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Qualitative Research An Introduction. AEF 801 Mary.Brennan@ncl.ac.uk. Qualitative Research.

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qualitative research an introduction

Qualitative ResearchAn Introduction

AEF 801


qualitative research
Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative research is an interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and sometimes counterdisciplinary field. It crosses the humanities and the social and physical sciences. Qualitative research is many things at the same time. It is multiparadigmatic in focus. Its practitioners are sensitive to the value of the multimethod approach. They are committed to the naturalistic perspective, and to the interpretative understanding of human experience. At the same time, the field is inherently political and shaped by multiple ethical and political positions.
  • Nelson et al’s (1992, p4)
qualitative research3
Qualitative Research
  • ‘Qualitative Research…involves finding out what people think, and how they feel - or at any rate, what they say they think and how they say they feel. This kind of information is subjective. It involves feelings and impressions, rather than numbers’
  • Bellenger, Bernhardt and Goldstucker, Qualitative Research in Marketing, American Marketing Association
qualitative research4
Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative research is multimethod in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter.
  • Qualitative Researchers study “things” (people and their thoughts) in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.
qualitative research5
Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative research involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials - case study, personal experience, introspective, life story, interview, observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts-that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individuals lives.
  • Deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand.
the qualitative researcher as bricoleur
The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur
  • Bricoleur
  • A ‘Jack of all trades or kind of professional DIY person’
  • Produces a bricolage, that is a pieced together, close-knit set of practices that provide solutions to a problem in a concrete situation
  • The solution which is a result of the bricoleurs method is an emergent construction that changes and takes new forms as different tools, methods and techniques are added to the puzzle.
the qualitative researcher as bricoleur7
The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur
  • The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur uses the tools of his methodological trade . The choice of research practices depends upon the questions that are asked, and the questions depend on their context, what is available in the context, and what the researcher can do in that setting.
  • The Bricoleur is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks ranging from interviewing to observing, to interpreting personal and historical documents, to intensive self-reflection and introspection.
the qualitative researcher as bricoleur8
The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur
  • The bricoleur understands that research is an interactive process shaped by his own personal history, biography, gender, social class, race, and ethnicity and those of the people in the setting.
  • The product of the bricoleur’s labour is a bricolage, a complex, dense, reflexive, collage-like creation that represents the researchers images, understanding and interpretations of the world or phenomenon under analysis.
  • The bricolage will connect the parts to the whole, stressing the meaningful relationships that operate in the situations and social worlds studied.

Positivist Paradigm

  • Emphasises that human reason is supreme and that there is a single objective truth that can be discovered by science
  • Encourages us to stress the function of objects, celebrate technology and to regard the world as a rational, ordered place with a clearly defined past, present and future

Non-Positivist Paradigm

  • Questions the assumptions of the positivist paradigm
  • Argues that our society places too much emphasis on science and technology
  • Argues that this ordered, rational view of consumers denies the complexity of the social and cultural world we live in
  • Stresses the importance of symbolic, subjective experience
the five moments of qualitative research
The Five moments of Qualitative Research
  • Traditional Period: 1900’s-World War II
  • Wrote objective colonising accounts of field experiences that were reflective of the positivist scientist paradigm
  • Concerned with offering valid, reliable, and objective interpretations in their writings.
  • The ‘subject’ who was studied was alien, foreign, and strange.
the modernist phase post war 1970 s
The Modernist PhasePost war-1970’s
  • The modernist ethnographer and sociological participant observer attempted rigorous, qualitative studies of important social processes, including social control in the classroom and society
  • Researchers were drawn to qualitative research because it allowed them to give a voice to society’s ‘underclass’
blurred genres 1970 1986
Blurred Genres1970-1986
  • Researchers had a full complement of paradigms, methods and strategies
  • Applied qualitative research was gaining in stature
  • Research strategies ranged from grounded theory to the case study methodology
  • Methods included qualitative interviewing and observational, visual, personal and documentary methods.
  • Computers were becoming more prevalent
  • Boundaries between the social sciences and humanities had become blurred
  • Social science was borrowing models, theories and methods of analysis from the humanities
  • Researcher acknowledged as being part of the research process
crisis of representation mid 1980 s current day
Crisis of RepresentationMid 1980’s-Current Day
  • Caused by the publication of a book called Anthropology as Cultural Critique (Marcus and Fischer, 1986)
  • Made research and writing more reflexive and called into question the issues of gender, class and race.
  • Interpretative theories as opposed to grounded theories were more common as writers challenge old models of truth and meaning
  • Crisis of Representation and Legitimisation
the fifth moment current day
The Fifth MomentCurrent Day
  • Defined and shaped by the dual crisis of representation and legitimisation
  • Theories now beginning to be read in narrative terms as ‘tales of the field’
  • Concept of an aloof researcher has finally been fully abandoned
  • More action oriented research is on the horizon
  • More Social criticism and social critique
  • The search for grand narratives is being replaced by more local, small-scale theories fitted to specific problems and specific situations
popularity of qualitative research
Popularity of Qualitative Research
  • Usually much cheaper than quantitative research
  • No better way than qualitative research to understand in-depth the motivations and feelings of consumers
  • Qualitative research can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of quantitative research
limitations of qualitative research
Limitations of Qualitative Research
  • Marketing successes and failures are based on small differences in the marketing mix.
  • Qualitative research doesn’t distinguish these differences as well as quantitative research can.
  • Not representative of the population that is of interest to the researcher
  • The multitude of individuals who, without formal training, profess to be experts in the field
qualitative research as a process
Qualitative Research as a Process
  • Theory
  • Method
  • Analysis
  • All three interconnect to define the qualitative research process
theoretical approach deductive
Theoretical ApproachDeductive
  • Deductive Theoretical Approach
  • Seek to use existing theory to shape the approach which you adopt to the qualitative research process and to aspects of data analysis
  • Analytical Procedures
  • Pattern Matching
  • Involves predicting a pattern of outcomes based on theoretical propositions to explain what you expect to find
  • Explanation Building
  • Involves attempting to build an explanation while collecting and analysing the data, rather than testing a predicted explanation as in pattern matching
inductive approach
Inductive Approach
  • Inductive Theoretical Approach
  • Seek to build up a theory which is adequately grounded in a number of relevant cases. Referred to as Interpretative andGrounded Theory
  • Art of Interpretation
  • Field Text: Consists of field notes and documents from the field
  • Research Text: Notes and interpretations based on the filed text
  • Working interpretative document: Writers initial attempt to make sense out of what he has learned
  • Public Text: The final tale of the Field
qualitative data collection techniques
Qualitative Data Collection Techniques
  • In depth Interviewing
  • Focus Groups
  • Participant Observations
  • Ethnographic Studies
  • Projective Techniques
analysis qualitative data an approach
Analysis Qualitative Data: An Approach
  • Categorisation
  • Unitising data
  • Recognising relationships and developing the categories you are using to facilitate this
  • Developing and testing hypotheses to reach conclusion
interactive nature of the qualitative process
Interactive Nature of the Qualitative Process
  • Data collection, data analysis and the development and verification of relationships and conclusion are all interrelated and interactive set of processes
  • Allows researcher to recognise important themes, patterns and relationships as you collect data
  • Allows you to re-categorise existing data to see whether themes and patterns and relationships exist in the data already collected
  • Allows you to adjust your future data collection approach to see whether they exist in other cases
tools for helping the analytical process
Tools for helping the Analytical Process
  • Summaries
  • Should contain the key points that emerge from undertaking the specific activity
  • Self Memos
  • Allow you to make a record of the ideas which occur to you about any aspect of your research,as you think of them
  • Researcher Diary