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SWRK 171. Qualitative Research in Social Work. What is qualitative research?. Definition of Qualitative Research. Rossman & Rallis (2003) define qualitative research as: “Naturalistic and interpretive, and it draws on multiple methods of inquiry” (p. 6).

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Swrk 171

SWRK 171

Qualitative Research in Social Work



Definition of qualitative research
Definition of Qualitative Research

  • Rossman & Rallis (2003) define qualitative research as:

    “Naturalistic and interpretive, and it draws on multiple methods of inquiry” (p. 6).


In research there are two distinct types of research or worldviews paradigms
In research there are two distinct types of research or worldviews/paradigms.

  • Qualitative (inductive method; incorporates values and perspectives of both researcher and participants).

  • Quantitative (deductive – reasoning from general theories to specific instances. Researchers are supposed to be objective.)


Common characteristics of qualitative research
Common characteristics of qualitative research: worldviews/paradigms.

  • Takes place in the natural world (rather than a laboratory).

  • Uses multiple methods.

  • Focuses on context (surroundings in which in occurs).

  • Is emergent rather than tightly prefigured (meaning not everything is structured or planned)

  • Is fundamentally interpretive (meaning that the researcher’s own perspective and experiences will influence how he or she interprets the data).


Other characteristics of qualitative research
Other characteristics of qualitative research worldviews/paradigms.

  • It is done for a purpose rather than just to develop new knowledge.

  • It is conducted to improve services, organizations, and communities or to achieve social justice!

  • The researcher also conducts studies to increase his or her understanding of the world.

  • Research is a process that involves developing research questions, designing and conducting studies, and writing up what you’ve learned.


Qualitative research
Qualitative research: worldviews/paradigms.

  • Involves interpretation of a situation, set of behaviors, or a setting.

  • Analysis must take place within a context – different findings may be found in different settings or situations.

  • Different researchers may view the same situation and obtain different results.

  • Assumes there is no one right or wrong answer.

  • Comes from a particular set of assumptions or theories about how research should take place.


Two important differences between qualitative quantitative research
Two important differences between qualitative & quantitative research:

  • In quantitative research, the researcher is supposed to be value-free or objective. In qualitative research, researchers are expected to have a point of view and their own values or perspectives influence how they analyze and present their findings. This is called subjective research.

  • Research is also conducted differently. Quantitative researchers use a theory to guide their research. Research involves hypothesis testing. Hypothesis are tested as to whether the theory is true. This is called deductive reasoning. Qualitative researchers may use a framework or approach to guide their studies. However, the theory does not determine what they find. Instead they use what they observe to develop new theories about how the world works. This is called inductive reasoning.


Three main types of data collection
Three main types of data collection research:

  • Interviews

  • Observation

  • Content analysis


There are different approaches and types of qualitative research
There are different approaches and types of qualitative research:

  • Text focuses on 3 types of qualitative research:

  • Descriptive studies

  • Evaluations or policy studies

  • Action research

  • [Fictional Characters in the Learning in the field book conduct each type of study]


We will also discuss a number of other approaches to qualitative research in this class
We will also discuss a number of other approaches to qualitative research in this class


Expectations for this class
Expectations for this Class: qualitative research in this class

  • Purchase Rossman & Rallis rather than Shaw & Gould text.

  • Class will be taught using lectures and exercises.

  • Course material is on instructor’s website http://zimmer.csufresno.edu/!donnah and Blackboard.

  • Additional readings can be downloaded from the Internet and the library’s electronic reserve system.


Assignments
Assignments qualitative research in this class

  • Observation.

  • Interviews and Analysis of Interview Data

  • Field study/group project.

  • Midterm (short answer & essay)

  • Final Exam (essay)

  • Attendance


Exercises for today
Exercises for today qualitative research in this class

  • Need two groups of volunteers to conduct observations either in the Free Speech Area or the Subway.

  • Take 5 minutes to write 4-6 sentences to write a description of an object (in your room, apartment, or office). Share your description with at least one other person in the class and compare the degree of detail used in the description.


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