I think qualitative research makes sense to me. As a teacher, I am constantly watching and asking interview style questions of my students as they work. I think we do need qualitative research because including the experience of a person alongside of their performance helps to capture the whole picture of an experiment. That is necessary when your experiment revolves around humans. However, what seems to be the challenge is dealing with the data. It is hard to imagine, and imagine is all I can do at the moment, how someone would deal with the data produced by a qualitative study.
With a survey, you can use different programs to calculate response percentages. These programs, in essence, are your collaborators since the program will make it easier to compare demographics with responses which will help to highlight patterns and so forth. But, dealing with the data from interviews seems more daunting. It is definitely something I would need help with from collaborators because how do you do it? A spread sheet?? The thought of recording responses from several interviews sound as exciting as doing the dishes… which is not exciting at all. So, I definitely think collaborators are needed.
As a younger student, working with collaborators seemed like I was cheating in some way. I felt, at the time, that the work would have to be solely mine. There is probably a little arrogance built into that perspective as well, but now, I feel certain, especially with qualitative research, that I will need help. It is interesting that this method seems so intuitive yet that processing of the results seems so foreign.