Presentation on theme: "How to write a publishable qualitative article"— Presentation transcript:
1 How to write a publishable qualitative article Kerstin Stenius, Klaus Mäkelä, Michal Miovsky, Roman Gabrhelik
2 Qualitative researchQualitative research “investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, and when” (Wikipedia). The often small but focused samples required to study social processes or reasons behind behavior can be gathered through participant or direct observation, interviews, and analysis of documents and materials.
3 Increasing demandQualitative studies used in policy evaluation, program implementationGrowing interest in mixed methods: two data sets (qualitative and quantitative) collected and analysed to complement each other
4 Special challengesQualitative writing demands the same general skills as quantitative articles, but prejudice and communication barriers are added challengesFew competent referees, fewer journals and ”quantitative” hegemony in science
5 Similarities and differences between quantitative and qualitative research Quantitative researchQualitative researchChoice of population is a theoretical taskApplies classification, deduction and interperationConceptualization and (often) classification of findings done before data collection – determines the interpretationUsually a pre-defined set of applicable methodsData set clearly deliminatedClear-cut analytical sequential operationsChoice of subject is a theoretical taskApplies classification, deduction and interpretationPre-conceptualization does not necessarily determine data-collection; collection and interpretation of data intertwinedMethods can change during the studyData set not always clearly demarcated and there are not always clear rules for data processingAnalytical steps not always easily described
6 Researchers’, referees’ and editors’ criteria for evaluating qualitative analyses Significance of the data set; contextualization and production conditionsSufficiency of the dataCoverage of the analysisTransparency and repeatability of the analysis
7 Common reasons for rejection of qualitative papers * Research question not clearly stated* Unclear structure of paper* Theories, methods and data analysis not consistent* Central concepts not presented or used consistently* Poor methodology* Not convincing rationale for size of dataset* Data set not contextualized; selection bias* Poor data collection (validity problems)* Methods and analysis not explained properly* Unsound conclusions or unfounded generalizations* Violations of ethical rules* Text too long
8 Format and structure of the paper If you target a specific journal, be sure to follow the format they recommendIf you want a wider choice of journals: choose a traditional structure for the article
9 Title of the article Focus on the research question Consider pointing to your data setGive realistic expectations
10 Research question Present it early on, maybe under a special subtitle Check that you don’t present a new research question later on in the textConcentrate on one question and formulate it so that it orients the readers interest and links it to your methods and ambitions: Do you explore, discover, present a perspective, raise consciousness, test a hypothesis etc?Readers are not as a rule interested in things like if and when you have changed your research question
11 Review of earlier research Shows that you want to establish your place in the research communityCover the culturally relevant literature, but do not limit yourself to thatShould not only be descriptive: position yourself in relation to earlier research. What has been missed or misinterpreted by earlier writers? Why do you want to build on someone else’s work?The literature review should lead to your theoretical and methodological position and choice of data. So choose the literature that has theoretical relevance
12 Presentation of methods and data Justify the choice of methods, explaining why alternatives were not chosenIf several methods, explain how they complement each otherDescribe the content of the method: readers will probably not know itShow that the method has been used systematically, on the whole data set. Use your central concepts consistentlyArgue for the size of your sample and be precise in describing it. Position it, but do so economically. Why this data set and not alternatives?What criteria did you use for picking the sample? What were the variations within the sample? If you use only a part of your total data, describe the rest of the data brieflyHow was the data produced and collected? How was the study introduced to the participants?Describe the analysis step by step. Consider giving a detailed description of one observation/item to show how it was done. Show how you argued for saturation, handled diversity and contradictonsDescribe how you handled your data (transcription, coding, grouping etc.)
13 ResultsMake it easy for the reader: link the presentation to the research question, following the logics of your theory and methods, with consistent conceptsPresent your data systematically: quotations, field notes and other documentation should be easy to identifyGive enough, but not too much, raw data. Avoid very short quotations. Use appendicesDo not present new kinds of data which were not introduced in the methods section. Be open about contradictions
14 DiscussionStart by repeating the research question and stating the main results in one sentence.How do your findings relate to earlier research (including quantitative studies)? Do your findings change the picture and understanding of anything? How can the results be generalised to other situations?What are the limitations of your study? Did problems with sample and data collection limit your ability to answer the research question? What data or methods could possibly have complemented it?What questions do you recommend for further research?
15 Some general advices Save your best data for scientific articles Choose the right journal: 30 addiction journals publish qualitative researchSuggest suitable referees