EQL 671: QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD IN EDUCATION (Chapters 3 – 6) Facilitator: Prof Dr Chang Lee Hoon
Types of Qualitative Research Methods
- Ethnography (Chapter 3)
- Case study (Chapter 4)
- Action research (Chapter 5)
- Generic qualitative research (Chapter 6)
- focuses on studying the culture of the school community - socio-cultural interpretation on what you observe
- Ethnographic research is especially appropriate when:
- to know “why” people behave in a certain way over a period of time
- to understand a phenomenon in its natural setting
- to know how, when and why people behave the way they do when they interact with others in a particular setting or situation (i.e. social interaction)
- want data to support your understanding of the complexity of society
Slide 3 Slide 4
FEATURES OF THE ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH METHOD
WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH?
(A) The “How” - Wolcott (1999) ethnographic research procedures require three things
themes or perspectives.
- samples are small.
- “convenience sampling” and “snowball technique”
- gain access to as wide a range of individuals
- the issue of time and context
C) RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- enter a setting without any research question in mind (?)
- having research question or at least guiding questions is a good idea
- research questions may change in the course of the research as more is learned.
D) WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE RESEARCHER IN ETHNOGRAPY?
- Bryman (2004) role of the researcher is different according to:
1) Open fieldsite and covert role
2) Open fieldsite and overt role
3) Closed fieldsite and overt role
4) Closed fieldsite and covert role
- Ethics issues involved where the overt role is less problematic.
E) HOW DOES THE RESEARCHER GAIN ACCESS TO THE FIELDSITE?
F) WHAT ARE FIELDNOTES?
- Note-taking are done at two levels.
1) surface level
2) observer’s comments
- Spradley (1980) suggested a checklist
- extensive fieldwork by the researcher.
- rich, detailed description - does not attempt to summarise, generalise or hypothesise. The notes capture and describe what happened to permit interpretations, and most of all, to later infer cultural meaning.
- Neuman and Wiegand (2000) suggested some rules for note-taking
G) THE INTERVIEW IN ETHNOGRAPY
The following are some important points to consider when conducting interviews:
- establish rapport & be a good listener.
- Choose settings – relax and willing to talk openly.
- what you want to learn from the interview? - list of possible questions
- If goes of at a tangent in answering a question, listen for a while
- record important information
- Tape the interview to capture nonverbal clues
- H) HOW TO END THE FIELDWORK?
- ethnographic saturation
- manage the process in a proper way.
- she or he must keep the promise
- provide good explanations for departure.
- ethical commitments must not be forgotten e.g. confidentiality
I) IS ETHNOGRAPHY OBJECTIVE?
- not objective research but an interpretive effort
- The following are some arguments put forward to support the ethnographic method:
- subscribe to some form of “cultural relativism”.
- ethnographers are expected to be “reflexive” (note that it is different from ‘reflective) in their work. Tell the readers upfront your background and experiences!
- in depth view of people’s behaviours, beliefs, values and feelings over a long period of time - ethnographic conclusions are arrived at only over lengthy consideration.
WHAT IS ACTION RESEARCH?
- encourages the practitioner to be reflective of own practice with the aim of improving the system (McNiff, 1994).
- based on the belief that practitioner is the best judge of own practice.
- helps the teacher to bridge the gap between theory and practice
- According to Guskey (2000), educational problems and issues are best identified and investigated where the action is, i.e. at the classroom and school level.
- Carr and Kemmis (1986) - self-reflective enquiry
- O’Brian (1998) - learning by doing
- McNiff (1994),- be aware of their own practice (reflective)
- Ferrance (2000) - examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research.
WHAT IS NOT ACTION RESEARCH?
- is not problem-solving or consulting but rather a quest for knowledge about how to improve.
- is not about learning why we do certain things, but rather how we can do things better. It is about how we can change our instruction to impact students.
- on turning the people involved into researchers (O’Brian, 1998).
- researcher makes no attempt to remain objective, but openly acknowledges his or her bias towards the subjects or participants
- has a social dimension whereby the research takes place in real-world situations, and aims to solve real concerns.
THE ORIGINAL WORK OF KURT LEWIN
B) ACTION RESEARCH MODEL BY SUSMAN
C) ACTION RESEARCH MODEL BY KEMMIS AND McTAGGART (1986)
Techniques for Observation*(Kember, D. & Kelly, M. 1993. Improving teaching through action research. Campbelltown: HERDSA
Diagnosis of conceptions
- Types of Action Research (Ferrance (2000)
- Individual Teacher Research
- Collaborative Action Research
- School-Wide Action Research
- District-Wide Action Research
- Ethics in Action Research (Richard Winter, 1996)
WHAT IS A CASE STUDY?
- Miles and Huberman (1994)
- to qualify as a case study, you have to state the boundary or delimit what you want to study - limit the number of people you intend to interview, you have to limit the amount of time you intend to spend.
- “If there is no end, actually or theoretically, to the number of people who could be interviewed or to observations that could be conducted, then the phenomenon is not bounded enough to qualify as a case (Merriam, 1998, p.28).
- an “instance drawn from a class” (Adelman, Jenkins & Kemmis,1983) or “action” (MacDonald & Walker,1977)
- could a individual child in the classroom, a classroom of preschool children, a low achieving high school or a specific remedial programme in reading
- study in depth because it is intrinsically interesting, to get a full understanding of the phenomenon, uncover the distinct characteristics of the phenomenon
- Yin (1994) - most appropriate in situations in which it is impossible to separate the phenomenon studied from its context (i.e. the child’s behaviour in relation to other children in the playground).
Characteristics of case study method used in qualitative research Merriam (1998),
- Particularistic – focus on a particular individual, group, event, programme or phenomenon.
- Descriptive – a case study can illustrate the complexities of a situation, influence of people, and influence of time on the phenomenon.
- Heuristic – a case can explain the reasons for a problem or issue (i.e. what happened and why).
- Table 1: Summary of Moustakas' core processes of heuristic inquiry(Moustakas, 1990, p. 15-27)*
Identify with the focus of the inquiryThe heuristic process involves getting inside the research question, becoming one with it, living it. Self dialogueSelf dialogue is the critical beginning, allowing the phenomenon to speak directly to one's own experience. Knowledge grows out of direct human experience and discovery involves self-inquiry, an openness to one's own experience. Tacit knowingIn addition to knowledge that we can make explicit, there is knowledge that is implicit to our actions and experiences. This tacit dimension is ineffable and unspecifiable, it underlies and precedes intuition and can guide the researcher into untapped directions and sources of meaning. IntuitionIntuition provides the bridge between explicit and tacit knowledge. Intuition makes possible the seeing of things as wholes. Every act of achieving integration, unity or wholeness requires intuition. IndwellingThis refers to the conscious and deliberate process of turning inward to seek a deeper, more extended comprehension of a quality or theme of human experience. Indwelling involves a willingness to gaze with unwavering attention and concentration into some aspect of human experience. FocussingFocussing is inner attention, a staying with, a sustained process of systematically contacting the central meanings of an experience. It enables one to see something as it is and to make whatever shifts are necessary to make contact with necessary awareness and insight. Internal frame of referenceThe outcome of the heuristic process in terms of knowledge and experience must be placed in the context of the experiencer's own internal frame of reference, and not some external frame
Merriam (1988) defines ‘a qualitative case study as an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single instance, phenomenon, or social unit (p. 21). The case study can be:
- Descriptive qualitative case study
- Interpretive qualitative case study
- Evaluative qualitative case study
TECHNIQUES FOR GATHERING DATA
- Case studies can be either a single-case design or a multiple-case design.
According to Yin (1994),
- a single-case design
- Multiple-case designs
- The following are some types of data collection techniques employed in case studies (Stake, 1995 and Yin, 1994):
- Interviews: - Closed or Structured Interviews and Open-Ended Interviews. .
- Observations: direct observation of events and behaviours as well as participant-observation
- Documents: These could be letters, memos, agendas, administrative documents, newspaper articles and any other relevant documents.
- Physical Artefacts: These are objects collected from the setting which could be products made by students and other individuals, the objects used such as tools or instruments.
STEPS IN USING THE CASE STUDY METHOD
Yin (1994) identified the following steps in conducting any case study.
- The first relates to the research questions which most likely to be “how” and “why” questions.
- Second relates to the unit of analysis which could be an individual, a group of individuals, or an organisation.
- Third relates to linking the data collected with the research questions.
- Fourth relates to the interpretation of findings. A useful technique is “pattern-matching’ where data collected from the case may be related to some theoretical proposition (Campbell, 1975).
- Step 1:Determine and Define the Research Questions
Step2: Select the Cases and determine Data Gathering and Analysis techniques
Step 3: Prepare to Collect the Data
Step 4: Collect Data in the Field
Step 5: Evaluate and Analyze the Data
Step 5: Prepare the Report
Figure 5.2 Steps in Using the Case Study Method
[source: Tellis, W. 1997.
Application of a case study methodology. The Qualitative Report,
Volume 3, Number 3]
WHAT IS THE GENERIC QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
- Thorne (1997) used the term “noncategorical qualitative research”; Sandelowski (2000) “fundamental qualitative method”; Merriam (1998) “generic qualitative method”; “basic interpretative qualitative study (2002).
- generic qualitative method is a method that “simply seeks to discover and understand a phenomenon, a process or the perspectives and worldviews of the people involved” (Merriam, 1998. p.11).
- does not have a guiding set of philosophic assumptions in the form of one established qualitative methodology.
- exhibits some or all of the characteristics of other methodologies or approaches but makes no claim to any particular qualitative method.
- will use the techniques of ethnography, the case study method, grounded theory and the techniques of action research, but does not claim it is either ethnography, case study, grounded theory or action research
GUIDELINES FOR THE GENERIC QUALITATIVE METHOD?
- may incorporate many of the elements of ethnography, action research and the case study, but cannot be considered to belong purely to any of these qualitative methods.
- focus is on the identification of patterns and categories with the aim of describing phenomena.
- Besides description, the data is interpreted to explain phenomena but not with the intention of building or developing theory.
- techniques that may be employed in a Generic Qualitative Method depending on the objectives of the study.
CHECKLIST FOR THE GENERIC QUALITATIVE METHOD [an adaptation of the Checklist by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, (2009, & Spencer, Ritchie, Lewis and Dillon, 2003]
1. Are you convinced that a qualitative approach appropriate?
2. Are you clear as to what your study seeks to do?
3. How defensible or rigorous is your research design or methodology?
4. How well was the data collection carried out?
5. Is the role of the researcher clearly described?
6. Did you clearly described the context?
7. Were the methods reliable?
8. Is the data analysis sufficiently rigorous?
9. Are the data „rich‟?
10. Is the analysis reliable?
11. Are the findings convincing?
12. Are the findings relevant to the aims of the study?
13. Are the conclusion adequate?
ETHICAL GUIDELINES IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
- WHY IS RESEARCH ETHICS IMPORTANT IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
- WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH ETHICS PRINCIPLES?
THREE core principles, originally articulated in National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioural Research., The Belmont Report (1979) form the universally accepted basis for research ethics.
- Respect for persons .
- respect for communities (Weijer, Goldsand & Emanuel, 1999).
- WHAT IS INFORMED CONSENT?
- HOW DO WE ACHIEVE INFORMED CONSENT FOR QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
- ARE THE CONCLUSION ADEQUATE?
- HOW CLEAR AND COHERENT IS THE REPORTING OF ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS?
- All qualitative research methods share some common characteristics but different qualitative methods differ in terms of form and purpose
- Design of qualitative study
- framing of research problem/questions (from general to specific)
- selection of sample (information-rich cases, access)
- collection of data (interviews, observations and documents – transcripts, photos, videos, field notes, journals, diary, log )
- analysis of data (simultaneously with data collection, different strategies depending on research design e.g. constant comparative method, narrative analysis, organising scheme/typology/framework for concepts/themes/categories/patterns
- validity and reliability – triangulation
- ethics in research – informed consent
- writing up (no standard format)
- Which qualitative research design should I use for my thesis?
You decide and you tell your readers.