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Most of the time, qualitative research uses a combination of observation and interviewing! Methods used in qualitative data collection- I. Key informants.

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Presentation on theme: "Most of the time, qualitative research uses a combination of observation and interviewing! Methods used in qualitative data collection- I. Key informants."— Presentation transcript:


2 Most of the time, qualitative research uses a combination of observation and interviewing! Methods used in qualitative data collection- I. Key informants – Can be selected purposively or randomly. A. Key informants are persons who are asked to provide critical information which will contribute to an understanding of the situation. B. An initial step in this approach involves the selection of informants C. Techniques to secure information from informants includes the following: 2. In-depth personal interviews – involves the use of a few open-ended questions. Interviewer may choose to not deviate from or add to pre-determined questioned (Structured interview) OR choose a structure in which the interviewer may add questions based upon the type of info that arises from the initial questions (Semi-structured). Usually possess the following qualities: Respondents free to answer however they choose, is usually in-depth, there is a two way flow of information, interviewer is free to re-direct based upon responses. All data is recorded (Taped or written) This is known as Thick description. It is difficult to do more than 8 to 30 of these. 3. Telephone interviews – Often survey format. Usually limited to mostly closed-ended questions and no more than one or two open-ended ?. 4. Mailed questionnaires –surveys usually used with quantitative data

3 Here is what don Ratcliff ( – a qualitative researcher - has to say about in-depth interviews: “Good qualitative interviews have lots of open-ended questions, most of which are formed prior to the interview. I personally like questions that come out of observations better than those created out of the student's imagination. Sometimes, though, good questions emerge during an interview because of what has been said by the one interviewed. Usually I'd go with the flow and ask the emergent questions, if it's appropriate. Transcribing interviews can be done several ways. Word-for-word transcriptions are probably best, but they are laborious. If you are well funded, this can be hired out. But there is value in the researcher listening to interviews, as the researcher may be able to figure out a muffled word that a transcriptionist cannot. Also, the interviewer may learn how to better interview by listening to his or her mistakes. It is also possible to use word- for-word transcriptions of some sections and summarize others when typing up the interviews. It is also possible to listen to the tape of the interview several times in order to better discover what sections are important enough to transcribe, which sections need to be summarized, and which sections should be ignored. But keep the tape--later in the research you may find that what was not typed was indeed more important than you thought! It is even possible to code directly from the tape--there are computer programs that allow you to connect a cassette player or even a videotape player directly to the computer, so that time markers and even your transcription can be added to the audio or video data.”

4 4. Direct observations – this is the one that you will use for the ‘feasibility evaluation’ – some examples *Site visits – often occurs one or two times. Data recorded, mostly by several independent observers *Participant/observer – researcher attends program regularly in an effort to de- sensitize staff from observer role and also to be able to observe/record on a regular basis. Taken from Anthropology – often referred to as ethnography. *Observing in accordance with Model standards, Policy standards, Best Practice standards, proscribed protocols etc. Here elements of the program are compared with particular standards for operation. *Observing in accordance with with Literature review. Here the program is compared with what is recommended in the literature. (Same as using an expert). *Case study – a particular form of participant observer data collection in which the person seeing the client is often the main data collector, alone or in cooperation with researcher. Involves thick description may or may not use measures. Different from “SSRD” which uses measurement.

5 5.Semi-structured groups – combines interviewing with direct observation and group processes. Focus Groups and/or Nominal groups All of the above usually involves some type of “content analysis” in which the data is re-“viewed” or re-“read” as the observer looks for themes and commonalities in the data. May involve the counting of particular words or “like sentences”. Usually involves creating ‘categories’ for data or ‘coding’ of data. Often use more than one observer and attempt to establish inter-rater reliability.

6 IV. Unobtrusive measures – Type A - involves studying secondary data sources such things as records (Charts, files etc.), program documents, plans, staffing patterns, absentee rates, dropout rates etc. a record is something that is written and kept, usually on a regular basis; they attest to an event, occurrence etc. and are part of a larger collection of records. For example, an intake form, truancy report, discharge summary, progress notes etc are all records. Documents are things like mission statements, goals, brochures, psychological reports, court reports, annual budget etc. although they might sometimes be kept with program records, they are not considered a regular part of them. These can be a great source of info; even bad info!!! Often used in program monitoring and quality assurance. Unobtrusive measures – Type B - involves more creative things such as garbage, ashtray use, lounge use, patterns of wear on equipment. Referred to as unobtrusive because it is usually not noticed directly by staff. Often referred to as “non-reactive” measurement. I.e. In order to find out who was considered the most influential (informally & formally) member of a office, wear patterns on carpet were analyzed. The heaviest traffic was to the secretary of the office supervisor.

7 ******GENERAL STEPS IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH****** 1. Observe events/ask questions with open-ended answers. The beginning of data collection. The evaluator is the main data collection instrument 2. Record/log what is said and/or done. You cannot trust your memeory, write, audio or videotape 3. Interpret (personal reactions, write emergent speculations or hypotheses, monitor methods) OR Look for Regularities (analyze for patterns)

8 4. Return to observe, or ask more questions of people 5. [recurring cycles of 2-4--iteration] 6. Formal theorizing [emerges out of speculations and hypotheses] 7. Draw conclusions

9 10 POTENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OR QUAL;ITIES OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH. 1. Naturalistic - not manipulating situation, watch naturally occurring events, not controlling them. 2. Inductive - categories emerge from observing, creation and exploration centered, theories emerge from data. Often induce hypothesis, test it, then look for other possible explanations or additional hypothesis. 3. Holistic - look at total, what unifies phenomenon, it is a complex system, see overall perspective. Often research and academics study smaller and smaller parts and overlook big picture. Need to try to get larger picture, including the specific and unique context. But can look at specific variables too. 4. Thick description - lots of detail, lots of quotations. 5. Personal contact - share the experience, not trying to be objective outsider. Must know people to understand them, and gain insight by reflecting on those experiences. If try to be objective, probably won't understand their views (but might understand things about them). 6. Dynamic - constant shifting with the changing phenomenon and context: what method fits now and also use trial error (but don't get stuck in one approach that works best at one point in time). Realize things may unfold differently than expected, go with the flow. 7. Unique case selection - not as concerned about generalizeability (actually generalization is a cooperative venture of researcher and reader = researcher describes context fully and reader decides if new context is similar in crucial respects). 8. Context sensitivity - emphasize many aspects of social, historical, and physical context. 9. Empathic - trying to take a view of other person via introspection and reflection, yet non-judgmental. Not subjective in terms of my biases, not objective in terms of no bias, but taking on their perspective to the degree possible. How does reality appear to those studied. Yet also reporting own feelings and experiences as part of the data. Try to defer judgments, but freely admit own feelings (admitting biases and feelings adds to validity - not trying to hide them as sometimes occurs in quantitative). 10. Flexible design - you don't always specify it completely before research; variables and hypotheses and sampling and methods are at least partly emergent - needs to unfold. Need to be able to tolerate ambiguity. Trial and error with categories too - need to reformulate many times. "Recursive." Go from parts to whole and back to parts - cycle back and forth: pull it apart, then reconstruct, pull data apart again, make better reconstruction, etc. Also may need to immerse in social situation, then draw apart to reflect, then immerse again, etc. Use multiple methods, or many as feasible, as long as get better picture of what is happening and how it is understood - even use quantitative methods.

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