Introduction to qualitative research
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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

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Introduction to qualitative research

Introduction to Qualitative Research

Aaron Louie, User Experience Architect


Introduction to qualitative research

  • PURPOSE

  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?

  • RESEARCH DESIGN

  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY

  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • ANALYZING DATA

  • RESOURCES


Introduction to qualitative research

  • 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


Introduction to qualitative research

  • PURPOSE

  • WHY QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?

  • RESEARCH DESIGN

  • VALIDITY & RELIABILITY

  • WRITING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • ANALYZING DATA

  • RESOURCES


The purpose of qualitative research is

The purpose of qualitative research is…


To make sense of reality

…to make sense of reality…


In a valid and reliable fashion

…in a valid and reliable fashion.


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


Introduction to qualitative research

  • 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.


Introduction to qualitative research

  • 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


Validity vs understanding

Validity vs. Understanding


How does the subject view you

Executive

Upper management

Supervisor

How does the subject view you?


Introduction to qualitative research

  • 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


Introduction to qualitative research

  • 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


Introduction to qualitative research

  • 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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