Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...
, but also in market research
Market research is any organized effort to gather information about markets or customers. It is a very important component of business strategy...
and further contexts. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics....
and the reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...
s that govern such behavior. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making
Decision making can be regarded as the mental processes resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice.- Overview :Human performance in decision terms...
, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused sample
In statistics, a sample is a subset of a population. Typically, the population is very large, making a census or a complete enumeration of all the values in the population impractical or impossible. The sample represents a subset of manageable size...
s are more often needed than large sample
Sample or samples may refer to:* Sample , a subset of a population* Sample , a digital discrete sample of a continuous analog signal* Sample , a specimen or small quantity of something...
In the conventional view, qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied, and any more general conclusions are only propositions (informed assertions).