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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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
Theseofteninvolve face-to-face interactionsbeteen researcher and participant
The researchers needto be flexible and sensitive to the needsof the social contextwithinwhich the data is obtained.
The data is thenanalysed and interpreted. To look for themes is more common thantryingtoconfirm a hypothesis.
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”
Whendealingwithqualitative research – it is imperativeto be abletotolerate a degreeofuncertainty.
”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.
Quantitativemethods, such as the experiment, havebeenusedpartly in order tomaintain the appearanceofpsychology as a scientificdisciplinewith valid knowledgeclaims.
Meansthat the distinctionbetweenqualitative and quantitave research is a textbookcreationand thatthere is no unifiedqualitative paradigm.
In fact, heclaims, theyare not separated.
Exercise 1: try tofill in whatqualitative research has in common opposedtoquantitativemethodsbased on whatwehavecovered so far:
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.
”Trustworthyness” Howbelievableare the research conclusions? Conclusions and interpretations are
Breadth and deapth is gathered. correctas variablesarewelldefined and measureswellcontrolled.
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
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
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.
A study is trustworthyif, and onlyif, the readerof the reseachreportjudge it to be so” (Rolfe, 2006)
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.
Othertriangulationthechniquesinclude data triangulation and theorytriangulation.
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.
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 in qualitative research differs from thoseused in quantitative research.
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.
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).