"Qualitative method is used to understand people's beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behavior, and interactions. It generates non-numerical data" (Pathak, Jena, & Kalra, 2013, p. 1). Qualitative research is not looking for cause and effect. Instead it looks at meaning, perspectives and motivations. It is looking for the WHY. It typically has a small sample and uses focus groups, interviews, observation, historical documents, etc. The data it collects are "words" while Quantitative research collects "numbers". Several methodologies have been developed for qualitative research. For more information on Qualitative Research, see Synthesis of Qualitative Research or Qualitative Research Methods Overview for more information.
Pathak, V., Jena, B., & Kalra, S. (2013). Qualitative research. Perspectives in Clinical Research, 4(3), 192-194. DOI: 10.4103/2229-3485.115389.