Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Electrical and electronic engineering

Publication Details

Lighting Research and Technology July 29, 2016 doi: 10.1177/1477153516659901


As lighting researchers we can learn from our colleagues in the humanities who have progressed Qualitative Research methods to a high level of rigour. We should consider using Qualitative Research Methods more. Such methods allow exploration of complex issues involving human behaviour and facilitate researchers to address difficult to answer questions that otherwise go unanswered. Good quality Qualitative Research can provide rich explanations of what went on in a given situation. Validity and Reliability are considered differently with this type of research methodology. This paper attempts to identify when qualitative research is appropriate, what questions it can answer in lighting research, how it is done, list the features and provide a simple brief example of a post occupancy evaluation case study. It is argued that qualitative research can be used with quantitative research; before quantitative research to inform it or afterwards to explain it; but it can also be extremely informative in itself and act as a catalyst for change to the reader who can see the outcomes in a context that applies to them. For example the reader can extrapolate insightful findings from a Case Study to their own applications more generally; in fact this is how the quality of such research is often evaluated.