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Qualitative Techniques in Data Gathering


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Title: Qualitative Techniques in Data Gathering

Qualitative Techniques in Data Gathering

Brief Review Objectives of the Session
  • What is qualitative Research Method?
  • When to use Qualitative/Quantitative Date
    Gathering Techniques

Objectives of the Session
  • At the end of the session, the participants will
    be able to
  • Differentiate qualitative and quantitative
  • Discuss the advantages and limitations of
    qualitative and quantitative methodologies (when
    to best use quanti and quali methods)
  • List and explain three qualitative research
    methodologies that are used alone or to
    complement conventional surveys

Objectives of the Session
  • At the end of the session, the participants will
    be able to
  • discuss and differentiate from one another the
    different qualitative data gathering tools such
  • Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
  • In-depth Interviews (IDIs)
  • Participant Observation (PO)

Objectives of the Session
  • At the end of the session, the participAt the end
    of the session, the participants will be able to
  • ants will be able to
  • Discuss the methods of selecting participants
  • In-depth Interviewing
  • Focus Group Discussion

Qualitative Method
  • What is it?
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods -
    Qualitative and Quantitative Data
  • Quanti and Quali Data Compared - characteristics
  • Quanti and Quali Data Collection Compared
  • Uses of Quantitative and Qualitative Data

What is it?
  • A type of formative research that offers
    specialized techniques for obtaining in-depth
    responses regarding what people think and feel
  • Allows researchers to gain insights into
    attitudes, beliefs, motives and behavior of
    target groups

What is it?/Why use it?
  • Provides answers to why questions
  • Interpretive as well as descriptive
  • Enables researchers to tie together clusters of
    behavior that relate to a given consumer
    decision, action or behavior

Contrast and Choice...
  • In social research - contrast is drawn between
    the traditional and quantitative methods of the
    discipline close linked to census and survey
    research methods and qualitative methods, often
    described as anthropological or micro research

  • Quantitative Approach
  • conventional questionnaire-based surveys to
    gather data
  • application of statistical techniques of data
  • Qualitative Approach
  • anthropological method of data collection
    (in-depth, focus group discussion, and
    participant observation)

  • Quantitative Approach
  • use standardized measures that fit diverse
    various opinions and experiences
  • allows measurement of reactions of a great
    number of people in a large area
  • Qualitative Approach
  • permits one to study selected issues/cases in
    depth detail
  • produces a wealth of detailed data about
    smaller number of people and cases

  • Quantitative Approach
  • confined to unambiguous data which are
    quantifiable by nature
  • sampling makes it impossible to study a single
    person or hh in context
  • Qualitative Approach
  • cannot draw conclusion that will apply to the
    whole population

  • Quantitative Approach
  • closed questions may force respondents to answer
    in a way that does not express what they feel
  • survey analysis is dominated by the search for
    the statistically significant correlations
    result in being distracted from the socially most
    significant point

  • In applied research, particularly in developing
    countries, there is really no choice between the
  • Each is an essential component of good research
    design and practice

Thus, both approaches...
  • Are complementary rather than alternatives
    because they fulfill quite different functions

Quantitative and Qualitative Data Compared
  • Quantitative data are usually obtained by
    questionnaire administered tool and as part of a
    census or survey
  • May also be obtained directly from administrative

Characteristics of Quantitative Data
  • Simple - provides a response to a simple question
    (such as height and weight) and are used to
    capture only one dimension of a more complex
    phenomena (age, may be used to represent
    life-cycle stage)
  • number of vehicles and frequency of trips
  • yield/hectare

Characteristics of Quantitative Data
  • Anonymous - personal identity is of no interest
  • Numeric - result of counting (total number of
    hours spent in fetching water), classification
    (e.g. sex or type of vehicles) or measurement
    (e.g. height, distance)

Characteristics of Qualitative Data
  • Consists of words or visual images, including
    text. May include
  • field notes, describing field observations
  • photographs, sketches
  • reports or tape-recording or in-depth interviews

Characteristics of Qualitative Data
  • Consists of words or visual images, including
    text. May include
  • official reports
  • uncoded responses to open-ended questions in a a
    conventional questionnaire

Characteristics of Qualitative Data
  • Personal - personal characteristics of each
    respondent (age, sex, education, marital status,
    occupation, etc.) and the context in which the
    data were obtained (place, time, identities of
    others present, etc.) are needed in order to
    interpret the significance of the data

Characteristics of Qualitative Data
  • Multi-dimensional - they cover the social,
    cultural or economic aspects of such complex
    issues such as beliefs, attitudes, utilization of
    services, decision-making

For example...
  • A young man who had been unable to find work in
    his home village quarreled with his father over
    money. As a result of the quarrel, he visited a
    relative in CDO. While in CDO, he was told by
    his relatives neighbor that the factory where
    the neighbor worked was hiring more workers. He
    applied for a job and was hired. How would you
    answer the question, Why did you migrate to
    CDO?, which requires a single factor answer, and
    what would such an answer mean?

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Quantitative Data Collection (Survey)
  • preliminary research to identify info required
    and how best obtained
  • research design
  • construction of sampling frame
  • selection of the sample

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Quantitative Data Collection (Survey)
  • preparation of individual questions and
    construction of a questionnaire
  • pilot testing of the questions and the
  • revision of the questionnaire

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Quantitative Data Collection (Survey)
  • training of interviewers
  • implementation of the survey
  • coding

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Quantitative Data Collection (Survey)
  • data entry
  • data cleaning and editing
  • presentation and analysis of data

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Qualitative Data Collection
  • generally, less systematic approach to data
    collection than the survey method
  • use variety of tools or instruments, such as
    structured in-depth interviews with interview
    guide, unstructured in-depth interviews, PO, FGD,
    photography, video recording, tape recording

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Qualitative Data Collection (continuation)
  • use of multiple sources of information over a
    period of time
  • emphasis on data validity and much less concern
    for reliability

Survey and Qualitative Data Collection Compared
  • Qualitative Data Collection a much greater
    personal role for the individual involved in data
  • preliminary data analysis is integral element of
    data collection

Uses of Quantitative and Qualitative Data
  • Quantitative data
  • numeric and able to deal with a whole population
    (census or survey)
  • most obviously useful for research questions that
    seek information about quantities - what, how
    much, measurement of quantitative effects (e.g.
    what would be the effect on IM of a x per cent
    increase access in potable water?)
  • particularly suited to answering - what, who,
    where (Who are most likely to increase their
    income? What are the characteristics of those
    who were able to increase their income? Where are
    the areas with highest mortality?

Uses of Quantitative and Qualitative Data
  • Quantitative data
  • used to address more complex questions about the
    existence or strengths of relationships between
    variables through the use of multivariate and
    other statistical techniques. However, while
    they can identify relationships, in general
    quantitative data and statistical technique
    cannot explain why such relationship came about.

Uses of Quantitative and Qualitative Data
  • Qualitative data
  • necessary to establish validity in individual
    survey questions (measure the phenomenon, provide
    information on the meaning of the responses to

Uses of Quantitative and Qualitative Data
  • Qualitative data
  • Suited to questions that focus on explanations -
    Why? How?
  • Typically relate to small numbers or respondents
    and therefore not generally appropriate to
    research questions that deal with quantities

  • The following are examples of population research
    problems which have been intensively studied for
    decades, but which can be declared to be largely
  • Morbidity and Mortality - Why does a substantial
    proportion of the population throughout the world
    continue to smoke, consume more alcohol than
    recommended by physicians and use debilitating
    drugs -despite being well-informed of the
    consequences and punitive laws regulating their

  • Adopted of improved technology - Why does a
    substantial proportion of the farmers in the
    project area continue to adopt or practice the
    traditional technology despite being
    well-informed of the consequences of adopting
    such in terms of yield and income?

  • Reduce incidence of water borne diseases - Why
    does the incidence of water borne disease
    remained the same in spite of the fact of the
    availability of potable water

  • Qualitative Data Collection takes a lot of time
  • Over field work process, field notes, interview
    materials and observations accumulate to vast
    amounts and many researchers suffer from data
  • Quail data are not easy to analyze

Writing up...
  • One woman said, Oh, but is is very easy to get
    an abortion right here.
  • We know that one woman provided the information
    and we have a direct translation (assuming that
    conversation took place in a language other than
    English). However, we still dont know whether
    this was a woman who was likely to know whether
    abortion was available, or the circumstances in
    which she made the statement. (It is not the
    kind of remark one would expect a woman to make
    in the course of a casual conversation.)

Writing up...
  • A 45-year old woman had six children, the
    youngest aged four years old, said Oh, but is
    very easy to get an abortion right here.
  • This is better. An older woman with a large
    number of children might be expected to have this
    kind of knowledge. However, it is not clear why
    she made this statement.

Writing up...
  • I was discussing the problems of large families
    and children born close together with a group of
    older women outside the local health center. One
    of the women remarked that it was shameful for
    older women to become pregnant and that they
    should avoid it. I asked how, and a 45-year old
    woman with six children, the youngest aged four
    smiled shyly and said in a quiet voice (looking
    over her shoulder, apparently to make sure were
    were not being overheard by the local nurse who
    was busy talking to a group of young mothers)
    Oh, but is very easy to get an abortion right

Writing up...
  • We can judge that the woman, surrounded by a
    group of her peers, would probably not make this
    statement if it was obviously untrue. The
    concept of shame apparently attached to older
    women giving birth suggests a motive for women of
    her age to be interested in abortion. We can
    also guess from the description, that although
    the availability of abortion is not a secret, at
    least to these women, it was also not something
    to be discussed in any company. In particular,
    we would probably wonder why she was concerned
    that the nurse should not overhear - and would
    expect the researcher to take this point in the

Writing Up
  • Primary reporting of concrete events and things
    in fieldwork ---
  • A vague note A showed hostility to B, is
    overly general, and will be difficult to
    interpret in later months.

Better to write
  • Ä scowled and spoke harshly to B, saying a
    number of negative things, including, Get the
    hell out of here, Mr. B. He then shook his
    fist in Bs face and walked out of the room.

Writing up...

Personal Reflection
  • Qualitative methods allowed me to know people
    individually and to view them as they were. I
    was able to learn somehow of how their lives had
    evolved, unraveling the meanings of their roles,
    relationships within the home, and work within
    and outside the home for them and for my
    research. Participant observation allowed me to
    experience what it is like to be a woman working
    in the factory. In McCrackens (198817) words,
    qualitative research does not survey the
    terrain, it mines it.

Personal Reflection
  • Qualitative methods not only add explanation to
    the analysis but also demonstrate meanings and
    understanding about the problems and phenomena
    under study (Berg, 19896).
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