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Introduction to Qualitative Research. Aaron Louie, User Experience Architect. PURPOSE WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH? RESEARCH DESIGN VALIDITY & RELIABILITY WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ANALYZING DATA RESOURCES. PURPOSE WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH? RESEARCH DESIGN VALIDITY & RELIABILITY

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introduction to qualitative research

Introduction to Qualitative Research

Aaron Louie, User Experience Architect

slide2
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
slide3
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
what this presentation will do
What this presentation will do
  • Lay the basic groundwork for gaining skills in user research
  • Provide useful guidelines for writing interview questions
  • Point you to resources for deeper study in qualitative research methods
what it won t do
What it won’t do
  • Substitute for a college course on the subject
  • Make you an expert
slide6
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
describing reality
Describing reality
  • Reality is complex.
  • All real problems are “wicked” problems.
  • Two ways to approach it:
    • Quantify it. Then construct mathematical models describing it.
    • Experience it qualitatively. Then make sense of it.
quantitative vs qualitative
Controlled environment

Experimentation

Deductive

Numbers

Researcher is objective

Natural/complex environments

Interaction

Inductive

Words

Researcher is a participant

Quantitative vs. Qualitative
the scientific method
The Scientific Method

Hypothesize

Experiment

Analyze

Data

Refine

Hypothesis

quantitative research
Quantitative Research

Hypothesize

Experiment

Analyze

Data

Refine

Hypothesis

Predict outcome & design experiment to test outcome

Collect measurements in a controlled environment

Apply statistical calculations

Identify patterns, revise assumptions

qualitative research
Qualitative Research

Hypothesize

Experiment

Analyze

Data

Refine

Hypothesis

Identify assumptions & formulate research questions

Collect data via observation, interviews, surveys, etc.

Count, classify, & structure data

Identify themes, revise assumptions

slide15
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
research design
Research Design
  • Determine scope
    • What you’re researching
    • What you’re not
  • Identify assumptions
    • Models from literature
    • Researcher’s biases
  • Draft research questions
  • Choose your methods
    • Data collection methods
    • Analysis methods
framing research questions
Framing Research Questions
  • List what you expect to find out, based on the scope and your assumptions.
  • For each finding, write a question (or series of questions) that must be answered to support or invalidate the finding.
  • Determine dependencies (which questions must be answered first).
qualitative data collection methods
Qualitative Data Collection Methods
  • Surveys
    • Pros: quantifiable, lower chance of affecting subject
    • Cons: no interaction with subject, nuances of emotion or environment lost
  • Naturalistic observation
    • Pros: gain understanding of environment without interfering with subject
    • Cons: very little interaction with subject, no insight into subject’s mental processes
  • Contextual inquiry (shadowing, on-site interviews, think-aloud, etc.)
    • Pros: balanced level of interaction with subject, insight into subject’s thoughts in context of tasks and environment
    • Cons: researcher’s physical presence can affect subject’s behavior
  • Ethnography (embedded research)
    • Pros: maximum level of interaction with subject, researcher gains deep understanding by becoming a subject, subjects treat researcher as peer
    • Cons: time- and cost-prohibitive
analysis methods
Analysis Methods
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Content Analysis
  • Narrative Analysis
  • Strategic Analysis
  • Workflow Analysis
  • Task Analysis
  • Business Analysis
  • Cognitive Work Analysis
  • Systems Analysis
  • Grounded Theory
  • etc.
slide20
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
good research design
Good research design
  • Maximize validity
    • Conclusions are true
  • Maximize reliability
    • Findings are repeatable
  • Relatively easy to do in quantitative research
  • Impossible to do in qualitative research
threats to validity
Threats to validity
  • Changes in environment
  • Changes in society
  • Effects of time
  • Changes in person
  • Bias in subject
  • Interaction between subjects

(In other words, stuff you can’t control.)

threats to validity stuff you can control
Threats to validity(stuff you CAN control)
  • Bias in researcher
  • Interaction between researcher and subject
how does the subject view you

Executive

Upper management

Supervisor

How does the subject view you?
slide26
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
composing an interview script
Composing an Interview Script
  • List what must be known in order to answer each research question
  • For each item in that list, write a question
  • Organize the questions into categories
  • Sort general  specific within each category
phrasing questions
Phrasing Questions
  • Ask open questions for general questions
    • “what”, “why”, “when”, “how”, “who”
  • Ask closed questions for specific questions
    • “how often”, “how many”
  • Reserve yes/no questions for branching points in interview script

(i.e., a line of questioning dependent on a previous answer)

    • “Have you ever done X? If so, how did you feel about…”
refining interview questions
Refining Interview Questions
  • Remove biased or charged language
    • “What do you think about the problems with the intranet”
  • Avoid asking leading questions
    • “Wouldn’t it be better if you did it this way?”
  • Be aware of your own biases!
    • “How have consultants like Ascentium helped you get your job done better?”
  • Structure questions to facilitate data analysis
conducting the interview
Conducting the Interview
  • Gain informed consent from the interviewee
  • Record audio/video whenever possible
  • Remain open-minded – don’t think too much
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Avoid reacting too much (negatively or positively) to the interviewee’s responses
  • Take prodigious notes
  • Write up notes immediately after interview
slide31
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
analyzing the data
Analyzing The Data
  • Go through notes & transcript
    • Identify frequent keywords
    • Categorize responses
    • Look for patterns
  • Match keywords, categories, and patterns to models and assumptions
slide33
PURPOSE
  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
  • RESEARCH DESIGN
  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY
  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • ANALYZING DATA
  • RESOURCES
resources
Resources
  • Books
    • The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth, Joseph M. Williams, Gregory G. Colomb [link]
    • Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences by Bruce L. Berg [link]
    • Cognitive Work Analysis: Toward Safe, Productive, and Healthy Computer-Based Work by Kim J. Vicente [link]
  • Web sites
    • Cognitive Work Analysis: Toward Safe, Productive, and Healthy Computer-Based Work by Kim J. Vicente [link]
    • Qualitative Research Consultants Association: FAQs about Qualitative Research [link]
    • Association for Information Systems: Qualitative Resarch in Information Systems [link]
    • UsabilityNet: Tools and methods [link]
    • UW Libraries: Lit Reviews, Research Methods… [link]
    • Virginia Tech: Annotated Bibliography on Qualitative Research Methodology [link]
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