In general, qualitative research generates rich, detailed and valid process data that contribute to the in-depth understanding of a context. Quantitative research, on the other hand, generates reliable population-based and generalizable data that is suited to establishing cause-and-effect relationships. The decision of whether to choose a quantitative or a qualitative design is ultimately a philosophical question. Which methods to choose will depend on the nature of the project, the type of information needed the context of the study and the availability of resources (time, money, and human).
Just as there are various philosophical perspectives which can inform qualitative research, so there are various qualitative research methods. A research method is a strategy of inquiry which moves from the underlying philosophical assumptions to research design and data collection. The choice of research method influences the way in which the researcher collects data. Specific research methods also imply different skills, assumptions and research practices. The four research methods that will be discussed here are action research, case study research, ethnography and grounded theory - for more detail see Myers (2009) .