Presentation on theme: "Qualitative Field Research"— Presentation transcript:
1 Qualitative Field Research InterviewingFocus GroupsEthnographyCase StudiesGrounded TheoryEthnomethodology
2 Topics for Field Research Attitudes and behaviors best understood in a natural setting.Social processes over time.
3 Elements of Social Life Appropriate to Field Research Practices: talking, reading a bookEpisodes: divorce, crime, illnessEncounters: people meeting and interactingRole: occupations, family rolesRelationships: friendships, family
4 Elements of Social Life Appropriate to Field Research Groups: cliques, teams, work groupsOrganizations: hospitals, schools, CongressSettlements: neighborhoods, ghettoesSocial worlds: "wall street", "the sports world“Lifestyles/subcultures: urban, homeless (Wolcott)
5 Role of the Researcher Complete Observer (Secret Outsider) Participant as Observer (Recognized Outsider)Observer as Participant (Marginal Participant)Complete Participant (Full Participant)
6 Seven Stages of Interviewing ThematizingDesignInterviewingTranscribingAnalyzingVerifying and checking factsReporting
7 Advantages of Focus Groups Socially oriented research methodFlexibleHigh face validitySpeedy resultsLow in costIncreases your N
8 Disadvantages of Focus Groups Less control than individual interviews.Data can be difficult to analyze.Moderators must be skilled.Difference between groups can be troublesome.Groups are difficult to assemble.Discussion must be conducted in a conducive environment.
9 Ethnography Exploring a cultural group by: discovering understanding describing andinterpreting a way of life from the point of view of its participants
10 Ethnography Ethnographic studies offer: thick descriptions of cultural groupsa methodological approach for exploring cultures, symbols, and normsan acceptance of multiple realitiesHowever, they often involve ‘immersion’, and all the problems thereof ethnographic researchers also need to manage their own subjectivities.
11 Guidelines - Taking Research Notes Don’t trust your memory. Take notes while you observe.Take sketchy notes in the field and rewrite them later (as soon as possible), filling in the details.
12 Guidelines - Taking Research Notes Record everything.Things that don't seem important may turn out to be significant.Realize that most of your field notes will not be reflected in your final project.
13 The Desire to Delve Deeper Delving deeper can involve exploring the interactions, processes, lived experiences, and belief systems that can be found within individuals, institutions, cultural groups, and the everyday
14 Strengths of Field Research Permits a great depth of understanding.Flexibility - research may be modified at any time.Inexpensive (relative to)Has more validity than surveys or experiments
15 Weaknesses of Field Research Qualitative and not appropriate for statistical descriptions of populations.Small sample size (greatly influenced by outliers)Has potential problems with reliability since field research methods are often personal.
16 Working Towards Credibility Methods that allow researchers to ‘delve deeper’, often involve parameters not likely to lend themselves to assessment by ‘positivist’ criteria, i.e.)non-random samplesgenerating mainly qualitative datanatural settings rather than controlledsearching for holistic meaningmanaging the inherent biases of the researcherinductive analysisidiographic interpretation
17 Improving InterviewsTalk little, listen a lot (don’t lead the witness)Record AccuratelyBegin Writing EarlyLet reader’s “see” for themselves – primary dataReport Fully, even contradictory stuffBe candid (about subjectivity)Seek feedbackWrite accurately
18 Conducting Ethical Research Do as little harm as possibleYou are not in the position to assess level of harm.An agency/institution not directly connected to the research project or findings must assess the level of harm and the potential benefits.If harm is noticeable, then benefit must be greater.