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Identify an aspect of this topic you feel should be studied using qualitative methods.

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 Dysthymia sometimes referred to as mild, chronic depression, is less severe and has fewer symptoms than major depression. With dysthymia, the depression symptoms can linger for a long period, often two years or longer. Although dysthymia is a serious illness, it is treatable. Dysthymia can be treated through psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of both. Most of the time dysthymia can be treated by a regular doctor. I think a topic that should be studied using qualitative methods is the treatment options for patients who are affected by the illness.

Apply the scientific method to this research issue and develop a specific research question.

Dysthymia is a type of depression, milder, subtler, but just as insidious. One in ten of us will be experiencing dysthymia right now (The Chilliwack Progress, 2005, para. 1). My research question is will combined treatment for dysthymia be more successful?

Compare the characteristics and appropriate uses of various qualitative research designs and choose an appropriate qualitative design for this research question.

The appropriate research designs in comparison are Grounded Theory Approach (GT), Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), Discourse Analysis Approach, Participatory action research (PAR), and Consensual qualitative research (CQR) and Narrative Analysis Approaches. Grounded Theory is used to study action and interaction (Frost, 2011, p. 16).  Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is used to study experiences of some personal significance-such as a major life event, or the development of an important relationship (Frost, 2011, p. 44).

Discourse Analysis Approach is used to study discourse, writing, conversation, communicative events (Frost, 2011, p. 66). Narrative Analysis Approach covers a multitude of methods that are collected from participants (Frost, 2011, p. 92). Participatory action research is an approach to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action (Ponterotto, 2010, p. 586). Consensual qualitative research involves descriptive interview transcripts of a participant’s feelings and thoughts (Ponterotto, 2010, p. 585).

The qualitative research design I recommend is the grounded theory approach. Grounded theory is an influential research method for collecting and analyzing data.

Create a feasible research design that includes plans for the sample selection, data collection, and data analysis.

Grounded theory studies are characterized by theoretical sampling, but this requires some data to be collected and analyzed. Sampling must begin purposively, as in any qualitative study. Purposively sampling is using knowledge of the study and the population to choose participants. Initial interviews are conducted to collect data from participants. Data collected will come from the researcher asking participants questions about themselves. Coding is essential to the development of grounded theory. Through coding, you describe what is happening in the data and begin to figure out what it means. Memo-writing contains the interviewer’s impressions of the participants’ experiences and the interviewer’s reactions. After data collection and analysis, theoretical sampling is used to determine who to sample next and what questions to ask during interviews.

Apply ethical principles to your design by explaining how this type of qualitative design may affect the participants in your study and how you will deal with sociocultural issues.

It is imperative that ethical principles are followed when conducting research. Psychologists should avoid relationships that could reasonably impair their professional performance or could exploit or harm others. Informed consent from the participants should be given before conducting the study. The consent process ensures that individuals are voluntarily participating in the research with full knowledge of relevant risks and benefits. Think about data sharing before research begins. If researchers plan to share their data with others, they should note that in the consent process, specifying how they will be shared and whether data will be anonymous. I will deal with sociocultural issues by understanding the participant’s dynamics of society such as politics, family, religion, beliefs, etc.


Frost, N. (2011). Qualitative research methods in psychologyNew York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Ponterotto, J. G. (2013). Qualitative research in multicultural psychology: Philosophical underpinnings, popular approaches, and ethical considerations. Qualitative Psychology, 1(S), 19-32. doi:10.1037/2326-3598.1. S.19.

Could you be happier? (2005, Mar 06). The Chilliwack Progress Retrieved from