chapter19 Qualitative Research
Chapter Outline • Contrasting characteristics of qualitative and quantitative research • Procedures in qualitative research • Analysis of the data • Concluding remarks
Goal of the Chapter • Level 1: qualitative and quantitative processes are complementary. • Level 2: gain an appreciation for qualitative and quantitative processes.
Important Questions Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative data helps the scholar focus on important questions: • What is worth knowing about the topic? • What data are most useful? • How can the design be appropriately matched to the question?
Some Characteristics of Qualitativeand Quantitative Research These are only some characteristics and other types of quantitative studies would be slightly different.
Quantitative and Qualitative Models The major reason that quantitative and qualitative models are both of value is: It is virtually impossible to imagine any human behavior that is not heavily mediated by the context in which it occurs. Guba & Lincoln, 1981
Books That Would Be Shortif Based on Quantitative Data • Everything Men Know About Women • French Hospitality • Popular Lawyers • Career Opportunities for History Majors
Getting Beyond Numbers Do not be anti-numbers, be pro-meaningfulness.
Procedures in Qualitative Research • Define the problem. • Formulate questions and theoretical framework. • Collect data: • Training and pilot work • Selection of participants • Entering the setting
Major Methods of Collecting Data • Interviews • Individual/group • Formal/informal • Formal interviews generally use a pilot tested protocol • Focus groups • Observation • Use of field notes
Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research • Overall quality of results (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) • Can be further broken down to two questions • Is it ethically conducted? • Is the study competently conducted? (Rossman & Rallis, 2003)
Is the Study Ethically Conducted? • More of an issue in qualitative research because of • topics addressed in research, and • time spent with the participants.
Four Issues—Is the Research Competently Conducted? • Credibility—accurate description of the subjects and setting • Transferability—would the results be useful to those in other settings or conducting research in similar settings? • Dependability—how well the researcher dealt with change • Confirmability—could another individual confirm the results
Attention to trustworthiness occurs during data collection and data analysis
Ways Researchers ProvideEvidence of Trustworthiness(or Gathering Good Data andReaching Appropriate Conclusions) • Prolonged engagement with the participants and setting • Audit trail of changes during the study • Providing a thick description of setting and context (continued)
Ways ResearchersProvide Evidence ofTrustworthiness • Clarification of researcher bias • is important since the researcher is the instrument • often is discussed in method section of thesis or research report • can’t control everything, but understanding bias and working to control it can help readers place faith in the results and conclusions (continued)
Ways Researchers Provide Evidence of Trustworthiness (continued) • Triangulation of sources to support conclusions • Negative case checking to see if phenomenon is as pervasive as thought • Member checking to see if participants have information to add and agree with conclusions • Peer debriefing to have colleague challenge results and researcher provide support
Sorting, Analyzing, and Categorizing Data (Getting From Data to Conclusions) • These occur during and after data collection. • First steps may be transcribing interviews and transferring field notes to another medium so they can be analyzed. • Different techniques are available for sorting through data: • Keep index cards. • Computer programs now are typically used. (continued)
Sorting, Analyzing, and Categorizing Data • During data analysis researcher attempts to merge data into a holistic portrayal of phenomenon. • Researchers assign meaning to data with • analytic narrative, • narrative vignette, and • and using quotes and examples to support conclusions. (continued)
Sorting, Analyzing, and Categorizing Data (continued) • As conclusions are being generated and supported with data, researcher is attuned to trustworthiness. • Will use one or more of the following while analyzing data: • Triangulation • Negative case checking • Member checking • Peer debriefing
Theory Construction Some studies attempt to generate theories or use techniques to ground theory from the data.
Mixed Method Research Involves both quantitative and qualitative research and requires the researcher to be competent in techniques for both types of research.
Summary • Qualitative research can answer important questions. • Research techniques require training and practice. • Attention to trustworthiness is imperative to get good data and arrive at appropriate conclusions.