by Kenneth Nehrbass Before you choose your qualitative method, you need to know your research question. Research questions tend to be a bit \u201cformulaic.\u201d This \u201cformula\u201d allows informed readers to quickly identify the kind of research method that is used in the study. You may have seen research questions that start with \u201cWhat factors impact\u2026?\u201d or \u201cWhat are participants\u2019 experiences with\u2026?\u201d Words like \u201cimpact\u201d or \u201cexperience\u201d or \u201cperceptions\u201d are highly nuanced, as they have been honed by qualitative researchers over the decades. See which formula below best matches your research question. This will help you identify the best qualitative method for your study; and it will help you think through what your findings and discussion sections will look like.  Your research question\u2019s "formula:" \u00a0ExamplesThe method that correlates with this "formula": \u00a0What findings and discussions within this methodology look like: \u00a0Notes:\u201cWhat are people\u2019s attitudes, perceptions, understandings or challenges related to ABC?\u201d\u00a01. How do missionaries perceive and respond to anti-Western sentiment?2. What obstacles and opportunities do Chinese evangelists face in East Africa?\u00a0 \u00a0Descriptive Qualitative study or \u201cBasic Qualitative study\u201d \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews where you discover commonalitiesReduction to themes And a discussion of how this compares to literature on the themes \u00a0 Themes from the examples in column 1: 1. Missionaries leverage positive stereotypes and distance themselves from negative ones (Nehrbass, 2016)2. Language and cultural distance are barriers for Chinese pastors; but cultural \u2018mediators\u2019 overcome the challenge (Gong and Nehrbass, 2017) \u00a0This is the \u201centry level\u201d qualitative method. \u00a0\u00a0\u201cWhat factors impact participants\u2019 (varying) attitudes about XYZ?\u201d1. What factors impact Chinese foreign students\u2019 various attitudes about studying at Christian School in the USA?2. What factors impact Melanesians\u2019 various attitudes about animistic religions? \u00a0Grounded Theory \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews of a participant group with variation, so you discover commonalities and differences among participants \u00a0Development of a theory that explains different attitudes or responses of participants And a discussion of how this compares to literature on the theoretical codes \u00a0 Theory from the examples in column 1: 1. Chinese foreign students\u2019 attitudes about a Christian school in the USA are less impacted by curriculum, and more impacted by the relationships they make with other students and faculty (Chamberlain, 2017)2. Melanesian attitudes about animistic religions are impacted by their views of the Bible, and their views of conversion. (Nehrbass, 2012). \u00a0This requires a depth of understanding of each participant in the study, in order to draw conclusions about how different factors affected them differently. \u00a0 If your data is not rich enough to develop an explanatory theory, consider redesigning this study as a descriptive qualitative study."What factors led to X?\u201dHow did prominent Korean-American leaders rise to fame?\u201d \u00a0Grounded Theory \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews where you gather experiences and attitudes \u00a0Reduction to a process And a discussion of how this compares to literature on the theoretical codes \u00a0 Theory from the example in column 1: Prominent Korean-American leaders rise to fame through internal factors (attitudes, skills) and external factors (achievement, heritage) (Kim, 2009) \u00a0You cannot prove causality; you discover categories that emerge from data, and \u00a0develop a theory that explains those categories \u00a0 If your data is not rich enough to explain a process, consider redesigning this study as a descriptive qualitative study."How did organization ABC do something interesting?\u201d1. How did the municipality of Olszytn respond to COVID restrictions? 2. How does Embraer aviation company foster innovation? \u00a0Case Study (or a \u201cMultiple Case Study\u201d) \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews of members of the organization at different levels of leadershipfinancial recordsnewsletterspress releases \u00a0Reduction to a theory And a discussion of how this compares to literature on the themes or theoretical codes \u00a0 Theory from the examples in column 1: 1 The municipality of Olszytn decreased recreational activities and changed locations (Senetra and Szczepa\u0144ska, 2022).2. Embraer uses Group elicitation method to foster innovation (Torkashvand, 2022). \u00a0While it may be convenient to do a case study on your own organization, it may not be strategic to do so. Do case studies on organizations that are best suited to answer a worthwhile research question."What makes S0-and-so such an interesting person?\u201dWhat was it about Steve Jobs that led to the founding of Apple? \u00a0 \u00a0Biography \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews of the subject Interviews of those who interacted with the subject archival datapublished sourcesReduction to themes or \u00a0a theory Discusses literature throughout \u00a0 Theory from the example in column 1: Steve Jobs was ruthless about achieving, at the expense of personal relationships (Isaacson, 2011) \u00a0Only attempt this if you can get rich data from multiple sources\u201cWhat is it like to experience XYZ?" \u00a0 1. What is it like to raise an autistic child in the public school system?2. What is the experience of principals who have children and a spouse who works? \u00a0Phenomenology \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews where you discover common \u2018lived experiences\u201dReduction to a central understanding And a discussion of how this compares to literature on the central experience \u00a0 Central understanding from the examples in column 1: 1. Raising autistic children can be like a pioneer overcoming obstacles (Barrow, 2017).2. Raising a child in a dual income home is characterized by stress and coping strategies (Zeeck, 2012).Only attempt this if you are familiar with the literature on phenomenology"What is something timely that can be said about this culture or sub-culture?\u201dWhat role do hymns play in helping Nigerian Christians deal with suffering?Ethnography \u00a0 Data collection: InterviewsParticipant observationPhotos and cultural \u201cartifacts\u201d like song scripts or legendsGenogramsReduction to themes or a theory And a discussion of how this compares to sociological research \u00a0 Themes from the example in column 1: Indigenously composed hymns provide hope, as well as framework for understanding suffering (Chinne and Nehrbass, 2020). \u00a0This requires prolonged field experience, and readers will expect you to operate with a \u201ctheoretical lens\u201d within the social sciences \u00a0"What was the result of my intervention in ABC organization?How do patient care groups at a hospital in Ireland react to a program to care for those with epilepsy? \u00a0 \u00a0Action-Reflection \u00a0 Data collection: Interviews of the stakeholdersBudgets, logsMeetings from minutes (related to the intervention) \u00a0Reduction to themes or \u00a0a theory And a discussion on the literature related to the themes or theoretical codes \u00a0 Theory from the example in column 1: Stakeholders discovered obstacles in their relationships, due to bias (Varley et al., 2020). \u00a0This requires you to have a position of influence in an organization for a time period that is long enough to complete the study. \u00a0 \u00a0 Changes as a result of the action-reflection may be new knowledge, or adjustments to an intervention References Barrow (2017). \u201cA Phenomenological Study of the Lived Experiencesof Parents of Young Children with Autism Receiving of Parents of Young Children with Autism ReceivingSpecial Education Services.\u201d [Unpublished Ed.D. dissertation] Portland State University. Chamberlain, M. A. (2017). Factors impacting openness to Christianity among Chinese graduate students who attended a Christian university in the United States. [Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation] La Mirada, CA: Biola University Chinne, Z. and Nehrbass, K. (2020). \u201cA Vernacular Theology of the Cross in Nigeria\u2019s Middle Belt: How Hymns Strengthen the Church Amid Religiously-motivated Violence.\u201d in J. Ireland and M. Raven (eds.) Practicing Hope: Missions and Global Crises (pp. 1-18). Littleton, CO: William Carey Publishing. Gong, W. and Nehrbass, K. (2017). Reaching out to diaspora Chinese in East Africa: Barriers and Bridges. Missiology, 45 (3) pp. 236-251. Isaacson,\u00a0 W. (2011). Steve Jobs: the exclusive biography. New York: Simon and Shuster. Kim, K. K. (. (2009). The education and cultivation of intercultural leaders: A study of twelve prominent native born Koreans. [Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation]. La Mirada, CA: Biola University Nehrbass, K. (2012). Christianity and animism in Melanesia: Four approaches to Gospel and Culture. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library Press. Nehrbass, K. (2016). \u201cThe impact of images of US Americans on mission strategy\u201d in Ed Smither and Rochelle Scheuermann (eds). Controversies in Mission: EMS monograph series (pp. 142-164). Littleton, CO: WilliamCarey Library Press. Senetra, A & Szczepa\u0144ska, A. (2022). Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Led to Permanent Persistent Changes in Recreational Activity? A Case Study of a Municipal Beach. Bulletin of Geography. Socio-Economic Series, 18(55), 49\u201366. Torkashvand, G. (2022). Participatory design as a tool to foster innovation: A case study of an aviation company. INCOSE International Symposium, 32, 171\u2013181 Varley, J., Kiersey, R., Power, R., Byrne, J.-P., Doherty, C., Saris, J., Lambert, V., & Fitzsimons, M. (2020). Igniting intersectoral collaboration in chronic disease management: a participatory action research study on epilepsy care in Ireland. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 34(4), 500\u2013508.  There are certainly qualitative research projects which diverge from the paradigm below. In those cases, the researcher may be an \u201cout-of-the-box\u201d thinker, may be operating with a less common methodological background, or may have a poorly formed research question. \u00a0Additionally, some of these methods can also be quantitative or mixed methods. Case studies and action-reflection, for example, can both involve quantitative methods.