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Let me start off by telling you about my qualitiative study that I did for my MSc in Education. I had to conduct a research project, and I chose to focus on the group of learners I was working with at that time, who were adult learners who had decided to return to education after a period away from it. My research task tried to establish what it was that made these learners return to education after having an experience of compulsory education that was often very challenging or difficult. This research project was therefore primarily quantitative, because it focused on thoughts, words and feelings. I could not get the answers I was looking for through a simple questionnaire, and so I had to conduct semi-structured interviews with my cohort to capture their feelings and ideas about education and about why they had returned in their adult years.
Qualitative study is therefore one that focuses not on numbers and hard facts, but enters into the depths of human experiences and emotions. A qualitative study is one that normally focuses on a small number of participants, but what it lacks in breadth (number) it certainly makes up for in depth, because the profundity of the participants' responses yields a great deal of information.
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