Qualitative Research Creates Mental Models About the Problem Space.

Qualitative research helps us build mental models about the contexts, problems, and motivations our products and designs must account for. It helps us understand what is important at a high level—what matters to people and how they understand their relationship to the world.

The questions are more open-ended. When we do qualitative research, we're trying to synthesize a narrative about our subject. It's closer to Sensemaking MOC than quantitative methods: it builds a perspective based on the available evidence that can later be measured through quantitative methods.

A strong foundation of qualitative research can help us have a better intuition about people and culture.



Ladner, Sam. Mixed Methods: A Short Guide to Applied Mixed Methods Research. Sam Ladner, 2019.

Levin, Alec. “StAtIsTiCaL SIgNiFiCaNcE.” Known Unknowns (blog). Accessed October 12, 2020. https://knownunknowns.substack.com/p/statistical-significance.

Madsbjerg, Christian. Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm. Hachette Books, 2017.

Schuler, Greg. “Getting Big Ideas Out of Small Numbers.” Cooper (blog), April 8, 2020. https://www.cooper.com/journal/2013/05/getting-big-ideas-out-of-small-research/.