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Qualitative Research – what does this mean?
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Qualitative Research – what does this mean?


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An introduction to Qualitative Research for people unfamiliar with this methodology

An introduction to Qualitative Research for people unfamiliar with this methodology

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  • 1. Qualitative Research – what does this mean? Tim Healey and Peter Hall March 2014 Insight Team
  • 2. Introduction • When we conduct Primary Research as with any other job, you need to choose the right tool for the right job. • So, logic helps us to understand that before we choose the tool – we need to think about the job we are being asked to do, else we might bring the wrong tool when we come to do the job • In research, the job is grandly referred to as The Research Question • This means asking ourselves “what are we trying to find out”
  • 3. The Research Question • This might seem obvious, but for people who work in and manage public services can be very close to the service they run and sometimes it helps to ask the obvious question - just what is it that you want to find out? • Sometimes this question might come as a bit of a surprise and cause them to think
  • 4. The Research Question • Words which people commissioning research might use in answering this question are • How many? What? Where? When? (Confirmatory) • Why do? How? (Exploratory) • How many leads us towards counting methods – Quantitative • Why do leads us to Qualitative Methods
  • 5. Qualitative Data Types Data that are not characterized by numbers, and instead are • textual, • visual, • oral Focus is on • stories, • visual portrayals, • Meaningful characterisations, • interpretations, • and other expressive descriptions.
  • 6. Qualitative Tools If you have a requirement for analysis of this sort; this sort of research question and this sort of data, you need a set of research tools which are designed to find these things out – and they are mostly different tools than those we would use for quantitative research. Some of these qualitative tools are a bit wild and whacky for use in public service – but for the remainder of this presentation, we’re going to highlight just three • Focus Groups • In-depth Interviews • Textual Analysis
  • 7. Qualitative Tools Focus Group Interview An unstructured, free-flowing interview with a small group of around six to ten people. Focus groups are led by a trained moderator who follows a flexible format encouraging dialogue among respondents.
  • 8. Qualitative Tools Focus Group Interview This is fragrance guru Anne Gottlieb – she’s the person you get in if you want your product to smell great. Here her client is Lynx who are launching a brand new world wide bodyspray fragrance - code name Axe The final say - yes or no - for the fragrance she’s been working on developing for 12 months comes from a single focus group of young men from Brazil (37:46)
  • 9. Qualitative Tools In-Depth Interviews • A one-on-one interview between a professional researcher and a research respondent conducted about some relevant business or social topic. • The researcher asks many questions and follows up each answer with probes for additional elaboration. • Like focus group moderators, the interviewer’s role is critical in a depth interview. He or she must be a highly skilled individual who can encourage the respondent to talk freely without influencing the direction of the conversation. • They sound like this • Not only does the interview have to be conducted, but each interview produces about the same amount of text as does a focus group interview. This has to be analysed and interpreted by the researcher. • We’ve had some success in engaging the people who commission the research in the analysis of the transcribed data
  • 10. Qualitative Tools Textual Analysis • Both Focus Group and Depth Interviews generate transcriptions which become the data for further analysis. • Generally, this process is known as coding – this is a process for boiling down the wide range of data to distil from it the essence of the points being made • Whilst we think of ourselves as unique individuals, social research over the years has reinforced Pareto’s famous 80:20 maxim – in any community we are usually 80% the same as other people and only express our individuality 20% of the time • So, across respondents to interviews and participants in focus groups 80% of people make very similar points and 20% will be unique points. • The knack is to soak yourself in the data, try coding schemes until you group all of the responses into a number of codes (smells of flowers, won’t be used by manual workers, smells sexy etc. 80%) and a set of unique statements (20%)
  • 11. Qualitative Tools Textual Analysis • You can use the same approach towards coding free-text entry data from questionnaires • Coding in a group can also engage the customer with the data • You can do this simply using Excel – or there are pieces of software (called QDA programmes) which automate this process to an extent
  • 12. Qualitative Tools Conversations An informal qualitative data gathering approach in which the researcher engages a respondent in a discussion of the relevant subject matter. Free-association techniques Record respondents’ first (topof- head) cognitive reactions to some stimulus. Observation The researcher’s descriptions of what actually happens in the field; these notes then become the text from which meaning is extracted. Collages Business researchers sometimes have respondents prepare a collage to represent their experiences. Projective techniques An indirect means of questioning enabling respondents to project beliefs and feelings onto a third party, an inanimate object, or a task situation.
  • 13. Summary
  • 14.