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Main Criticisms of Qualitative Research

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Presentation on theme: "Main Criticisms of Qualitative Research"— Presentation transcript:

1 Main Criticisms of Qualitative Research
Subjectivity leads to procedural problems Replicability is very difficult Unreliable Researcher bias is built in and unavoidable In-depth, comprehensive approach to data gathering limits scope Labor intensive Time consuming Expensive Very unreliable (See Haralambos Methodology Chapter)

2 Changes in the Socio-Political System (GLOBAL)
Marketization and global capitalism Problems of Gender identities Unjust social relations - class Problems of National identities Imposed knowledge The oppression of minorities organized violence The hegemonic ranslational institutions and the control of nation states and social actors Global surveillance, issues of privacy and the manipulation of identities and social practices through global information and communication technologies Incivility The identification of the most pressing problems of the day is itself problematic and contentious, as is their formulation as proper objects of social research. But there would be widespread agreement that in contemporary social life they include: . the effects on people’s lives of the international restructuring of economies on the basis of “marketization” prescripts and the imposition of the requisites for “global capitalism” on countries in central and eastern Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere . the need to help people negotiate changing conceptions of gender identities and relationships and achieve social justice in matters of gender and sexuality . the conflicts people experience because of unequal and unjust power relationships between those who speak different languages and dialects and identify with different cultural traditions . the need to help people educate themselves for critical local and global citizenship, free from the political biases of official textbooks and school curricula unjust social relations based on arbitrary categories of age and racist classifications (indigenous, immigrant, and “foreign”) that support and are supported by oppressive attitudes and practices . insecurities over national identities in an era of new transnational systems, such as the European Union; the global upsurge in migration and the movement of refugees; the emergence of new, aspiring, and renewed nation-states; the proliferation of organized violence within and between states; and the intrusion upon state policy organs by transnational institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization . the need to adapt to the consequences of access (or lack thereof) to new means of global communication, and to the proliferation of ideas and cultural diversity entailed by our new media environments

3 Politics of doing research Ethics and doing funded research
Changes in the Socio-Political System (GLOBAL)/Intellectual and Academic 1980s Postmodernism Representations – it was understood that researchers/people created reality through their representational, textual and interpretive practices – the emergence of the discourse turn (text, action, sounds, images) associated with Foucault and Derrida How to (Re)present information The merging of social science and the humanities Politics of doing research Ethics and doing funded research Purpose – What is the purpose of the social sciences? Social Scientists pointed to the diminishing fund of resources for social inquiries and asked \, given limited resources, what kind of research should we be doing? And those even more closely tied to the own fieldwork asked whom social science should serve – those who collect data m or those from whom it is collected. These series of questions cut to the heart of the enterprise of social science for they force researchers to confromt the question of whether social science, as conventionally configured, servs the pirpose of improving thhe human lot, For many humans it has not. The “New”” qualitative researcher has been drawn to more radical forms of ethnograpic and interpretive work, derived from the theoretical and praxis oriented philophies of critical theory, action research and participatry action research.

4 Changes in the Socio-Political System (GLOBAL)
Need for deeper and rich understanding of social and political life Need for in-depth Examination of Phenomena (greater insights and depth) - Provide thick descriptions of a phenomena Extracts meaning from data Examine and answer complex questions that can be impossible with quantitative methods Need for a tool which explore new areas of social and political life Need for a holistic approach understanding/interpreting and explaining social life build new theories – new association between variables and deconstruct existing ones.

5 Changes/Revolutions in the nature of Qualitative Research
The emergence of new theories Hermeneutics Critical Inquiry Feminism Postmodernism

6 Changes/Revolutions in the nature of Qualitative Research
The emergence of new methodologies Grounded theory Heuristic inquiry Action research Discourse analysis/Critical Discourse Analysis Feminist/Critical/Postcolonial and Postmodern Ethnography

7 Changes in the nature of Qualitative Research
The emergence of new data collection and data analysis tools – to verify and make possible the reproduction of a research project – trustworthiness Trustworthiness includes elements such as credibility, confirmability, transferability/Replicability (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). Reflexivity According to Janesick (2000), trustworthiness attempts to achieve “procedures that are simultaneously open-ended and rigorous, and to do justice to the complexity of the social setting under study” (Jenesick 2000: 379). Trustworthiness has to do with the soundness of the research. According to (Lincon and Guba, 1985) trustworthiness has to do with how one persuades “his or her audiences that the findings of an inquiry are worth paying attention to, worth taking account of" (Lincoln and Guba, 1985, p. 290). Trustworthiness includes elements such as credibility, confirmability, transferability/Replicability (Lincoln and Guba, 1985).

8 Transferability/ Replicability
Trustworthiness Naturalistic terms credibility Transferability/ Replicability dependability confirmability

9 Credibility Prolonged Engagement Persistent Observation
Conduct peer consultations with colleagues – get their interpretations of the data Discuss issues such as the theoretical and accessible population, sampling frame and the actual sample, methodology, methods, the theoretical framework and the framing of the study Use data (methods) triangulation use of multiple methods Use different data sources to study a phenomena Member Checks Credibility A central question for any inquiry relates to the degree of confidence in the truth that the findings of a particular inquiry is credible. Prolonged engagement – spend sufficient time Persistent observation – understand events and environmental contexts Member check – it is important the the data and the interpretation be checked by the participants studied Use different data sources to study a phenomena As with the case of this research project, this proved to be an excellent tool to compare and validate incidents, accounts and claims, thereby pulling out truth and contradictions. Selltiz, Wrightsman, and Cook, (1976) have stated that if the reports of several respondents occupying widely different positions, “agree on a statement, there is a much better ground for accepting it as true then if only one of these respondents makes the statement… On the other hand, contradictions among the reports of apparently reliable participants provide important leads for further investigation” (Selltiz, Wrightsman, and Cook, 1976: p. 301). Based on the discussions in the above sections this was indeed as was the case of this research project. This activity contributed to improving the representitiveness of the sample.

10 Transferability and Dependability Can the research be replicated else where (is it reliable)?
Transferability or replicability is concerned with the readiness of both researchers and users of research findings to optimize the utilization of research elsewhere. Such an undertaking is dependent on "solid descriptive data," or "thick description" (See Gertz Photocopy - docuspot) which the interview procedure for this study provided. This was also facilitated through the use of the Audit Trail where the researcher thus establishes a trackable and documentable process (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). Replicability was enhanced through the use of a Case Study Protocol and the Case Study Database (Refer to docuspot photocopy). The researcher collects sufficient detailed descriptions of the data in context and reports them with sufficient detail and precision to allow judgements about transferability. Effective thick description brings the reader vicariously into the contest being decribed, A Case Study Protocol documents the procedures and general rules used in a research that should be followed in using the instrument to replicate that research in another area. It is an essential element in a multiple-case study and a major component in asserting the reliability of the case study research. The Protocol provides: an overview of the case study project – “background information about the project, the substantive issues being investigated and the relevant readings about the issues” (Yin, 1994:67). The Protocol communicates to the reader the general topic of inquiry and the purpose of the case study. According to Yin, (1994) a protocol should have the following sections: An overview of the case study project (objectives, issues, topics being investigated) Field procedures (credentials and access to sites, sources of information) Case study questions (specific questions that the investigator must keep in mind during data collection) A guide for case study report (outline, format for the narrative) (Yin, 1994, p. 64). The Protocol also comprises of field procedures such as the selection of sample, introductory letters and other correspondents for gaining access and the main documents needed for data analysis. The case study protocol was developed prior to the investigation and further amended during, and again, after the research process. Case Study Database The Protocol was accompanied by a Case Study Database. The absence of a formal database has always been a “major shortcoming of case study research” (Yin, 1994:95). The case study database comprises of the type of people required to replicate elsewhere. Given the increasing importance of ICT for enterprise development research, this tool is one of the most important components of this thesis. The databases included the participants (whose identities have been secured with the use of a highly sophisticated alphanumeric coding system), case study notes, documents relevant to the primary and several embedded cases, contextual evens surrounding the cases, as well as an analysis of the data collected. Several important narratives of participants’ accounts of the events surrounding the implications of the initiatives on their livelihood were also included in the database to provide either some idea of what to look for or what to compare against, in the event that alternative data is generated due to other conditions not present in Jamaica.

11 Confirmability Are the findings a product of the focus of the inquiry and not the biases of the researcher? Track data to their sources Audit Trail An inquiry must also provide its audience with evidence that if it were replicated with the same or similar respondents (subjects) in the same or similar context, its findings would be repeated.

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