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Chapter 3. Designing a Qualitative Study. Key Questions. What are the key characteristics of all qualitative studies? When do we use qualitative research? What is required to undertake a qualitative research study? How do we design a qualitative study?

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Chapter 3 l.jpg

Chapter 3

Designing a Qualitative Study

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e


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Key Questions

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

What are the key characteristics of all qualitative studies?

When do we use qualitative research?

What is required to undertake a qualitative research study?

How do we design a qualitative study?

What topics should be addressed in a plan or proposal for a qualitative study?


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Definitions: Denzin and Lincoln

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Qualitative research is a situated activity that locates the observer in the world. It consists of a set of interpretive, material practices that make the world visible. These practices transform the world. They turn the world into a series of representations, including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings and memos to self. At this level, qualitative research involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach to the world. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. (2005, p.3)


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Definitions: Creswell

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Qualitative research begins with assumptions, a worldview, the possible use of theoretical lens, and the study of research problems inquiring into the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem. To study this problem, qualitative researchers use an emerging qualitative approach to inquiry, the collection of data in a natural setting sensitive to the people and places under study, and data analysis that is inductive and establishes patterns or themes. The final written report or presentation includes the voices of participants, the reflexivity of the researcher, a complexity, description, and interpretation of the problem, and it extends the literature or signals a call for action. (Creswell 2007)


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Characteristics of Qualitative Research

3.5

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e


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Common Characteristics ofQualitative Research

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Natural setting

Researcher as key instrument

Multiple sources of data

Inductive data analysis

Participant meanings

Emergent design

Theoretical lens

Interpretive

Holistic account


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When to Use Qualitative Research

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

When there is a need to explore a problem or an issue

When there is a need to have complex detailed understanding of an issue

When there is a need to empower individuals to tell their story and hear their voices

When there is a need to write in a literary flexible style that conveys stories, plays or poems without the restrictions of formal academic structures of writing


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When to Use Qualitative Research

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

When there is a need to understand the contexts or settings of the participants

When there is a need to follow up quantitative research to help explain linkages in causal theories or models

When there is a need to develop theories when only partial or inadequate theories exist

When quantitative measures do not fit the problem


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What the Qualitative Researcher Must be Willing to Do

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Commit extensive time in the field

  • Engage in complex and time-consuming data analysis

    • Sorting through large amounts of data

    • Reducing data to a few themes or categories

  • Write long passages

    • The evidence must substantiate claims

    • Writer must show multiple perspectives

  • Participate in a form of social and human science research that does not have firm guidelines or specific procedures and is evolving and changing constantly


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Designing a Qualitative Study:A Social Science Framework

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Identify an issue or problem

Examine the literature related to the problem to locate deficiencies

Construct a purpose and write research questions

Gather data

Analyze data

Write the report

Are sensitive to ethical considerations

Use validity strategies


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Designing a Qualitative Study:Differences to Consider

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • The use of the literature

    • It is used to inform the questions asked

    • It may be reviewed late

    • It may only be used to help document the importance of the research problem

  • The use of theory

    • Ethnographers use cultural theory as a basic building block

    • Grounded theory develops theory during the process of research

    • A priori theories may be used in some disciplines


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What Constitutes a “Good” Qualitative Study

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

The study uses rigorous data collection procedures

The study recognizes philosophical assumptions and key characteristics of qualitative research

The study uses an accepted “approach” to qualitative research (such as advanced in this book)

The study has a single focus


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What Constitutes a “Good” Qualitative Study

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

The study includes detailed methods

The study uses multiple levels of analysis

The study is written persuasively

The study demonstrates reflexivity of the author(s)

The study is ethical


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Writing Formats for a Qualitative Proposal or Plan

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Scientific approaches

Storytelling

Performances

Poems

Some structures contain a theoretical lens

Some structures serve to advocate for change

No one standard is accepted structure

Writing formats many times vary with the approaches to qualitative research


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Three Models of Writing Structures for Qualitative Proposals/Plans

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Structure without a theoretical lens or advocacy perspective (Creswell, 2003)

Structure with a theoretical lens and an advocacy perspective (Marshall & Rossman, 1999; Creswell, 2003)

Structure based on nine central arguments (Maxwell, 1996)


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A General Approach (Creswell, 2003)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Introduction

    • Statement of the problem (including literature)

    • Purpose of the study

    • Research questions

    • Delimitations and limitations of the study

    • Significance of the study

  • Procedures

    • Characteristics of qualitative research (optional)

    • Qualitative research strategy

    • Role of the researcher

    • Data collection procedures

    • Data analysis procedures

    • Verification procedures

    • Narrative structure


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A General Approach (Creswell, 2003)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Anticipated ethical issues

  • Significance of the study

  • Preliminary pilot findings

  • Appendices

    • Interview protocols

    • Observational protocols

    • Timeline

    • Proposed budget


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A Proposal That Includes a Theoretical Lens (Marshall & Rossman, 1999)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Introduction

    • Overview

    • Type and purpose

    • Potential significance

    • Framework and general research questions

  • Review of related literature

    • Theoretical traditions

  • Essays by informed experts (related research)


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A Proposal That Includes a Theoretical Lens (Marshall & Rossman, 1999)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Design and methodology

    • Overall approach and rationale

    • Site or population selection

    • Data-gathering methods

    • Data analysis procedures

    • Trustworthiness

    • Personal biography

    • Ethics and political considerations


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Advocacy/Participatory Format (Creswell, 2003)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Introduction

    • Statement of the problem (including relevant literature about the problem)

    • Advocacy/Participatory issue

    • Purpose of the study

    • The research questions

    • Delimitations and limitations of the study


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Advocacy/Participatory Format (Creswell, 2003)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Procedures

    • Characteristics of qualitative research (optional)

    • Qualitative research strategy

    • Role of the researcher

    • Data collection procedures (including collaborative approaches used and sensitivity toward the participants)

    • Data recording procedures

    • Data analysis procedures

    • Strategies for validating findings

    • Narrative structure of the report


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Advocacy/Participatory Format (Creswell, 2003)

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

  • Anticipated ethical issues

  • Significance of the study

  • Preliminary pilot findings

  • Expected advocacy/participatory changes

  • Appendices

    • Interview protocols

    • Observational protocols

    • Timeline

    • Proposed budget


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Adaptation of Maxwell’s (1996) Approach

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

We need to better understand… (the topic).

We know little about… (the topic).

I propose to study…

The setting and participants are appropriate for this study.

The methods I plan to use will provide the data I need to answer the research questions.


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Study Proposal Outline: Adaptation of Maxwell’s (1996) Approach

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e

Analysis will generate answers to these questions.

The findings will be validated by…

The study poses no serious ethical problems.

Preliminary results support the practicability and value of the study.


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Chapter 3

Designing a Qualitative Study

Creswell Qualitative Inquiry 2e


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