Presentation on theme: "Cath Sullivan ( University of Central Lancashire) & Siobhan Hugh-Jones ( University of Leeds) Two Day Workshop: TQRMUL The Higher Education Academy Psychology."— Presentation transcript:
Cath Sullivan ( University of Central Lancashire) & Siobhan Hugh-Jones ( University of Leeds) Two Day Workshop: TQRMUL The Higher Education Academy Psychology Network April 2010 Conceptual Challenges for Students
Key Conceptual Challenges for Students What tend to be the key conceptual challenges for students learning about qualitative methodology in general? Causality Reliability & Validity Objectivity & Subjectivity Generalisability
Group discussion - 15 minutes Please consider : Causality OR Validity & Reliability Why are typical student questions about these concepts in relation to qualitative methods? What appears to be the central nub of students’ ‘unease’ about qualitative methods’ treatment of these issues? What seems to help / hinder in teaching qualitative methods’ treatment of these issues?
Causality – challenges & ways forward What use is psychology if it cannot determine what causes someone to behave as they do? We can ask our students: do all methods in psychology determine causality? Is psychology only interested in statistically determined causality?
Causality – 2 key points to help students 1. Do the following fit within the remit of psychology? Examining & explaining how people think, feel and behave Finding out what influences what people think, feel and behave Exploring how people understand the world Examining how ideas, events, memories, thoughts, feelings are represented in the ‘mind’ Determining the consequences of thinking, feeling and behaving in certain ways Asking questions about how people behave, think or feel Depending on the specific question, psychologists should choose an appropriate method to answer it. Shift focus from causality to good evidence: what would constitute good evidence for the question I have posed?
Causality – 2 key points to help students 2. Importance of meaning in understanding ‘causation’ Psychology’s subject matter does not always lend itself to being conceptualised in terms of variables nor can direct action between variables always be determined. Sometimes psychologists want to think about the meaning of behaviour (e.g. traffic lights and stopping behaviour) Sometimes psychologists are interested in people’s own attribution of meaning and causality to events and experiences.
R & V – key points to help students Some qualitative researchers reject these criteria, whilst others work with them in tailored ways Reject validity and reliability as resting on assumptions of objectivity and aim to reduce bias (Lyons & Coyle, 2007). Woolgar (1998) problems of indexicality : localised meaning so reliability / replicability as meaningless inconcludability: no definitive judgement on findings so validity meaningless reflexivity : researcher involved so objectivity meaningless
R & V – key points to help students Alternatives interview data has high ecological validity. Replace validity, reliability and generalisability with credibility, dependability (systematicity) and transferability (Henwood & Pidgeon, 1992). deviant case analysis, reflexivity, transparency, triangulation, coherence of a collection of studies differing quality criteria depending on epistemology and methodology
Generalisablity Quantitative – sampling is all about parametric statistics and extrapolation to a population Qualitative – also uses different conceptualisations of sampling and exptrapolation Theory building Divergent (negative) case analysis Purposive/theoretical sampling Why is this hard? What are the challenges?
Objectivity and Subjectivity (& Writing Style) What are the challenges of teaching students about objectivity and subjectivity in relation to qualitative methods? What can we do to make this easier? What is the link between our views on objectivity- subjectivity and writing style?
Group Discussion 15 minutes to consider Objectivity/Subjectivity and Generalisability Why are these concepts hard? What strategies can we use to help students understand them?
Important thinking before teaching Know the primary goals you have for teaching Improve basic knowledge? Promote an open minded approach to alternatives? Generate excitement? Dispel myths? Applicability to real world? Know your students What do students already know that may be helpful here? What have they never encountered before? Know the appropriate standards Students will rise to meet the level of your expectations (Brewer, 2002).
What are you teaching? “Like scientific disciplines, the knowledge base of psychology has a relatively short shelf life. Showing students only the facts of psychology teaches them little about how psychologists developed such knowledge, how to evaluate its merits and applications, and how psychologists, or for that matter, students, might consider expanding it. A more effective strategy is to teach students how to think critically about psychological knowledge so they can use information in creative and practical ways to deepen their understanding of both knowledge and the science that produced it” (Halpern, 2003).