Presentation on theme: "Managing Qualitative Research"— Presentation transcript:
1 Managing Qualitative Research Khalid Mahmood, PhDProfessor of Library & Information ScienceUniversity of the Punjab
2 AcknowledgementThis presentation is based on many books, notes, websites and presentations on the topic.The presenter pays his sincere gratitude to all authors, professors and experts for their efforts and contributions.
3 Agenda What is qualitative research? Qualitative traditions of inquiry Steps in qualitative studyEthical considerationsSamplingTypes of dataData collectionData analysisValidity, reliability and generalizability
5 Qualitative research… Allows the researcher to understand a problem or phenomenon from the perspectives of the people it involves.Reveals a complete picture of a certain research issue.Seeks to provide a rich understanding of a certain research issue.
6 In qualitative methods… Researcher collects data in a real environment.Researcher himself/herself is the key research tool.Focus of research is a process or activity itself, not just results of that process or activity.Data collected is most often verbal (non-numerical).Verbal data analysis (rarely numerical).
7 Comparison of quantitative and qualitative methods Multiple realitiesSingle realityReality is socially constructedReality is objectiveReality is context interrelatedReality is context freeHolisticReductionisticReasoning is inductiveReasoning is deductive and inductiveDiscovery of meaning is the basis of knowledgeCause-and-effect relationships are the bases of knowledgeDevelops theoryTests theory
8 Comparison of quantitative and qualitative methods (continued) Meaning of conceptsMeasurement of variablesProcess orientedOutcome orientedControl unimportantControl importantRich descriptionsPrecise measurement of variablesBasic element of analysis is wordsBasic element of analysis is numbersUniquenessGeneralizationTrustworthiness of findingsControl of error
11 BiographyThe study of an individual and her or his experiences as told to the researcher or found in documents and archival material.Life history—The study of an individual’s life and how it reflects cultural themes of the society.
12 Biography (continued) Oral history—The researcher gathers personal recollections of events, their causes, and their effects from an individual or several individuals.The researcher needs to collect extensive information about the subject of the biography.The writer, using an interpretive approach, needs to be able to bring himself or herself into the narrative and acknowledge his or her standpoint.
13 Historical researchStudies available data to describe, understand, and interpret past events.Uses primary sources of information.Does external and internal criticism of documents or artifacts.
14 PhenomenologyDescribes the meaning of the lived experience about a concept or a phenomenon for several individuals.Determines what an experience means for the persons who have had the experience and are able to provide a comprehensive description of it. From the individual descriptions, general or universal meanings are derived, in other words, the essences of structures of the experience.
15 Grounded theoryIntends to generate or discover a theory that relates to a particular situation.If little is known about a topic, grounded theory is especially useful.Because the theory emerges from the data, it is said to be grounded in the data.Data collection and analysis occur simultaneously, until “saturation” is reached.Data reviewed and coded for categories and themes.
16 EthnographyA description and interpretation of a cultural or social group or system.The researcher examines the group’s observable patterns of behavior, customs, and ways of life.Involves prolonged observation of the group, typically through participant observation.
17 Ethnography (continued) Field workKey informantsThick descriptionEmic (insider group perspective) and Etic (researcher’s interpretation of social life).Context important, needs holistic view.Needs grounding in anthropology.
18 Ethnography (continued) Many ethnographies may be written in a narrative or story telling approach which may be difficult for the audience accustomed to usual social science writing.May incorporate quantitative data and archival documents.
19 EthnologyCompares and analyzes the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the ethnic, racial, and/or national divisions of humanity.
20 Case studyAn exploration of a “bounded system” or a case (or multiple cases) over time through detailed, in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context.The context of the case involves situating the case within its setting which may be physical, social, historical and/or economic.
21 Symbolic interactionInvestigates how people construct meaning and shared perspectives by interacting with others.
23 General research question Select relevant site(s) and subjectsCollection of relevant dataInterpretation of dataConceptual and theoretical workTighter specification of the research questionCollection of further dataWrite up findings
26 Mutual respect and trust (prolonged interaction) Respect for social and cultural contextsVoluntary participationInformed consentBeneficence – doing good for others and preventing harmConfidentiality
28 Determining a sampleEven if it were possible, it is not necessary to collect data from everyone in a community.In qualitative research, the researcher needs to define and select a sample.The study’s research objectives and the characteristics of the study population determine which and how many people to select.
29 Sample size Usually smaller than quantitative study. Two general guidelines: the number of participants is sufficient when…the extent to which the selected participants represent the range of potential participants in the settingthe point at which the data gathered begin to be redundant (data saturation)
30 Sampling methods No probability sampling Three of the most common sampling methods are:Purposive samplingQuota samplingSnowball sampling
31 Purposive samplingPurposive sampling groups participants according to pre-selected criteria relevant to a particular research question.ex. Vietnamese businessmen in the USASample sizes depend on:Resources and time availableThe study’s objectivesIf the researcher needs a specific number of participants, quota sampling is better.
32 Quota sampling Quota sampling begins with two decisions: What characteristics?How many people?Characteristics are selected in order to find participants who have experience with or knowledge of the research topic.The researcher goes into the community and selects the predetermined number of people demonstrating the pre-selected characteristics.
33 Snowball sampling Snowball sampling is a form of purposive sampling. Participants refer the researcher to other potential participants.Snowball sampling is often used to find and recruit “hidden populations” – groups not easily accessible to researchers.
35 Audio recordings of conversations Video recordings of activities Written field notesAudio recordings of conversationsVideo recordings of activitiesDiary recordings of activities / thoughtsDocumentsDepth information on:thoughts, views, interpretationspriorities, importanceprocesses, practicesintended effects of actionsfeelings and experiences
37 Three data collection strategies: Participant observationIn-depth interviewsFocus group interviewsQualitative researchers may combine more than one method
38 Participant observation Intensive, usually long term, examination of a social group, an organization, etc.Researcher becomes a participant in the lives of group membersObserves their behavior and learns meaning systems (which are tied to language)Most closely associated with Ethnography, as developed in Classical AnthropologyNow done in a variety of disciplines
39 Participant observation (continued) Today most ethnographers take an overt rolei.e., their identity as a researcher is known to the people being studiedCovert participation (i.e., identity concealed from participants) is fraught with ethical issues
40 Steps involved in participant observation research Gaining entry into the groupDeveloping and maintaining rapportDeveloping a method for taking field notesIntegrating data collection and data analysis
41 Steps in participant observation: Gaining entry into the group Take into consideration the type of groupformal organizations require formal entry; involves letter writing, permission requests, etc.Informal groups – different strategy neededAccess may be gained through a gatekeeper (an individual with special status)Want to involve key informants (those who are most knowledgeable about the group)
42 Steps in participant observation: Developing/maintaining rapport Researcher must work hard to develop and maintain good relationships in the fielde.g., be sure not to become associated with one faction in a group or organizationResearcher could be blamed for problems that arise in the setting
43 Steps in participant observation: Strategies for taking field notes Include descriptions and interpretations of individuals, interactions, and eventsDistinguish descriptions from interpretationsRecord time and location of observations, as well as key information (weather, events happening and their significance)Keep theoretical memos – which are the tentative interpretations emerging and being assessed through further data collection
44 Field notes (continued) May not be possible or advisable to take notes while in the fieldImportant that they be done as soon after field observation as possibleNote-taking is time-consuming because it is integral to guiding the data collection and continuing the analysise.g., field notes for When Prophecy Failed were well over 1,000 typed pages
45 Steps in participant observation: Integrating data collection and analysis Organizing field notes into different types of files facilitates data analysisMaster field file – complete journal of field notes; number pages and include entry datesBackground, history file – subfile organizing background materialKey character files – subfiles on key players in the group or organizationAnalytic files – subfiles for different types of observations or relationships
46 In-depth interviewsSome studies cannot employ the participant observation methodIn-depth interviews allow participants to describe their experiences and the meaning of events taking place in their livesVerbatim quotes capture the language and meaning expressed by participantsInterviews are flexible and allow for probingInterview method is quite diverse, adaptive
47 In-depth interviews (continued) Three key elements for the interview method to be successful:Explicit purpose – researcher and informant are aware that the discussion has a purposeEthnographic explanations – researcher tries out explanations on the participants to see if they make senseEncourage the informants to use colloquial language, and teach the researcher its meaningEthnographic questions include:Descriptive questions – ask participants to describe their experiences (e.g., their ideas, circumstances, viewpoints, dilemmas, etc)Structural questions – ask participants how they organize their world (e.g., activities)Contrast questions – ask participants what is meant by specific terminology
48 Interview do’s and don’ts Do listen more and talk lessDo follow up on what is not clear and probe more deeply into what is revealedDon’t use leading questions; do use open-ended questions (“probes”)Don’t interrupt; do waitDo keep interviewee(s) focusedDon’t be judgmental about or react to an interviewee’s opinions, views, or beliefsDon’t engage in debate with an intervieweeDo record everything the interviewee says and note impressions of interviewee’s nonverbal behavior
49 Focus group interviews Interview format, but in a group setting6-12 participants with common experienceDates back to the 1940s – used to assess effectiveness of morale-boosting radio shows1970s onward – used by market researchers1980s onward – used by academicsTranscript of discussion is the dataPlus accompanying notesUse content analysis or grounded theory approach to analyze the data
50 Focus group interviews (continued) Strengths:Open-ended questionSpontaneously deal with issues as they ariseCost-effective method of collecting dataLess time-consumingWeaknesses:One or two participants may dominateNot done in a natural setting, so little “observation” to help understand the experience of the participants
52 Open codingSystematic codingAffinity diagramming
53 Open coding Treat data as answers to open-ended questions ask data specific questionsassign codes for answersrecord theoretical notes
54 Example: Calendar routines Families were interviewed about their calendar routinesWhat calendars they hadWhere they kept their calendarsWhat types of events they recorded…Written notesAudio recordings
55 Example: Calendar routines Step 1: translate field notes (optional)paperdigital
56 Example: Calendar routines Step 2: list questions / focal pointsWhere do families keep their calendars?What uses do they have for their calendars?Who adds to the calendars?When do people check the calendars?…
57 Example: Calendar routines Step 3: go through data and ask questionsWhere do families keep their calendars?
58 Example: Calendar routines Step 3: go through data and ask questionsCalendar Locations:[KI] – the kitchen[KI][KI][KI]Where do families keep their calendars?
59 Example: Calendar routines Step 3: go through data and ask questionsCalendar Locations:[KI] – the kitchen[CR] – child’s room[KI][CR]Where do families keep their calendars?
60 Example: Calendar routines Step 3: go through data and ask questionsCalendar Locations:[KI] – the kitchen[CR] – child’s room[KI][CR]Continue for the remaining questions….
61 Example: Calendar routines The result:list of codesfrequency of each codea sense of the importance of each codefrequency != importance
62 Example 2: Calendar contents Pictures were taken of family calendars
63 Example: Calendar contents Step 1: list questions / focal pointsWhat type of events are on the calendar?Who are the events for?What other markings are made on the calendar?…
64 Example: Calendar contents Step 2: go through data and ask questionsWhat types of events are on the calendar?
65 Example: Calendar contents Step 2: go through data and ask questionsTypes of Events:[FO] – family outing[FO]What types of events are on the calendar?
66 Example: Calendar contents Step 2: go through data and ask questionsTypes of Events:[FO] – family outing[AN] - anniversary[FO][AN]What types of events are on the calendar?
67 Example: Calendar contents Step 2: go through data and ask questionsTypes of Events:[FO] – family outing[AN] - anniversary[FO][AN]Continue for the remaining questions….
68 Reporting results Find the main themes Use quotes / scenarios to represent themInclude counts for codes (optional)
91 Threats to validity Observer bias Observer effects Invalid information resulting from the perspective the researcher brings to the study and imposes upon ite.g., studying one’s own cultureObserver effectsThe impact of the observer’s participation on the setting or the participants being studiede.g., people may do things differently
92 Strategies to enhance validity Intensive, long term involvementmore data, repeated observation and interviewsRich datafull and detailed descriptionsRespondent validationask them if the reporting is correctInterventioninteract with them and see how behavior changesSearching for negative cases and alternative explanationsTriangulationcollect data from a variety of settings and methodsQuasi-statisticse.g., frequency counts of the argumentComparisonmulticase, multisite studies
93 Reliability It is a quantitative measure. This concept is irrelevant in qualitative research.However, to test a qualitative study for reliability, you need to convert data into relevant numbers and determine efficacy based on the results.
94 GeneralizationA generalization is usually thought of as a statement or claim that applies to more than one individual, group, or situation.The value of a generalization is that it allows us to have expectations about the future.A limitation of qualitative research is that there is seldom justification for generalizing the findings of a particular study.Due to this problem, replication of qualitative studies becomes more important than for quantitative studies.