An investigation of qualitative research methodology for perceptual audio evaluation

Abstract: This thesis investigates whether a qualitative research method, using phenomenological interviews and analysis, can be successfully applied to perceptual audio research, a field heretofore that has mainly used quantitative methods. The method is investigated by studying the types of information elicited by the method and the information’s usefulness and relevance to the conducted study. The qualitative method is applied in three different conditions: a non-experimental condition, an experimental condition, and an experimental condition using mixed-methods. The thesis also identifies implications associated with using a qualitative method in a quantitative field of research, implications that researchers should acknowledge and consider. All scientific criteria in which the quantitative research is judged cannot directly be applied to a qualitative method. A qualitative method has to be judged on its own framework, departure points, and scientific criteria. The information elicited from the qualitative method contains information that supports known knowledge and adds new knowledge. It supplements the accessibility to the subjects’ perceptions and used methods when conducting a perceptual evaluation task. In conclusion, a qualitative research method that consists of phenomenological interviews and analyses can be successfully applied in all the tested conditions.