutional anthropology, for example, examines the culure of the institution. It depicts the dominant patterns that exist in terms of rituals, codes, procedures, and work hours. For instance, the book entitled Teachers Versus Technocrats: An Educational Innovation in Anthropological Perspective by Harry F. Wolcott is a good example of an ethnographic study. The use of observations and interviews are quite important in this methodology. Two books which offer introductory materials include the following:
Kendall, Gavin and Wickha,Gary. 2001. Understanding Culture: Cultural Studies, Orde and Ordering. Sage Publications.
Gary, Ann. 2003.Research Practtice for Cultural Studies. Sage Publications.
A case study methodology, like the ethnographic study, is orientated to examining phenomena or people or social realities. Its approach is to single out a particular individual or group from a large population and to examine that individual or group in-depth. The individual or group is a case to be examined to shed light on the efforts to understand general tendencies and trends. The selection of the case depends on the purpose of the research. The case might represent something typical or representative.
Narrative inquiry is another qualitatively-oriented methodology. Like case study, narrative inquiry focuses on either an individual or a group. Narrative study relies on data gathered through narraive interviews. Researchers engage their informants in a lengthy interviews to gather a pile of information about the individual or group. As the name indicates, narrative inquiry intends to understand the lived stories of an individual or a group. It is premised in the belif that lived stories have powerful information to tell about the trajectories of individuals and their social dynamics.