Qualitative research aims to comprehend the meaning of human action and investigates phenomenon as it occurs in its natural context through subjective means of inquiry (Carter & Little, 2001 & Hoft, 2011). This paper sets out to identify four features of research as they apply to qualitative research: ontology, epistemology, methodology, and sampling, through the investigation of the article "The health-care environment on a locked psychiatric ward: An ethnographic study" (Johansson, Skarsater & Danielson, 2006).
Idealist ontology holds the belief that research knowledge is made up of subjective experiences obtained through observation that is consistently influenced by the researcher's interpretations (Giacomini, 2010). Qualitative research is intrinsically idealistic. In the study by Johansson, Skarsater, and Danielson (2006), the researchers utilized an ethnographic methodology which allowed the observer to view the phenomena "in the context in which it occurred" (p 243) in order to describe various aspects of the health-care environment in a locked psychiatric ward. In addition, the study acknowledges that findings were influenced by the researchers' interpretations and attempts to prevent this, as the study states, "the researcher tried to avoid becoming too familiar in order to minimize her influence on the course of events" (Johansson et al, 2006, p 245). With the idealist ontological view, the study acknowledges that information about the participants is gained through subjective observation, which is influenced by the researchers' presence and interpretation.
Interpretive epistemology, which stems from idealist ontology, asserts that the world is made up of ideas: about oneself, others, society, or nature (Giacomini, ...
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