Qualitative Research Problem and Design

Qualitative Research Problem and Design

University of Phoenix


Families with children who live and suffer from severe illnesses are plaguing our society. Children with severe illness have significant effects on the entire family. Not only does it impact the children, but the siblings, parents, and other family members who provide support to the immediate family (Reichman, Corman, and Noonan, 2008). Despite the trials and tribulations of dealing with children and families the family much adversity providing emotional supports and monies to support their children. There are some plusses to living with children with severe illnesses as it teaches family members how to cope with the illnesses, improves unity among family members, and connects the families with various organizations for support (Reichman, et. al., 2008). The disadvantages of living with children with severe illnesses are time, medical costs, physical and emotional supports, and lifelong complex issues to endure on a regular basis (Reichman, et. al., 2008). Depending on the illnesses to the children, will determine the types of supports needed for the families and children.

Topic and Qualitative Perspective

What it is like for families to live with children who suffer from severe illnesses would be best approached from a qualitative perspective of a phenomenological study. In a phenomenological study, the researcher would examine the lived experiences of families who live with children that have severe illnesses and provide in depth descriptions of those individuals in the study. The experiences will highlight those children who are hospitalized or potentially suffering from severe illnesses and the impacts the disability has on their life. The study would also explore the lives of the family members including siblings, parents, and extended family living with children who suffer from illnesses.

Phenomenological Study

The purpose of phenomenological study is to describe the meaning that the human experiences hold for each subject. Phenomenological research implores the individuals to describe their experiences from their own lens and in this case the researcher can hone in on the families and children experiences. The information gathered would be from the participants are conducted mostly by interviews to gain a clear understanding of their lived experiences from their perception. The researcher in a phenomenological must consider their personal beliefs and feelings to be able to identify intended outcomes of the research (Reichman, et.al., 2008).

Having a child who suffers severe illnesses creates stress, impairs mental and physical health, makes it difficult to find affordable child care (Reichman, et. al., 2008). It also becomes a challenge for the family members to work a steady job due to the many constraints and appointments needed to support the child. In addition, there is an association of guilt, blame, and lack of confidence that plagues the family members during the process of coping with the illness. There is a significantly large financial burden placed on the family and creates out-of-pocket costs of medical care. All of these potential effects could have consequences for the quality of the relationship between the parents, their living arrangements, and future relationships and family structure (Reichman, et. al, 2008). Having a disabled child may also affect parents’ allocation of time and financial resources, their parenting practices, their expectations of healthy siblings in terms of achievement, responsibility, and short- and long-term contributions to the household, and the siblings’ health and development.

Reichman, et. al, (2008) Reportedly, there is few indications of the effect of children with disability and the impacts on the family. According to Baker, Blacher, Krnic, and Edlebrook (2002) “Regression analyses revealed that the extent of child behavior problems was a much stronger contributor to parenting stress than was the child’s cognitive delay” (p. 433). There are new studies that reveal families who have children with disabilities or severe health conditions in in divorce as the families are unable to cope with the stress of having a sick child (Baker, et. al, 2002). Also, the parents tend to shy away from activities outside of the home as they have to deal with the disabled child on a consistent basis leaving little time to socialize (Baker, et. al., 2002).

While a phenomenological study seems feasible for this type of study, there are other qualitative approaches that would not be appropriate for this type of study. Phenomenology is a qualitative interpretive analysis study which is the examination of observations and real-life experiences of non-management and followers through examination and exploration (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015). A research study of this nature asks a central question around a phenomenon, and the researcher seeks to obtain answers through events, experiences, and social context, which is relayed to the audience (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015). The selected phenomenological research questions should consist of statements that answer the what and how of the study. In this way, the researcher can convey the what of the individual’s experiences and explain how they experienced it like data collected in a case study (Creswell, 2013). The purpose of phenomenology is to create a deeper understanding and meaning of the study based on the data (Creswell, 2013). In this type of study, phenomenologists try to interpret the observations from the individual’s perspective and in this case how families and children cope with disabilities in their lives. The research questions created by the researcher seek to explore the individual outcomes of the participants in the study (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015). The study can examine a small group of people to observe the family and children with severe disabilities. According to Creswell (2013), research questions in phenomenology are analyzed and interpreted through real world experiences to obtain unity of all participants in the study. For these reasons, the rationale behind the phenomenological study is the best fit for this type of study.

A grounded theory would not be appropriate for this type of study as in this type of theory the researcher seeks to elicit new information on the phenom. The grounded theory explains the what in research and is quite different from other qualitative design methods. The rationale behind this study not suiting that of this type of research problem is the outcomes are dependent upon theory to achieve the desired results. Moreover, a case study would not suit this type of research problem because the study would need to target a specific group. With the limitations of the boundaries, it is more appropriate to use a phenomenological study to research families living with children with disabilities.


Baker, B., Blacher, J., Crnic, K., Edlebrock, C. (2002). Behavior problems and parenting stress

In families of three-year old children with and without developmental delays. American

Journal on Mental Retardation. 107(6). 433-444.

Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five

approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Ltd.

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2015). Qualitative research: A guide to design and

implementation (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Reichman, N., Corman, H., Noonan, K. (2008). Impact of child disability on the family.

Medscape. Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/581577_2.