B & B Ch 4_5.17.10

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  • 1. Qualitative Data Chapter 4 Qualitative Research for Education Jamie Campbell
  • 2. Data is…
    • The rough materials researchers collect from the world they are studying
    • The particulars that form the basis of analysis
    • Materials the people doing the study actively record (ex. interview transcripts and participant observation field notes)
    • What others have created and the researcher finds (ex. Diaries, photographs, official documents, newspaper articles)
  • 3. Data is (cont’d)…
    • Both evidence and clues
    • Stubborn facts
  • 4. Friendly Advice
    • Pledge to keep your data physically well-organized
    • Develop a plan about how you are going to do it
    • Live up to your vow
    • Do what good teachers do:
      • Make backup files
      • Keep a hard copy
      • Set up a good filing system
  • 5. Fieldnotes - Definition
    • A written account of what the researcher hears, sees, experiences, and thinks in the course of collecting and reflecting on the data in a qualitative study
  • 6. Fieldnotes in Practice
    • In participant observation all data is considered to be fieldnotes
    • Example of fieldnotes is in Appendix B (pgs. 260-270)
    • Benefit of doing fieldnotes – Improves quality and speed of writing
    • Field notes are made up of descriptive and reflective materials
  • 7. Content of Descriptive Fieldnotes
    • Descriptive Fieldnotes:
      • Objectively record the details for what has occurred in the field
      • Capture a “slice of life”
    • Example – “Child looks like a mess.”
    • Is that statement descriptive?
  • 8. Non-Descriptive Words
    • Do not use abstract words unless it is a direct quote
    • Examples of abstract words:
    Disciplining Playing Tutoring Practicing Nice Person Good Student
  • 9. What Do Descriptive Fieldnotes Encompass?
    • Portraits of subjects – appearance, dress mannerisms, style of talking and acting
    • Reconstruction of dialogue – conversations that go on between people are recorded as well as what subjects say to you in private
    • Description of physical setting – things that are on the walls, furniture, sense of building, what is the image of school when you approach it
    • Accounts of particular events – Who? What? Nature of the action?
  • 10. What do Descriptive Fieldnotes Encompass (cont’d)
    • Depiction of activities – Descriptions of behavior, reproduce sequence of behaviors and acts
    • The observer’s behavior – Scrutinize yourself (behaviors, assumptions or anything else that could affect the data)
    • Make sure you have “rich data”
  • 11. Reflective Fieldnotes
    • Reflect a more personal account
    • More subjective
    • Emphasis on:
      • Speculation
      • Feelings
      • Problems
      • Ideas
      • Hunches
      • Impressions
      • Prejudices
  • 12. Reflective Fieldnotes (cont’d)
    • “ Let it all hang out.”
    • Lay out plans
    • Clarify and correct mistakes or misunderstandings
    • Confess mistakes, inadequacies, or prejudices
    • Likes or dislikes
    • Speculate
  • 13. Reflective Fieldnotes (cont’d)
    • Be self-reflective
    • Be aware of relationship to your setting
    • Think about evolution of design and analysis
    • Keep accurate records
    • “ It is difficult to get the right balance between reflective and descriptive material.”
  • 14. Reflective Fieldnotes (cont’d)
    • Notational Convention:
      • O.C. stands for Observers Comments scattered throughout the notes
      • Memos are longer pieces added to or placed at the end of a set of notes
  • 15. What do O.C.’s, Memos, and other Materials Contain?
    • Reflections on analysis – speculate about what you are learning, themes, patterns, connections, additional ideas, thoughts that pop up
    • Reflections on method – comments about rapport, joys, problems, dilemmas, what’s left to do
    • Reflections on ethical dilemmas and conflicts – relational concerns dealing with your own values and responsibilities to your subjects
  • 16. What do O.C.’s, Memos, and other Materials Contain? (cont’d)
    • Reflections on the observer’s frame of mind – researchers have opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices which they reveal in their notes (“What you thought doesn’t hold up to the empirical world you are studying.”)
    • Points of clarification – side notes that clarify something that might have been confusing
  • 17. The Form of Fieldnotes
    • The first page – contains heading, date and time, who did it, where it took place, number of the set of notes in study
    • Paragraphs and margins – New paragraph when a new person enters the setting, leave margins on either side of page
    • Example: pgs. 125-126
  • 18. Hints for Writing Fieldnotes
    • Get right to the task
    • Do not talk about your observation before you record it
    • Find a quiet place to record your work
    • Set aside an adequate amount of time to complete notes
    • Start by jotting down some notes
    • Try to go through the observation chronologically
    • Let the conversations and events flow from mind to paper
    • If you forget something, add it
    • Understand that note-taking is laborious and burdensome
  • 19. Transcripts from Taped Interviews and Recording Equipment
    • Transcripts – Typed interviews transcribed from recordings
    • Form of transcripts on pgs. 129-130
    • Use good recording equipment
  • 20. Documents
    • Personal Documents – any first-person narrative that describes and individual’s actions, experiences, and beliefs
    • Intimate Diaries – a regular, running description and reflective commentary of the events in his or her life
    • Personal Letters – letters written between family members
    • Autobiographies – your own personal story
  • 21. Official Documents
    • Documents from schools, organizations, companies, governments
    • Some examples:
    Memos Minutes from Meetings Newsletters Policy Documents Proposals Codes of Ethics Dossiers Students’ Records Statements of Philosophy News Releases Brochures Pamphlets
  • 22. Other Documents
    • Internal documents – documents circulated inside an organization
    • External communication – materials produced by organizations for public consumption
    • Student records and personnel files – files on employees or student
  • 23. Popular Culture Documents
    • Videos
    • Educational and feature films
    • Rock and roll
    • Magazines
    • Television
    • Romance novels
    • Advertisements
  • 24. Guidelines for Using Popular Culture Documents
    • How interest groups read popular culture documents – Why does an individual or group watch a TV program?
    • Your pleasure is significant – choose a form of pop culture that gives you pleasure
    • Decisions about emphasis – emphasis on the subjects who view the pop culture instead of the pop culture itself
  • 25. More Guidelines for Pop Culture
    • Individual or group interviews and observations – may want to look at pop culture with group and then talk with group about it
    • Systematic organization of textual data – need to be systematic when keeping track of details of pop culture
  • 26. Photography
    • Photos provide strikingly descriptive data, are often used to understand the subjective, and are frequently analyzed inductively
  • 27. Types of Photographs
    • Found photographs – photos that turn up in a setting under study can provide a good sense of individuals no longer there events and their setting
    • Researcher-produced photographs – photos taken to use in research to use in remembering or studying details that might be overlooked; cameras can also be given to subjects for them to take photos
    • Photos as analysis – when a photo stands by itself as an abstract statement or objective rendering of setting or issue
  • 28. Types of Photos (cont’d)
    • Technique and equipment
      • Know what you are looking for to recognize what you are looking for when it appears
      • Know what is supposed to be in the picture and make sure it is in your view finder
      • Practice taking photos and the skill will come to you
      • Use good equipment
      • Get a model release
  • 29. Official Statistics and Other Quantitative Data
    • Quantitative data can have conventional uses in qualitative research.
    • Suggests trends in a setting (ex. numbers increasing or decreasing)
    • Provides descriptive information (ex. age, race, sex, SES)
    • Opens avenues to explore and questions to answer
    • Often shows up in qualitative writing as descriptive statistics
  • 30. 4 Ways to Think About Quantitative Data
    • The concept of “Real Rates” is a misnomer
    • Singling out people, objects and events to quantify changes their meaning.
    • Quantifying has a temporal dimension
    • Quantification involves many different participants and can only be understood as a multilevel phenomenon
  • 31. 4 More Ways
    • Both the person and her/her motivation for counting affects the meaning, process and figures generated
    • Counting releases social processes within the setting where the counting takes place
    • People who produce data in educational setting are subject to social processes and structural forces
    • Enumeration and is products have strong affective and ritualistic meaning the U.S. educational system
  • 32. Final Thought
    • “ There comes a point where you have enough data to accomplish what you have set out to do, and the explanation of why you remain is hollow. This is the time to say goodbye and get on to the data analysis.”