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Managing Qualitative Research

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Title: Managing Qualitative Research


1
ManagingQualitative Research
  • Khalid Mahmood, PhD
  • Professor of Library Information Science
  • University of the Punjab

2
Acknowledgement
  • This presentation is based on many books, notes,
    websites and presentations on the topic.
  • The presenter pays his sincere gratitude to all
    authors, professors and experts for their efforts
    and contributions.

3
Agenda
  • What is qualitative research?
  • Qualitative traditions of inquiry
  • Steps in qualitative study
  • Ethical considerations
  • Sampling
  • Types of data
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Validity, reliability and generalizability

4
What isqualitative research?
5
Qualitative research
  • Allows the researcher to understand a problem or
    phenomenon from the perspectives of the people it
    involves.
  • Reveals a complete picture of a certain research
    issue.
  • Seeks to provide a rich understanding of a
    certain research issue.

6
In qualitative methods
  • Researcher collects data in a real environment.
  • Researcher himself/herself is the key research
    tool.
  • Focus of research is a process or activity
    itself, not just results of that process or
    activity.
  • Data collected is most often verbal
    (non-numerical).
  • Verbal data analysis (rarely numerical).

7
Comparison of quantitative and qualitative methods
QUALITATIVE QUANTITATIVE
Multiple realities Single reality
Reality is socially constructed Reality is objective
Reality is context interrelated Reality is context free
Holistic Reductionistic
Reasoning is inductive Reasoning is deductive and inductive
Discovery of meaning is the basis of knowledge Cause-and-effect relationships are the bases of knowledge
Develops theory Tests theory
8
Comparison of quantitative and qualitative
methods (continued)
QUALITATIVE QUANTITATIVE
Meaning of concepts Measurement of variables
Process oriented Outcome oriented
Control unimportant Control important
Rich descriptions Precise measurement of variables
Basic element of analysis is words Basic element of analysis is numbers
Uniqueness Generalization
Trustworthiness of findings Control of error
9
Qualitative traditions of inquiry
10
  • Biography
  • Historical research
  • Phenomenology
  • Grounded theory
  • Ethnography
  • Ethnology
  • Case study
  • Symbolic interaction

11
Biography
  • The study of an individual and her or his
    experiences as told to the researcher or found in
    documents and archival material.
  • Life historyThe study of an individuals life
    and how it reflects cultural themes of the
    society.

12
Biography (continued)
  • Oral historyThe researcher gathers personal
    recollections of events, their causes, and their
    effects from an individual or several
    individuals.
  • The researcher needs to collect extensive
    information about the subject of the biography.
  • The writer, using an interpretive approach, needs
    to be able to bring himself or herself into the
    narrative and acknowledge his or her standpoint.

13
Historical research
  • Studies available data to describe, understand,
    and interpret past events.
  • Uses primary sources of information.
  • Does external and internal criticism of documents
    or artifacts.

14
Phenomenology
  • Describes the meaning of the lived experience
    about a concept or a phenomenon for several
    individuals.
  • Determines what an experience means for the
    persons who have had the experience and are able
    to provide a comprehensive description of it.
    From the individual descriptions, general or
    universal meanings are derived, in other words,
    the essences of structures of the experience.

15
Grounded theory
  • Intends to generate or discover a theory that
    relates to a particular situation.
  • If little is known about a topic, grounded theory
    is especially useful.
  • Because the theory emerges from the data, it is
    said to be grounded in the data.
  • Data collection and analysis occur
    simultaneously, until saturation is reached.
  • Data reviewed and coded for categories and themes.

16
Ethnography
  • A description and interpretation of a cultural or
    social group or system.
  • The researcher examines the groups observable
    patterns of behavior, customs, and ways of life.
  • Involves prolonged observation of the group,
    typically through participant observation.

17
Ethnography (continued)
  • Field work
  • Key informants
  • Thick description
  • Emic (insider group perspective) and Etic
    (researchers interpretation of social life).
  • Context important, needs holistic view.
  • Needs grounding in anthropology.

18
Ethnography (continued)
  • Many ethnographies may be written in a narrative
    or story telling approach which may be difficult
    for the audience accustomed to usual social
    science writing.
  • May incorporate quantitative data and archival
    documents.

19
Ethnology
  • Compares and analyzes the origins, distribution,
    technology, religion, language, and social
    structure of the ethnic, racial,
    and/or national divisions of humanity.

20
Case study
  • An exploration of a bounded system or a case
    (or multiple cases) over time through detailed,
    in-depth data collection involving multiple
    sources of information rich in context.
  • The context of the case involves situating the
    case within its setting which may be physical,
    social, historical and/or economic.

21
Symbolic interaction
  • Investigates how people construct meaning and
    shared perspectives by interacting with others.

22
Steps inqualitative study
23
  1. General research question
  2. Select relevant site(s) and subjects
  3. Collection of relevant data
  4. Interpretation of data
  5. Conceptual and theoretical work
  6. Tighter specification of the research question
  7. Collection of further data
  8. Conceptual and theoretical work
  9. Write up findings

24
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25
Ethical considerations
26
  • Mutual respect and trust(prolonged interaction)
  • Respect for social and cultural contexts
  • Voluntary participation
  • Informed consent
  • Beneficence doing good for others and
    preventing harm
  • Confidentiality

27
Sampling
28
Determining a sample
  • Even if it were possible, it is not necessary to
    collect data from everyone in a community.
  • In qualitative research, the researcher needs to
    define and select a sample.
  • The studys research objectives and the
    characteristics of the study population determine
    which and how many people to select.

29
Sample size
  • Usually smaller than quantitative study.
  • Two general guidelines the number of
    participants is sufficient when
  • the extent to which the selected participants
    represent the range of potential participants in
    the setting
  • the point at which the data gathered begin to be
    redundant (data saturation)

30
Sampling methods
  • No probability sampling
  • Three of the most common sampling methods are
  • Purposive sampling
  • Quota sampling
  • Snowball sampling

31
Purposive sampling
  • Purposive sampling groups participants according
    to pre-selected criteria relevant to a particular
    research question.
  • ex. Vietnamese businessmen in the USA
  • Sample sizes depend on
  • Resources and time available
  • The studys objectives
  • If the researcher needs a specific number of
    participants, quota sampling is better.

32
Quota sampling
  • Quota sampling begins with two decisions
  • What characteristics?
  • How many people?
  • Characteristics are selected in order to find
    participants who have experience with or
    knowledge of the research topic.
  • The researcher goes into the community and
    selects the predetermined number of people
    demonstrating the pre-selected characteristics.

33
Snowball sampling
  • Snowball sampling is a form of purposive
    sampling.
  • Participants refer the researcher to other
    potential participants.
  • Snowball sampling is often used to find and
    recruit hidden populations groups not easily
    accessible to researchers.

34
Types of data
35
  • Written field notes
  • Audio recordings of conversations
  • Video recordings of activities
  • Diary recordings of activities / thoughts
  • Documents
  • Depth information on
  • thoughts, views, interpretations
  • priorities, importance
  • processes, practices
  • intended effects of actions
  • feelings and experiences

36
Data collection
37
  • Three data collection strategies
  • Participant observation
  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus group interviews
  • Qualitative researchers may combine more than one
    method

38
Participant observation
  • Intensive, usually long term, examination of a
    social group, an organization, etc.
  • Researcher becomes a participant in the lives of
    group members
  • Observes their behavior and learns meaning
    systems (which are tied to language)
  • Most closely associated with Ethnography, as
    developed in Classical Anthropology
  • Now done in a variety of disciplines

39
Participant observation (continued)
  • Today most ethnographers take an overt role
  • i.e., their identity as a researcher is known to
    the people being studied
  • Covert participation (i.e., identity concealed
    from participants) is fraught with ethical issues

40
Steps involved in participant observation research
  1. Gaining entry into the group
  2. Developing and maintaining rapport
  3. Developing a method for taking field notes
  4. Integrating data collection and data analysis

41
Steps in participant observationGaining entry
into the group
  • Take into consideration the type of group
  • formal organizations require formal entry
    involves letter writing, permission requests,
    etc.
  • Informal groups different strategy needed
  • Access may be gained through a gatekeeper (an
    individual with special status)
  • Want to involve key informants (those who are
    most knowledgeable about the group)

42
Steps in participant observation
Developing/maintaining rapport
  • Researcher must work hard to develop and maintain
    good relationships in the field
  • e.g., be sure not to become associated with one
    faction in a group or organization
  • Researcher could be blamed for problems that
    arise in the setting

43
Steps in participant observation Strategies for
taking field notes
  • Include descriptions and interpretations of
    individuals, interactions, and events
  • Distinguish descriptions from interpretations
  • Record time and location of observations, as well
    as key information (weather, events happening and
    their significance)
  • Keep theoretical memos which are the tentative
    interpretations emerging and being assessed
    through further data collection

44
Field notes (continued)
  • May not be possible or advisable to take notes
    while in the field
  • Important that they be done as soon after field
    observation as possible
  • Note-taking is time-consuming because it is
    integral to guiding the data collection and
    continuing the analysis
  • e.g., field notes for When Prophecy Failed were
    well over 1,000 typed pages

45
Steps in participant observation Integrating
data collection and analysis
  • Organizing field notes into different types of
    files facilitates data analysis
  • Master field file complete journal of field
    notes number pages and include entry dates
  • Background, history file subfile organizing
    background material
  • Key character files subfiles on key players in
    the group or organization
  • Analytic files subfiles for different types of
    observations or relationships

46
In-depth interviews
  • Some studies cannot employ the participant
    observation method
  • In-depth interviews allow participants to
    describe their experiences and the meaning of
    events taking place in their lives
  • Verbatim quotes capture the language and meaning
    expressed by participants
  • Interviews are flexible and allow for probing
  • Interview method is quite diverse, adaptive

47
In-depth interviews (continued)
  • Three key elements for the interview method to be
    successful
  • Explicit purpose researcher and informant are
    aware that the discussion has a purpose
  • Ethnographic explanations researcher tries out
    explanations on the participants to see if they
    make sense
  • Encourage the informants to use colloquial
    language, and teach the researcher its meaning
  • Ethnographic questions include
  • Descriptive questions ask participants to
    describe their experiences (e.g., their ideas,
    circumstances, viewpoints, dilemmas, etc)
  • Structural questions ask participants how they
    organize their world (e.g., activities)
  • Contrast questions ask participants what is
    meant by specific terminology

48
Interview dos and donts
  • Do listen more and talk less
  • Do follow up on what is not clear and probe more
    deeply into what is revealed
  • Dont use leading questions do use open-ended
    questions (probes)
  • Dont interrupt do wait
  • Do keep interviewee(s) focused
  • Dont be judgmental about or react to an
    interviewees opinions, views, or beliefs
  • Dont engage in debate with an interviewee
  • Do record everything the interviewee says and
    note impressions of interviewees nonverbal
    behavior

49
Focus group interviews
  • Interview format, but in a group setting
  • 6-12 participants with common experience
  • Dates back to the 1940s used to assess
    effectiveness of morale-boosting radio shows
  • 1970s onward used by market researchers
  • 1980s onward used by academics
  • Transcript of discussion is the data
  • Plus accompanying notes
  • Use content analysis or grounded theory approach
    to analyze the data

50
Focus group interviews (continued)
  • Strengths
  • Open-ended question
  • Spontaneously deal with issues as they arise
  • Cost-effective method of collecting data
  • Less time-consuming
  • Weaknesses
  • One or two participants may dominate
  • Not done in a natural setting, so little
    observation to help understand the experience
    of the participants

51
Data analysis
52
  • Open coding
  • Systematic coding
  • Affinity diagramming

53
Open coding
  • Treat data as answers to open-ended questions
  • ask data specific questions
  • assign codes for answers
  • record theoretical notes

54
Example Calendar routines
  • Families were interviewed about their calendar
    routines
  • What calendars they had
  • Where they kept their calendars
  • What types of events they recorded
  • Written notes
  • Audio recordings

55
Example Calendar routines
  • Step 1 translate field notes (optional)

paper
digital
56
Example Calendar routines
  • Step 2 list questions / focal points

Where do families keep their calendars? What uses
do they have for their calendars? Who adds to the
calendars? When do people check the calendars?
57
Example Calendar routines
  • Step 3 go through data and ask questions

Where do families keep their calendars?
58
Example Calendar routines
  • Step 3 go through data and ask questions

Calendar Locations KI the kitchen
KI
KI
KI
Where do families keep their calendars?
59
Example Calendar routines
  • Step 3 go through data and ask questions

Calendar Locations KI the kitchen CR
childs room
KI
CR
Where do families keep their calendars?
60
Example Calendar routines
  • Step 3 go through data and ask questions

Calendar Locations KI the kitchen CR
childs room
KI
CR
Continue for the remaining questions.
61
Example Calendar routines
  • The result
  • list of codes
  • frequency of each code
  • a sense of the importance of each code
  • frequency ! importance

62
Example 2 Calendar contents
  • Pictures were taken of family calendars

63
Example Calendar contents
  • Step 1 list questions / focal points

What type of events are on the calendar? Who are
the events for? What other markings are made on
the calendar?
64
Example Calendar contents
  • Step 2 go through data and ask questions

What types of events are on the calendar?
65
Example Calendar contents
  • Step 2 go through data and ask questions

Types of Events FO family outing
FO
What types of events are on the calendar?
66
Example Calendar contents
  • Step 2 go through data and ask questions

Types of Events FO family outing AN -
anniversary
FO
AN
What types of events are on the calendar?
67
Example Calendar contents
  • Step 2 go through data and ask questions

Types of Events FO family outing AN -
anniversary
FO
AN
Continue for the remaining questions.
68
Reporting results
  • Find the main themes
  • Use quotes / scenarios to represent them
  • Include counts for codes (optional)

69
Software Microsoft Word
70
Software Microsoft Excel
71
Software ATLAS.ti
72
Software NVivo
73
Systematic coding
  • Categories are created ahead of time
  • from existing literature
  • from previous open coding
  • Code the data just like open coding

74
Affinity diagramming
  • Goal what are the main themes?
  • Write ideas on sticky notes
  • Place notes on a large wall / surface
  • Group notes hierarchically to see main themes

75
Example Calendar field study
  • Families were given a digital calendar to use in
    their homes
  • Thoughts / reactions recorded
  • Weekly interview notes
  • Audio recordings from interviews

76
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 1 Affinity notes
  • go through data and write observations down on
    post-it notes
  • each note contains one idea

77
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 2 Diagram building
  • place all notes on a wall / surface

78
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

79
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

80
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

81
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

82
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

83
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

84
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 3 Diagram building
  • move notes into related columns / piles

85
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 4 Affinity labels
  • write labels describing each group

86
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 4 Affinity labels
  • write labels describing each group

Calendar placement is a challenge
87
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 4 Affinity labels
  • write labels describing each group

Calendar placement is a challenge
Interface visuals affect usage
88
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 4 Affinity labels
  • write labels describing each group

People check the calendar when not at home
Calendar placement is a challenge
Interface visuals affect usage
89
Example Calendar field study
  • Step 5 Further refine groupings

People check the calendar when not at home
Calendar placement is a challenge
Interface visuals affect usage
90
Validity, reliability and generalizability
91
Threats to validity
  • Observer bias
  • Invalid information resulting from the
    perspective the researcher brings to the study
    and imposes upon it
  • e.g., studying ones own culture
  • Observer effects
  • The impact of the observers participation on the
    setting or the participants being studied
  • e.g., people may do things differently

92
Strategies to enhance validity
  • Intensive, long term involvement
  • more data, repeated observation and interviews
  • Rich data
  • full and detailed descriptions
  • Respondent validation
  • ask them if the reporting is correct
  • Intervention
  • interact with them and see how behavior changes
  • Searching for negative cases and alternative
    explanations
  • Triangulation
  • collect data from a variety of settings and
    methods
  • Quasi-statistics
  • e.g., frequency counts of the argument
  • Comparison
  • multicase, multisite studies

93
Reliability
  • It is a quantitative measure.
  • This concept is irrelevant in qualitative
    research.
  • However, to test a qualitative study for
    reliability, you need to convert data into
    relevant numbers and determine efficacy based on
    the results.

94
Generalization
  • A generalization is usually thought of as a
    statement or claim that applies to more than one
    individual, group, or situation.
  • The value of a generalization is that it allows
    us to have expectations about the future.
  • A limitation of qualitative research is that
    there is seldom justification for generalizing
    the findings of a particular study.
  • Due to this problem, replication of qualitative
    studies becomes more important than for
    quantitative studies.

95
Thanks to all participants
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