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Qualitative Research 1


Qualitative Research 1 Dr Shona Bettany – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Qualitative Research 1

Qualitative Research 1
  • Dr Shona Bettany

Lecture Objectives
  • To introduce qualitative research and understand
    the sort of questions that can be answered using
    qualitative methods
  • To examine a broad range of research approaches
    (methodologies) giving an overview of the
    different approaches that might be used
    (including, but not limited to grounded theory,
    phenomenology, discourse research, ethnography)

Importance of lectures Qual 1 and 2
  • Can you identify research questions that might be
    more appropriately answered using qualitative
  • Can you match your own research questions to a
    specific qualitative method?
  • Do you understand the scope of qualitative
    research and can you identify different
    qualitative methodological approaches?

Key Issues
  • Qualitative research and research questions
  • 4 Qualitative research approaches or methodologies

Description of qualitative research
  • Inductive/abductive
  • Iterative
  • Subjective
  • Closeness between researcher and researched
  • Thick description
  • Can deal with ambiguity, multiplicity,
  • Multi methods
  • Researcher as involved bricoleur

Key Issue 1Qualitative research questions
  • Why and how
  • Interpreting and understanding meanings and
  • Depth not (usually) breadth
  • Generates data that are rich and time-consuming
    to analyze
  • When the topic is
  • Sensitive
  • Complex
  • Non measurable
  • Concerned with interaction and process
  • Examples of methodologically relevant questions
    in next section

  • Why have a specific methodology?
  • What is a methodology?
  • The sort of questions you wish to answer
  • Personal choice/preference
  • Methodology in qualitative research is VERY

Key Issue 2Qualitative research approaches
  • Grounded theory
  • Phenomenology
  • Discourse theory
  • Ethnography

Grounded theory
  • The phrase "grounded theory" refers to theory
    that is developed inductively from a corpus of
  • An emergent research process
  • Begins with a research situation
  • Sampling is defined by the choice of the research
    situation, aiming for diversity of respondents
    and is also an emergent process
  • Literature is also seen as part of the data
    collection process
  • The aim is to develop an understanding of, and to
    theorise this research situation
  • Methods that fit
  • Unstructured/semi structured interviews, focus
    groups, observation, group feedback

The grounded theory process
Assumptive research question
Sample defined by question
Choose Method And data collection
Underlying form of question is What (theory or
explanation) emerges from an analysis of (the
data collected about this phenomenon)?
Who might you ask to take part?
Any ideas?
Assumptive question should be generated
through literature, media reports, personal
experience anecdotal evidence etc.
E.G. What are the consumption processes involved
in re-imaging after a significant loss of body
Think about the who, what, where, when, how
The grounded theory process
Data collection
Dependent on method recording, field notes video
Theory generation and contribution To literature
Feedback loop until saturation
Feedback/iterations important in grounded
theory, adapting sample, methods, codes and so
on until saturation point is reached
  • Lived experience
  • Focuses on the meaning of human experience
  • The aim of the research is to collect accounts of
    the experience of something (a phenomenon) and to
    identify the structures across different
  • Your phenomenological research would produce rich
    descriptive accounts of experiences and then
    produce a framework to explain the experience
    of that can be generalised
  • Sampling is defined through the phenomenon under
  • Methods the phenomenological interview, focus
    groups, observation and discussion with
  • Can be useful for researching sensitive subjects
    e.g. workplace bullying, addictive consumption,
    and generating a generalised experiential
    framework by which to understand that phenomenon

The phenomenological process
Question generation
Underlying form of question is What is the
meaning, structure, and essence of the lived
experience of (a phenomenon) by (an individual or
by many individuals)? This is the basic
phenomenological question.
E.G. What is the lived experience of consumers in
Questions generated from literature, media
reports, personal experience, anecdotal evidence
In phenomenology frameworks, theories and
concepts about the phenomenon are collected From
these sources and used to inform the data
The phenomenological interview Participation/obser
vation Focus groups (?)
The phenomenological process
Coding and thematic sorting
Theory generation Locating contribution to
existing frameworks
Discourse theory
  • Constructivist questions
  • Discourse a shared way of talking or writing
    about a topic or phenomenon that constructs our
    ideas about what it is/how it works
  • Discourses construct our views and possible
    discussions about a phenomenon, they construct
    that phenomenon in language
  • Can reveal conceptual underpinnings shared by a
    discourse community
  • Sampling is defined by the discourse community
    under study
  • Discourse analysis is like riding a bicycle, the
    more you do it the better you get but there is no
    definitive guide to how to do it, you just need
    to get on and have a go(adapted from Potter and
    Wetherall 1998)
  • Reading between the lines, the story behind the
    story, the hidden rules and laws that shape the
    way phenomena are constructed in talk and text
  • Methods anything (qualitative) goes

Discourse theory process
Question generation
Questions generated from literature, media
reports, personal experience, anecdotal evidence
Underlying form of question is What activities
constitute (this experience/ concept or
phenomenon) by (these actors)? or What
discursive resources are used to construct
(these individuals, organization or group) as
(individuals, an organization or a group)?
E.G. How are new university employees at Bradford
University socialized into workplace rituals?
What is being constructed?
Discourse theory process
Written word literature for new staff, diaries,
transcripts, minutes of meetings Spoken word
interviews, observation, focus groups With DA
many different methods may have to be used to see
commonalities in constructions across data
Identifying relevant constructions across talk
and text
Theory generation
Generating a model or framework explaining the
  • Is not just participant observation!!
  • Ethnography is about understanding the everyday
    activities of people within local settings
  • The cultural characteristics of a group
  • Very good for identifying and theorising cultural
    behaviours not easily explained (hence
    observation is a good method to use)
  • Native habitats (16/17/18/19/20th C) a remote
    tribal village
  • Native habitats (21st C) a call centre, a
    restaurant kitchen, a large supermarket, a home,
    a hospital, an office
  • Captures the complexity, richness, interactions,
    processes, behaviours and ambiguities of the
    chosen research setting
  • Sampling defined by the target group
  • Methods anything goes, but observation should be
    a significant part of the design

The ethnographic process
Question generation
Questions generated from literature, media
reports, personal experience, anecdotal evidence
Underlying form of question is What are the
defining cultural characteristics of (group x)?

E.G. What are the cultural characteristics of a
highly innovative organization?
The ethnographic process
Generation of codes and themes relating to
processes as well as categories
Theory generation Contribution to literature
Fit within overall topic
  • Methodologies are a crucial part of a qualitative
    research project - methods alone will not
  • Overview of some relevant methodologies
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