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Dr C. Gatrell 2010 Qualitative Research Methods And You, The Researcher.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr C. Gatrell 2010 Qualitative Research Methods And You, The Researcher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr C. Gatrell 2010 Qualitative Research Methods And You, The Researcher

2 ‘an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world’ (Maanen, 1983) ‘A form of social enquiry that focuses on the way that people interpret and make sense of the their experience and the world in which they live’ (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002) Qualitative Research Methods

3 A Historical Overview Traditional (1900 – 1950) Traditional (1900 – 1950) Modernist ( ) Modernist ( ) Blurred Genres ( ) Blurred Genres ( ) Crisis of Representation ( ) Crisis of Representation ( ) Postmodernist (1990- present) Postmodernist (1990- present)

4 Distinctive Features Of Quantitative And Qualitative Approaches Quantitative approaches Qualitative approaches 'Simple' numeric data 'Complex' rich data MeasurementMeaning ExplanationUnderstanding UnderstandingInterpretation Generalisable account Contextual account Representative population sample Purposive/ representative perspective sample Hypothesis-testingExploratory Claims objectivity Accepts subjectivity Closed system (experimental control) Open system (ecological validity)

5 Fundamental Differences Between Quantitative And Qualitative Research Strategies QuantitativeQualitative Principle orientation to the role of theory in relation to research Deductive: Testing of theory Inductive: Generation of theory Epistemological orientation Natural science model, in particular positivism Interpretivism Ontological OrientationObjectivismConstructivism Bryman, 2001

6 Questions For The Qualitative Researcher (Mason) What is my research question? What am I trying to find out and why? What is the population I am interested in? Who might provide the information I am seeking in order to answer my question? (Sample) How many of these people do I need in order to answer my questions? And where might I find them from? (Selection of sample) What are the limitations of my research (reliability & validity)

7 Validity and Reliability External Reliability External Reliability Internal Reliability Internal Reliability Internal Validity Internal Validity External Validity External Validity

8 Sample Sizes And Types Case studies (small number, may be longitudinal) Intensity sampling (people who share the same experience – could mean snowballing) Variety sampling (people who come from a variety of backgrounds – could mean snowballing) Sampling frame (subset of a population who might be representative of a wider group) Purposive sample (might be indicative but not representative of a wider group) Be careful about the claims you make and how easily participants might be identified

9 Questions to ask yourself What Ethical issues do I face? Important for all researchers but may be more immediate for qualitative management students than for other researchers because A) A) You may be researching in your own field/ environment/company people you might need or wish to work with again! B) B) As a management student your research might prompt changes to organisational policy and practice and could adversely affect others C) C) Those who take part in qualitative research may be identifiable when material is written up

10 Duty Of Care Towards Others Evaluate the risks & benefits Evaluate the risks & benefits Be aware of how you and/or others use ‘confidential’ information Be aware of how you and/or others use ‘confidential’ information Think about what you are going to use the information for and in what contexts Think about what you are going to use the information for and in what contexts Beware guarantees – anonymity might be better than confidentiality Beware guarantees – anonymity might be better than confidentiality Justice Justice

11 Duty Of Care Towards Yourself Your physical and personal safety. Develop strategies for ensuring this. Not just women! Your physical and personal safety. Develop strategies for ensuring this. Not just women! Political safety – avoid research and situations which may be career limiting either now or in the future. Discuss any doubts with your supervisor Political safety – avoid research and situations which may be career limiting either now or in the future. Discuss any doubts with your supervisor Think through at outset issues of Intellectual property so you can publish/protect your work Think through at outset issues of Intellectual property so you can publish/protect your work

12 Politics Of Qualitative Research Power relations – complex relationship between you the researcher and the researched (gender). Power of interpretation – how you represent the voices of others Power of interpretation – how you represent the voices of others Subjectivity – if you are researching people in own environment, whom you know well, you cannot be objective Subjectivity – if you are researching people in own environment, whom you know well, you cannot be objective Feminist writers on research (Reinharz 1992, Roberts 1981) Feminist writers on research (Reinharz 1992, Roberts 1981)

13 Qualitative Research F2F Methods And You Interviews: techniques and ethics Pace the discussion Pace the discussion Semi structured: some questions and a list of themes (difficult to do well!) Semi structured: some questions and a list of themes (difficult to do well!) Open ended questions: How do you feel about…? What areas of your life have been affected by…? Tell me about… Open ended questions: How do you feel about…? What areas of your life have been affected by…? Tell me about… General to specific: How do you feel/give me an example General to specific: How do you feel/give me an example Importance of piloting your interview schedule Importance of piloting your interview schedule Critical incident ( was there one event which…) Critical incident ( was there one event which…) How to record? How many times to interview each person? Pros and cons of repeat interviews How to record? How many times to interview each person? Pros and cons of repeat interviews Rapport (Agree terms and conditions re confidentiality) Rapport (Agree terms and conditions re confidentiality)

14 Qualitative Research Methods And You Focus groups and ethics Originally a marketing technique Popular in management research Allows views of a number of respondents to be same time Mix of views and beliefs – lively debate Some voices may be lost Some participants may be unwilling to speak in the presence of others (senior/junior/ex-friends..)

15 Qualitative Research Methods And You Ethnography and ethics “Fly on the wall” Often 12 months but can be shorter. “Fly on the wall” Often 12 months but can be shorter. May see things that outsiders would miss May see things that outsiders would miss May see things with “fresh eyes” May see things with “fresh eyes” Ethical issues about recording individual activities of others without their knowledge or consent, or that might identify them. Interpretation – which elements you foreground Interpretation – which elements you foreground

16 You, The Researcher Saunders et al (2000) and Coffey (1999): find out about dress codes and do your best to ‘fit in’ Saunders et al (2000) and Coffey (1999): find out about dress codes and do your best to ‘fit in’ Respondents will react you as a person Respondents will react you as a person When things get personal ‘Relationships in research settings develop and change over time, in some cases becoming close [or] becoming difficult or fractured. Think how you will manage the end of your project’ (Mason 2000). When things get personal ‘Relationships in research settings develop and change over time, in some cases becoming close [or] becoming difficult or fractured. Think how you will manage the end of your project’ (Mason 2000).

17 Qualitative Research Methods And You Documentation Wealth of data Wealth of data Triangulation (compare it with accounts given to you by participants) Triangulation (compare it with accounts given to you by participants) Published/unpublished documents Published/unpublished documents Ethical issues about using s whose permission – whole document??? Is there another side of the story?

18 Qualitative Research Methods And You Analysis Wealth of data Wealth of data Do you interpret and if so how? What goes in and what do you leave out? Do you interpret and if so how? What goes in and what do you leave out? What do you do with your research? What do you do with your research? What if you wish to/should you contact respondents when you have completed? What if you wish to/should you contact respondents when you have completed? Remember when you write for publication your research is in the public domain Remember when you write for publication your research is in the public domain

19 Qualitative Research Methods And You How should I analyse my data? How should I analyse my data? Computer Computer Brain (felt tips) Brain (felt tips) You will have more data than you know what to do with! You will have more data than you know what to do with! Remember your research question – what are you trying to find out? Has this changed? This will help you decide what to leave in/dump out Remember your research question – what are you trying to find out? Has this changed? This will help you decide what to leave in/dump out Think about the claims you are making. Think about the claims you are making. Are you setting your research in a wider social context? Are you setting your research in a wider social context? Are you looking for solutions to a problem, or themes about which you can generalise? Are you looking for solutions to a problem, or themes about which you can generalise? Nothing wrong with mixing methods


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