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Chapter 15 Qualitative Methods of Data Collection. Researcher using qualitative methods needs theoretical and social sensitivity Balance what is being observed with what is known Recognize subjective role of the researcher Think abstractly and make connections among data collected.

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Chapter 15 Qualitative Methods of Data Collection


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    1. Chapter 15Qualitative Methods of Data Collection • Researcher using qualitative methods needs theoretical and social sensitivity • Balance what is being observed with what is known • Recognize subjective role of the researcher • Think abstractly and make connections among data collected

    2. Field Interviewing • Method for discovering how people • Think and feel about their communication practices • Order and assess their world • Semidirected conversation • Goal is to uncover participant's point of view • More than just asking questions to get answers • Interviews can be formal, informal, or both

    3. Electronic Interviewing • Interviewing via email, website, or fax • Advantages • Low cost • Can reach geographically dispersed participants • Disadvantages • Difficult to develop rapport • Creates fictional social reality • Can’t check nonverbals • May take longer

    4. The Interview Process • Conceptualize the interview study • Review the topical and interview literature • Develop the purpose of your study • Develop research questions Design the interview • Decide how to find and select respondents • Determine how many respondents are needed • Generally enough when interviews are producing the same data

    5. The Interview Process • Conduct the interview • Select locations and times comfortable and accessible for respondents • Best done in pairs • One to interview; one to take notes • Establish context and frame for interview • Define situation, explain purpose, ask about taping the interview, ask if participant has any questions

    6. The Interview Process • Ask questions • Carefully construct questions to get the information you need or to prompt discussion • Prepare and use an interview guide • Ask relevant biographical questions to contextualize information • Some questions should allow respondent to tell his or her own story • Open questions are better than closed questions

    7. The Interview Process • Conclude the interview • Debrief the participant • Summarize main points and new information • Provide any information that was withheld from participant before interview • Ask if participant has any questions • Thank the participant • Transcribe the interview

    8. Strengths Face-to-face setting allows youto probe and follow up Can collect data on behavior/events you cannot observe Limitations Interviews produce an enormous amount of data Participant can stray off course Participant may be hesitant to talk Strengths and Limitationsof Interview Research

    9. Focus Groups • Facilitator-led group discussion • Usually 5 to 10 participants • 60 to 90 minute group discussion • Respondents encouraged to interact with one another • Not a decision-making group • Distinguish research focus group from marketing focus group

    10. Selecting Focus Group Participants • Based upon research question • Select strangers who possess similar characteristics • Use screening questions to qualify participation • Motivate those selected to participate • Overrecruit by 20%

    11. Conducting Focus Group Research • Researcher decides level of structure and how conversation will be encouraged • In 90 minutes or less • Introduce participants • Serve refreshments • Conduct discussion • Summarize what was said as feedback to participants

    12. Focus Group Moderator • May not be the researcher • Someone with whom participants can identify • Someone who is perceived as credible • Have the communication skills to gently guide a group’s discussion • Not an interviewer • Not a participant

    13. Focus Group Outline • Standardized list of questions or topic to cover in each focus group • Usually a funnel from general to more specific • Opening questions should be broad • To encourage free discussion • Allow each participant to respond • Allow moderator to identify other issues

    14. Focus Group Data • Discussions are audio or videotaped • Tapes transcribed and verified • Moderator should make field notes immediately following each session

    15. Strengths Provides views and opinions in participants’ own words Allows consensus or conflict to emerge among participants Can generate information about same topic from different people Limitations Talkative or overly opinionated participants Hesitant to express opinions opposite of others’ opinions Researcher can over influence Easy to overgeneralize findings Focus GroupStrengths and Limitations

    16. Collecting Stories • People tell stories as a way of knowing, understanding, and explaining their lives • Stories organize and interpret their experiences • Reliable guide to beliefs, attitudes, and values • Uncover how isolated events are part of a larger environment • Uncover justifications people give for past actions

    17. Sources for Stories • From one-on-one interviews • Critical incident technique • Positive or negative memorable events • Exist naturally in everyday conversation • Through some form of participant observation • Print forms

    18. Strengths Richness and depth of data Collect data about communication events that would be difficult or impossible to observe Limitations Risk in asking participants to recall troubling or negative stories Generalizability of findings can be restricted Did participants embellish story? Strengths and Limitations of Narrative Research

    19. Ethnography • Study and representation of people and their interaction • Holistic description of interactants in their cultural or subcultural group • Researcher immersed into interaction field for long periods

    20. Types of Ethnography • Ethnography of communication • Focus on language or speech communities • Speaking is structured • Speaking is distinctive • Speaking is social • Autoethnography • Researcher is also participant • Highly personal and emotional

    21. Ethnographers • Share the environment of those being studied • Capture interaction as it occurs in its natural context • Experience firsthand the problems, background, language, rituals, and social relations of a specific group of people

    22. Characteristics of Ethnography • Researchers are unlikely to have well-developed research questions • Researcher must work with data that do not fit neatly into categories • Focus is on one or a small number of cases • Analysis produces deep, thick descriptions

    23. Entering the Scene • Gain entry by becoming part of the interaction environment • May already be a natural actor in that environment • Must become integrated so others interact normally with and toward the researcher

    24. Recording Observations • Often not be able to take notes while participating • Anything and everything is considered as data • Notes kept in detailed journals or diaries

    25. Strengths Rich deep description Researcher develops intimacy with communicators and context otherwise not possible Limitations Time commitment Researcher must be saturated in the data to write the research report Can over-identify with participants Strengths and Limitations of Ethnographic Research