Qualitative Research Project PresentationThe Role of Law Enforcement in Drug Courts Khaled A. ElsharkawyAdvanced Qualitative Research Methods in Public Service Instructor: Dr. George Franks Date: December 9, 2012
Definition of Qualitative ResearchQualitative research is defined as research devoted to developingan understanding of human.Qualitative research is a combination of data collection andtheory generation based on observations, interviews and otherinteractions with subjects in social settings.
General Characteristics of Qualitative ResearchQualitative data, data are collected in the form of words, ratherthan numbers.Concerned with process, researchers are interested in how thingsoccur. Also, they assume change is ongoing.Inductive reasoning for data analysis, researchers explore openquestions, rather than testing hypothesis.
The Problem StatementThe first step in any research project is to define the problemthat the study will seek to address. The problem statement explains the rationale for engaging inqualitative research.Example, my current study is “the role of law enforcement indrug courts case study in Orange County.” the openingparagraph of the research plan will highlight the need for thisinformation to be illuminated.
A statement of PurposeDescribe the researchable problem and clearly express the study’spurpose.Clearly and succinctly identify key concepts of interest to be studied.Define the population to be studied and the study setting.Justify the study as a means of generating new knowledge.
Research QuestionsA good research question needs to be clear, specific and achievable.The research question should explore reasons for why people dothings or believe in something.Qualitative research can deal with so-called descriptive questions aswell as with explanatory questions.For instance, in my current study a descriptive question is whatexperiences do the police officer perception of the value of theOrange County drug court? Explanatory questions in the study are (1)how does law enforcement impact the drug court? And (2) howwould law enforcement involved in the drug benefit the community?
Selecting a Qualitative Research DesignThe four major types of qualitative research methods are:Ethnography: Ethnography (i.e., the discovery and description of theculture of a group of people).Phenomenology: Phenomenology (i.e., the descriptive study of howindividuals experience a phenomenon).Grounded Theory: Grounded theory (i.e., the development ofinductive, "bottom-up," theory that is "grounded" directly in theempirical data).Case Study Research: Case study (i.e., the detailed account andanalysis of one or more cases).
My Chosen Design Is Case StudyI have chosen the case study design over the phenomenologyand ethnography design.The research in law enforcement in drug court is one ofcommunity based problem, program, process, and detailedinvestigations of group.
The Advantages of Case StudyFirst, the case study can accomplish many of the same goals as othermethods.Second, the case study can also use either a primary (the researchercollects the data) or secondary (the researcher uses someone elsesdata) approachThird, the detailed qualitative accounts often produced in case studiesnot only help to explore or describe the data in real-life environment,but also help to explain the complexities of real life situations.
The Disadvantages of Case StudyFirst, many researchers using the case study method make themistake of relying too heavily on interpretation to guide findings andrecommendations.Second, case studies are often accused of lack of rigor.Third, case studies provide very little basis for scientific generalizationsince they use a small number of subjects, some conducted with onlyone subject
Data Collection InstrumentsInterviews: Interviewing is a technique of gathering data from humansby asking those questions and getting them to react verbally.Focus groups: Structured or unstructured focus groups allows forinteraction between more participants and the interviewer about yourtopic.Observations: Observation is the technique of obtaining data throughdirect contact with persons or group of persons.Documents: If the focus of the study is the examination of documents.
The Benefits of Using Interviews as Research SettingInterviews are a systematic way of talking and listening to people.The researcher or the interviewer often uses open questions.Data is collected from the interviewee.The interviewee or respondent is the primary data for the study.Interview is a valid and reliable instrumentIt is flexible, accessible, intelligible, and - at its best - highlyilluminative.
Selecting a Sampledifferent strategies for selecting a sample depending on :1- the scope of the study,2- the amount of time the researcher is willing and able to spend in3- data collection,4- and the tradition of inquiry used for the project.Sample size: In any research study, the target sample size—thenumber of those to be interviewed or participate in focus groups—depends on the financial and human resources available to theresearch team.
Data AnalysisCoding: Identify themes, ideas and patterns in my data.Statistics: analysis the data using statistics. Descriptive statistics simplydescribe what the data is showing while inferential statistics tries toformulate conclusions beyond the data.Narrative analysis: Narrative analysis focuses on speech and content,such as grammar, word usage, story themes, meanings of situations, thesocial, cultural and political context of the narrative.Content analysis: Content analysis looks at texts or series of texts andlooks for themes and meanings by looking at frequencies of words.
Ethical Issues in Qualitative ResearchProtection of participants through the informed consent processfavors formalized interaction between researcher and participant.Researchers need to consider seriously the rights and wrongs of whatthey may be undertaking and the moral values and principles thatguide their actions.Researchers need to communicate clearly and sincerely the natureand reasons for their research.Researchers need to respect people’s rights.Researchers need to avoid harm, risk, or wrong to the group of peoplethey are studying or are working with.Researchers need to protect the identity of respondents.