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Chapter 12 Indirect Data Collection: Working with Observations and Existing Text Zina OLeary.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 12 Indirect Data Collection: Working with Observations and Existing Text Zina OLeary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 12 Indirect Data Collection: Working with Observations and Existing Text Zina OLeary

2 Indirect Data Indirect data is data that exists regardless of a researchers questioning, prompting and probing. It is found in social situations, documents, databases, and artefacts and is not created by the researcher for research processes. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

3 Observation A systematic method of data collection that relies on a researchers ability to gather data through their senses. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

4 Types of Observation In conducting observations, researchers can be anything from removed to immersed: Non-participant - in this role, the researcher does not become, nor aims to become, an integral part of the system or community they are observing. Participant - in this role, the researcher is, or becomes, a part of the team, community, or cultural group they are observing. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

5 Types of Observation Researchers need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of full disclosure: Candid - the researcher offers full disclosure of the nature of their study and the role the observations will play in their research. Covert - can be non-participant, i.e. watching pedestrian behavior at an intersection, or watching interactions at a school playground. But they can also be participatory. This involves researchers going undercover in an attempt to get a real sense of a situation, context, or phenomenon. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

6 Types of Observation Observational techniques can range from highly structured to unstructured: Structured - highly systematic and often relies on predetermined criteria related to the people, events, practices, issues, behaviors, actions, situations, and phenomena being observed. Semi-structured - observers generally use some manner of observation schedule or checklist to organize observations, but also attempt to observe and record the unplanned and/or the unexpected. Unstructured - observers attempt to observe and record data without predetermined criteria. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

7 What You See Isnt Always What You Get Observation provides the opportunity for researchers to document actual behavior rather than responses related to behavior. However, the observed can act differently when surveyed; and researchers observations are likely to be biased by their own worldviews. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

8 Filtering Observations Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

9 The Observation Process Taking the world in through our senses needs to be tackled systematically in order to ensure we can: take in a full range of sensory inputs keep biases in check aim for saturated understanding. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

10 The Observation Process The collection of credible data through observation requires: thorough planning careful observation thoughtful recording reflexive review considered refinements appropriate analysis. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

11 Recording Observations Recording observations involves preservation of raw data through audio recordings, photographs, and videos or capturing impressions through note taking and journaling. Observations can be quite subjective so it is important to confirm through strategies that ensure thoroughness and confirmation. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

12 Existing Text Existing texts are traces of social activity that include official data and records, electronic/internet material, corporate data, personal records, the media, the arts, and social artefacts. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

13 Existing Texts Working with existing texts allows researchers to: be neutral capitalize on existing data explore what people produce and eliminate the need for physical access to research subjects. But researchers need to work through data not expressly generated for their particular research question(s). Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

14 Textual Analysis Textual analysis involves: planning for all contingencies gathering texts reviewing credibility interrogating witting and unwitting evidence reflecting and refining your process and analyzing data. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

15 Document Analysis Document analysis sees researchers working with pre- produced written, rather than generated, texts. This requires researchers to consider two potential sources of bias: the original authors and their own. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

16 Document Types Authoritative sources - documents that by their authorship or authority attempt to be unbiased and objective. The party line - documents that have an agenda or identifiable bias. Personal communication - letters, e-mails, memoirs, sketches, drawings, photographs, diaries, memos, journals etc. that are personal and subjective. Multi-media - newspaper or magazine columns/ articles, current affairs shows, news reports, TV sitcoms, commercials, etc. Historical documents - records, minutes, and policy documents, or any other materials that have been authored or produced within a particular historical period. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

17 Historical Analysis Historical analysis refers to the exploration of various forms of data in order to better understand the past, including: what happened why it happened and its implications. Data includes: testimony social book keeping secondary accounts and social artefacts. Gathering a full range of credible evidence can be a challenge. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

18 Cultural Artefact Analysis Cultural artefact analysis refers to the exploration of various human-made objects in order to ascertain information about the culture of its creator(s) and users. Measures include those of erosion i.e. wear and tear, and accretion i.e. things people produce or leave behind. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

19 Secondary Data Analysis Secondary data analysis refers to the exploration of existing data sets. While this can save time and resources, you do not develop and own the data. Before any statistical analysis is attempted researchers need to assess both the relevance and credibility of their data sources. Zina OLeary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage


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