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Qualitative vs. Quantitative research methods. PART I – THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS PART II – EVALUATION OF QUALITATIVE METHODS INCLUDING CONCEPTS LIKE CREDIBILITY, RESEARCHER BIAS, GERNERALIZATION, TRIANGULATION AND REFLEXIVITY.

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qualitative vs quantitative research methods

Qualitative vs. Quantitative research methods

PART I – THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS

PART II – EVALUATION OF QUALITATIVE METHODS INCLUDING CONCEPTS LIKE CREDIBILITY, RESEARCHER BIAS, GERNERALIZATION, TRIANGULATION AND REFLEXIVITY.

PART III – SAMPLING METHODS, PURPOSIVE SAMPLING AND SNOWBALL SAMPLING

PART IV – ETHICS

qualitative vs quantitative research methods3
Qualitative vs. Quantitative research methods:
  • Qualitative research takesplace in the real world, as opposedto the laboratory, and deals withhowpeoplegivemeaningtotheirownexperience.
  • Then it is followed by an attempttointerpret the behaviour and the meaningsthatpeoplehave given totheirexperience.
  • The objectiveofqualitative research is todescribe and possiblyexplain events and experiences.
qualitative research strategies
Qualitative research strategies:

Theseofteninvolve face-to-face interactionsbeteen researcher and participant

Step 1

The researchers needto be flexible and sensitive to the needsof the social contextwithinwhich the data is obtained.

Observations

Interviews

Cases studies

The data is thenanalysed and interpreted. To look for themes is more common thantryingtoconfirm a hypothesis.

Step 2

slide5

Qualitative – words and anlysis

Qualitative – numbers- easytosummarize and use in statistics. Meant for generalizationbeyond the sample from which the data is drawn.

Gatheredthroughdirectinteractionwithparticipants. Open-ended and flexible ”rich data”

slide6

Whendealingwithqualitative research – it is imperativeto be abletotolerate a degreeofuncertainty.

according to qualitative research
Accordingtoqualitative research:

”Researchers canonly come tounderstand the social worldthroughparticipants’ interpretations – interpretative approach.

Reality is diverse and multifaceted. The goal is to get a pictureofthisreality. To measuremeanstoreduce it – and thereforelosemeaning.

historical flashback

Quantitativemethods, such as the experiment, havebeenusedpartly in order tomaintain the appearanceofpsychology as a scientificdisciplinewith valid knowledgeclaims.

  • During the 20th centurytherewas a shiftaway from seeingquantitativemethods as the only valid wayofgaining data – butalso a realizationthatbothmethodsareneeded.
Historicalflashback:
what decides whether to use qualitative vs quantitative data
Whatdecideswhethertousequalitative vs. Quantitative data?
  • Purposeof research
  • Characteristicsofparticipants
  • Researchers’ beliefsabout the natureofknowledge and how it can be aquired(seenextslide)
slide10
The natureofknowledge – Ritchie and Lewis questionsbased on the epistenologicaldiscussion (howcanweknowabouttheworld)
  • Whatis the relationshipbetween the researcher and the researched? Can the researcher be objective. Can the researchedeverbehavenaturally.No? Well, thenreflexibility is needed.
  • Whatcan be held as truth? Accuratemeasures (naturalsciences) or by beingsupported by somethingelse (social sciences)
  • How is knowledgegathered? Deductive (cause and effect, generalization and prediction) vs. Inductive (collectedevidenceusedtoreach a conclusion – focus: tounderstand the process).
rolfe
Rolfe:

Meansthat the distinctionbetweenqualitative and quantitave research is a textbookcreationand thatthere is no unifiedqualitative paradigm.

In fact, heclaims, theyare not separated.

slide12

Exercise 1: try tofill in whatqualitative research has in common opposedtoquantitativemethodsbased on whatwehavecovered so far:

  • Qualitativemethodsassume:
  • Quantitativemethodsassume:
  • Thatvariablescan be identified (and operationalised)
  • That The relationshipbetweenvariablescanmeasured by statistics.
  • Realibility and objectiveness is seen as highlyimportant (and possible) – thereforecontrolledenvironments (like labs) arepreferred.
  • Aim: toinfer a cause-effectrelationship and to be abletogeneralize from the study.
  • Eg. experiments and correlational studies.
evaluation strengths
Evaluation: strengths
  • Providerich data – that is, in-depthdescriptionsofindividualexperiences.
  • Particularlyuseful for investigatingcomplex and sensitive issues.
  • Explainphenomena – that is, go beyondmere observation tounderstandwhat lies behindthem (eg. why do peoplebecomehomeless?)
  • Generate new ideas and theoriestoexplain and overcome problems.
  • Peoplearestudied in theirownenvironment, whichincreasescredibility.
evaluation limitations
Evaluation: limitations
  • Can be verytime-consuming and generate a hugeamountof data.
  • Data analysiscan be difficultbecauseof the amountof data and no clearstrategy for analysis.
  • Interpretation of data may be subjective (butreflexivitycanhelptominimizethis)
is it possible to generalize from qualitative data
Is it possibletogeneralize from qualitative data?

This is often the aimof research, but not always so for qualitative research.

Representative generalization – can the findings be appliedto populations outside the population of the study? Samplesareoften small and not selected for beingstatistically representative so this makes generalizationdifficult. However, ifevidence from other studies confirms the findings (confirmabilitythrough eg. triangulation) it is arguedthatgeneralization is possible (Hammersley, 1992)

Inferentialgeneralizability – same thingbutwith the differencethat it is the settingof the research that is to be generalizedtoothersettings. Transferability. Depends on the depthof the descriptionof the context – and thismayallow for inferencesto be made – butneedsto be supported or disproved by furtherevidence (e.g. transferability check throughtriangulation)

Theoreticalgeneralizability – if the theoreticalconceptscan be usedtoopenup new fields and developfurthertheory.

criteria for judging quantitative and qualitative research
Criteria for judgingquantitative and qualitative research

CredibilityInternalvalidity

”Trustworthyness” Howbelievableare the research conclusions? Conclusions and interpretations are

Breadth and deapth is gathered. correctas variablesarewelldefined and measureswellcontrolled.

TransferabilityGeneralizability

The context is welldescribed as it is unlikelythat The research conclusionscan be appliedto

it won’thave an impact on the findings. Different samples as the research context is

controlledenough.

DependabilityReliability

Data obtainedcannot be expectedto be the same Repeateduseof the instrument providestable

Dependabilitymeansthereforethat the researcher has measurements and researchers usingthem

Described all factorsthatmighthaveinfluenced the data. Findsimilarresults

ConfirmabilityObjectivity

Sujectivity is not onlyunavoidable; it is valued. Therefore

researchers shouldgivedetailsofprocedures and attempt As manysourcesof bias from opinion are

To findexamplesthatcontradict the findings. Eliminated from the research process.

slide18

A study is trustworthyif, and onlyif, the readerof the reseachreportjudge it to be so” (Rolfe, 2006)

something on triangulation
Something on triangulation

As a waytoincreasecredibility, butalso check transferability, dependability and confirmabilitytriangulation is oftenused.

Triangulation = a cross-checkingof information and conclusions in research, broughtabout by the useofmultipleprocedures or sources. If there is agreementbetweenthese, there is support of the interpretation of data.

Usingtriangulationdoes not meanyou get a certaintruth, butyou get closerto it – reflexivity is still necessary.

example of triangulation techniques
Exampleoftriangulationtechniques:
  • Methodtriangulation. Comparing data that come from the useof different methods. Thesecould be bothquantitative and qualitative. Eg. firstusing a questionaireto ask abouteating habits in a school, and thenconduct focus groupinterviewsafterwards.
  • Researcher triangulation – involvesusing different people as researchers. Thisincreased the confirmability and credibilityofconclusions. Withoutthis data collection and conclusionsmight be affected by researcher bias.

Othertriangulationthechniquesinclude data triangulation and theorytriangulation.

reflexivity
Reflexivity

Examiner’s hint: toanswer a questionabout the valueofreflexivity in qualitative research, youshould make referenceto the different opportunities for reflexibilityprovided by interviews, case studies and observations.

Refersto the researcher’sneedtoconstantly be awareofhow and whytheyareconducting the research, and torecognize at whatpointstheirownbeliefs and opinions mighthaveinfluenced data collection or analysis.

To undergo an interviewwithcollegues is a waytoexposepossible bias.

effects of participant expectations and researcher bias
EFFECTS OF PARTICIPANT EXPECTATIONS AND RESEARCHER BIAS

Participantexpectations – the participants’ ideasof the researcher and the research whichcanaffect the trustworthinessof the data. Pleasing the experiment (or the screwyoueffect).

Researcher bias – the researcher does not payenoughattention to the participants. Thisleadsto the resultthat it is the researcher’sownbeliefsthatdetermine the research effect.

Can be checkedthroughinterviews, credibility checks and reflexivity.

sampling methods
Sampling methods

Sampling methods in qualitative research differs from thoseused in quantitative research.

  • The sampling numbersaregenerallysmallerthani n quantitative research.
  • To get random, representative samples from target population is seldompossible (or the aim) ofqualitative research. It is not intendedto be statistically representative.
  • Instead, a sample is chosen because it representsimportantcharacteristicsof a population – characteristicsthatare the mainconcern in evaluationof research.
examples of sampling in qualitative research
Examplesof sampling in qualitative research
  • Purposive sampling – the participatnsare chosen on the basis ofparticularcharacteristicsthatwillhelp the researcher toexplore the research topic. Eg. specificexperiences, social rolesetc. It may be importantthatthere is a diversity – butthis is not necessary nor at timespossible. Problem – the samplemight be biasedbutthis is thoughtto be lessenedif the criterias on whichparticipantswere chosen areclearlydocumented.
snowball sampling
Snowball sampling

The researcher simply asks participants in the studyiftheyknowanyother potential participants.

+ time and costefficient.

+ can be usedto get holdhidden populations

- Will mostprobablyleadtobiasedsamples.

- Ethics: confidentialityconcerns.

Conveniencesamplescanalso be used.

slide27
Exercise IIYouhavebeenaskedtoconduct a qualitative research study on football fans’ perception oftheirfavourite team.
  • What sampling methodwould be appropriate? Why?
  • Couldanother sampling method be considered? Why?
  • Whatshouldyouconsider overall whenselectingyoursample?
ethics
Ethics

In largetheseare the same as in quantitative research (informedconsent, protection from harm, respect for the participants’ integrity and privacy and right towithdraw).

Special here is to be opento problems linkedtothe private natureoftenresearched, that the researcher might get personallyinvolved and loseobjectivity.

Specifically in case studies – anonymityissues(casestudywithcovert observation – no consentform or right towithdraw – problematic).

learning outcomes answer these
Learning outcomes – answerthese:
  • Distinguishbetweenqualitative and quantitative data.
  • Explainstrenths and limitations of a qualitative approach to research
  • Explore the extenttowhichfindingscan be generalized from qualitative studies.
  • Explain the importanceofcredibility in qualitative research.
  • Explain the effectoftriangulation on the credibility/trustworthinessofqualitative research
  • Explainreflexivity in qualitative research.