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Qualitative Research. Qualitative Research: A Philosophy of Knowing. Focuses on understanding from the perspective of whoever and whatever is being studied.

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Qualitative Research

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Qualitative Research

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research: A Philosophy of Knowing

  • Focuses on understanding from the perspective of whoever and whatever is being studied.

  • Rather than try to establish “objective” descriptions and relationships as quantitative research does, qualitative studies are based on the assumption that reality is subjective and dependent on context

  • There are “multiple realities’ that need to be described in detail to result in a complete and deep understanding of the phenomena being investigated

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Characteristics of Qualitative Research

  • Search for meaning

  • Constructed reality

  • Natural settings

  • Rich narrative description

  • Direct data collection

  • Concern with process

  • Inductive data analysis

  • Participant perspectives

  • Emergent research design

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Quantitative? Qualitative?

  • Quantitative research involves the use of numerical indices to summarize, describe and explore relationships among traits—reliance on control, statistics, measurements, and experiments

  • Qualitative research—the emphasis is on conducting studies in natural settings using mostly verbal descriptions, resulting in stories and case studies, not statistical reports

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research Designs

  • Ethnography

    • Involves direct engagement with the participants and environments--immersion into the culture being investigated

    • In-depth description and interpretation of behavior within a culture or social group

    • Start with a straightforward description of the setting and events--no footnotes, just facts

    • Analysis--search for “patterned regularities” in the data

    • Conclusions are based on a synthesis of the data

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research Designs

  • Case study

    • In-depth analysis of one or more “bounded systems”

    • A case is study is“...an 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.” Creswell (1998)

    • “A qualitative case study is an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single instance, phenomenon or social unit.” Stake (1994)

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Case study

  • Some examples of cases are...

    • an innovative program

    • all schools in Sweden

    • a classroom

    • graduate students at KSU

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Case study

  • What is the intent of the case study?

    • Descriptive case study:

      • to give a detailed account

    • Interpretive case study:

      • to develop conceptual categories–to illustrate, support or challenge theoretical assumptions

    • Evaluative case study:

      • description, explanation, and judgment; good to use when you can’t evaluate using normal standards

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research Designs

  • Phenomenology

    • Examines in depth the experiences and perceptions of selected participants

    • Purpose: to understand the essence, the meaning of participants’ perspectives

    • Discovery oriented: focuses on a systematic investigation of the content of consciousness (Van Manen, 1990)

    • Researchers seek the essential, invariant structures, or the research participants’ consistent patterns of relating to the world, as well as the essence of the central underlying meaning of experience. (McPhail, 1995)

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research Designs

  • Grounded Theory

    • Purpose: to discover or generate a theory that pertains to a specific entity or phenomenon

    • Grounded in data from the field, especially in actions, interactions, and social process of people

    • The researcher recognizes that the primary outcome of the study is a theory with specific components: a central phenomenon, causal conditions, strategies, conditions and context, and consequences.

    • Usually the theory is related through a model

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research Designs

  • Critical Studies

    • Designed to provide alternative perspectives on contemporary societal problems

    • Focus on exposing social manipulation and oppressive social structures to advocate changes in social systems

    • Researcher approaches research with the belief that his/her assumptions are important determinants of what is perceived and concluded

    • Used with critical, postmodern, racial, feminist theory

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Qualitative Research Designs

  • Biography

    • A study of an individual and his/her experiences as told to the researcher or found in documents and archival material (sometimes through interviews)

    • The life story of an individual is written by someone other than the individual being studies using archival documents and records

    • There are varying types of biography including Classical biography and Interpretive Biography

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Information is gathered from…

  • Individuals

  • Groups

  • Documents

  • Existing data bases and

  • Other sources

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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Steps in research(may vary depending on the nature of the study)

  • Frame the initial question or problem

  • Determine what previous research says about the question or problem

  • Frame research questions

  • Design a plan for collecting data to address the question or problem

  • Analyze the results of gathered data

  • Generate conclusions

EDUC 7741/Paris/Terry

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