Volunteer Organizations and Skill Development—Exploring the Qualitative Research Process


Most research conducted during the 20th century on business-related topics relied on the use of quantitative analysis. Newer studies conducted using qualitative methods demonstrate the value of exploring phenomena from this methodological perspective. The qualitative research process becomes easier to understand when the research activities are explained in a step-by-step manner. A hermeneutic or interpretative phenomenological qualitative research study on the role of volunteer organizations in leadership skill development served as platform for this learning case. In all, 30 full-time employees who served as current or past presidents of two volunteer organizations participated in the study. The researcher shares insights regarding the following qualitative study processes: (1) rationale for qualitative research, (2) choosing a venue for research, (3) gaining permissions and approvals, (4) data collection and analysis, (5) steps needed throughout the process to ensure trustworthiness, and (6) presenting results, study limitations, and recommendations for future research. The study results demonstrated the value of qualitative analysis in a business-related research inquiry.

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