Lecture definitional terms in research methods

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Research presentation by Jeremy Barr

Research presentation by Jeremy Barr

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  • 1. Definitional Terms in Research Methods
  • 2. Identifying your field of research • What is your practice? • How can you research into your practice to identify the field which your practice belongs to? • Which questions might you ask?
  • 3. Identifying your field of enquiry What is your practice? PARADIGMS • ‘Thomas Kuhn’s landmark book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962/1996), is directly responsible for the popularity of paradigms as a way to summarize researcher’s beliefs about their efforts to create knowledge. […] In hindsight, Kuhn wished that he had used a different term like disciplinary matrix to summarize the various forms of group commitments and consensus that we now associate with paradigms.’ Piano Clark, Vicki & Creswell, J, (eds). The Mixed Methods Reader. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2008) p. 32.
  • 4. Identifying your field of enquiry What is your practice? PARADIGMS Paradigms can mean different things, for example: ‘After J. Patton (1982) spoke of the value of making “mind shifts back and forth between paradigms” … Schwandt complained that it was unclear how “such an astonishing feat can be accomplished” … Yet J. Patton was referring to paradigms as frameworks for thinking about research design, measurement, analysis, and personal involvement (what I refer to as shared beliefs among members of a speciality area”), whereas Schwandt referred to paradigms as “world views” and beliefs about the nature of reality, knowledge, and values (a mixture of the two versions of paradigms I call “world views” and “epistemological stances”). Piano Clark, Vicki & Creswell, J, (eds). The Mixed Methods Reader. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2008) p. 32.
  • 5. PARADIGMS – 3 working methods & definitions: • ‘The next version of paradigms treats the best known epistemological stances (e.g. realism and constructivism) as distinctive belief systems that influence how research questions are asked and answered and takes narrower approach by concentrating on one’s worldviews about issues within the philosophy of knowledge.’ Piano Clark, Vicki & Creswell, J, (eds). The Mixed Methods Reader. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2008) p. 34. • ‘At the next level of specificity is a version of paradigms as shared beliefs within a community of researchers who share a consensus about which questions are most meaningful and which procedures are most appropriate for answering those questions.’ Piano Clark, Vicki & Creswell, J, (eds). The Mixed Methods Reader. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2008) p. 35. • ‘The final and most specific version of paradigms treats them as model examples that serve as “exemplars” for how research is done in a given field. This usage is most familiar in the form of “paradigmatic examples” that show newcomers how a field addresses its central issues.’ Piano Clark, Vicki & Creswell, J, (eds). The Mixed Methods Reader. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2008) p.36.
  • 6. Class discussion •What is the paradigm which your research into your practice is exploring?
  • 7. RESEARCH METHODS: What is meant by Qualitative & Quantitative research?
  • 8. What are the major differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods? •Qualitative ‘Qualitative tends to be seen primarily as an inductive approach using a research question to move from instances gained in the data collection to some form of conclusion, often via comparison with existing concepts or theory. Questions tend to be explanatory and open-ended and data is often in narrative form. Reality is seen as a shifting feast, subjectivity is usually viewed as important and power is shared with the participants who are the experts on the matter under investigation. Analysis predominantly deals with meanings, descriptions, values and characteristics of people and things. The outcome sought is the development of explanatory concepts and models: appropriately theoretically underpinned, uniqueness, is favoured and widespread generalisation (apart from logical generalisation – that is from similar instance to similar instance) is avoided.’ Grbich, Carol. Qualitative Data Analysis, An Introduction. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013). P. 26 - 27.
  • 9. •Quantitative ‘In contrast quantitative is generally viewed as deductive, where the conclusions drawn follow logically from certain premises – usually rule based – which are themselves often viewed as proven, valid or ‘true’. Reality is seen as static and measurable, objectivity (distance, neutrality) is important, linearity (cause-effect) may be sought, outcomes are the major focus and pre-specified/developed hypotheses will dictate questions and approach. Researcher control of the total process is paramount, precision and predictability are important and statistical approaches to identify numbers and to clarify relationships between variables will dominate data analysis. Theory testing is the key and generalisation and predictability are the desired outcomes, survey and experimental research being the main design options.’ Grbich, Carol. Qualitative Data Analysis, An Introduction. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013). P. 26 - 27.
  • 10. Qualitative & Quantitative research in opposition ‘Up to the mid-1980s the two approaches were polarised. They were seen as deriving from completely different theoretical underpinnings with very different methods and quite separate orientations; one toward objectivity and the other toward subjectivity. The outcome of this was that people argued fiercely for the superior capacities of one camp or the other and combinations were almost never to be seen.’ Grbich, Carol. Qualitative Data Analysis, An Introduction. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013). P. 25. Today mixed, qualitative and quantitative, research methods are often used.
  • 11. Combining Qualitative & Quantitative research. An example of mixed method design: • ‘For example, using both focused (limited response) quantitative and open-ended (qualitative) questions in a survey permits a more holistic view of the questions to be addressed and allows you to follow up responses: • e.g. Have you received any services from the government? Yes/No • If Yes, could you name each service and describe your experiences of this service.’ Grbich, Carol. Qualitative Data Analysis, An Introduction. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013). P. 29.
  • 12. Understanding the philosophy of research The initial stages of research are based on assumptions & intuitions which raise questions. These lead towards the gathering of information & experimentation with different processes, (for example, in your practice). And these processes in turn raise further questions.
  • 13. Understanding the philosophy of research • Research comprises of different methods of gathering information. Research is about combining the information to make meaning through analysis, reflection and evaluation. • There are four ways in which you can reflect on the different processes within your practice to begin to formulate questions about your field of practice-based research. Research is always based on assumptions, these can be broken down into four basic assumptions when beginning a research project. These four assumptions in qualitative research are: • Ontological • Epistemological • Axiological • Methodological
  • 14. Four Philosophical Assumptions in Research: Ontological, Epistemological, Axiological & Methodological. Ontological ‘The ontological issue relates to the nature of reality and its characteristics. When researchers conduct qualitative research, they are embracing the idea of multiple realities. Different researchers embrace different realities, as do the individuals being studied and the readers of a qualitative study. When studying individuals, qualitative researchers conduct a study with the intent of reporting multiple realities. Evidence of multiple realities includes the use of multiple forms of evidence in themes using actual words of different individuals and presenting different perspectives. For example, when writers compile a phenomenology, they report how individuals participating in the study view their experiences differently.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 20.
  • 15. Four Philosophical Assumptions in Research: Ontological, Epistemological, Axiological & Methodological. Epistemological ‘With the epistemological assumption, conducting a qualitative study means that researchers try to get as close as possible to the participants being studied. Therefore, subjective evidence is assembled based on individual views. This is how knowledge is known—through the subjective experiences of people. It becomes important, then, to conduct studies in the “field,” where the participants live and work—these are important contexts for understanding what the participants are saying. The longer researchers stay in the “field” or get to know the participants, the more they “know what they know” from firsthand information. For example, a good ethnography requires prolonged stay at the research site [...] In short, the researcher tries to minimise the “distance” or “objective separateness” […] between himself or herself and those being researched.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 20.
  • 16. Four Philosophical Assumptions in Research: Ontological, Epistemological, Axiological & Methodological. Axiological ‘All researchers bring value to a study, but qualitative researchers make their values known in a study. This is the axiological assumption that characterizes qualitative research. How does the researcher implement this assumption in practice? In a qualitative study, the inquirers admit the value-laden nature of the study and actively report their values and biases as well as the value-laden nature of information gathered from the field. We say that they “position themselves” in a study. In an interpretive biography, for example, the researcher’s presence is apparent in the text, and the author admits that the stories voiced represent an interpretation and presentation of the author as much as the subject of the study.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 20.
  • 17. Four Philosophical Assumptions in Research: Ontological, Epistemological, Axiological & Methodological. Methodological ‘The procedure of qualitative research, or its methodology, are characterized as inductive, emerging, and shaped by the researcher’s experience in collecting and analysing the data. The logic that the qualitative researcher follows is inductive, from the ground up, rather than handed down entirely from a theory or from the perspectives of the inquirer. Sometimes the research questions change in the middle of the study to reflect better the types of questions needed to understand the research problem. In response, the data collection strategy, planned before the study, needs to be modified to accompany the new questions. During the data analysis, the researcher follows a path of analyzing the data to develop an increasingly detailed knowledge of the topic being studied.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 22.
  • 18. Designing a research study • What are the methods that you might use to explore your practice? • How could you design these methods to create a framework for your research enquiry? • What is the paradigm which your practice is situated in or between? • Will you be using quantitative and/or qualitative methods? The proceeding slides discuss the procedures of a qualitative way of designing a research method of investigation.
  • 19. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study INTERPRETIVE FRAMEWORK • ‘A qualitative study would ‘discuss the interpretive framework used in a project by weaving together the framework used by discussing its central tenets, how it informs the problem to a study, the research questions, the data collection, and analysis, and the interpretation. A section of this would also mention the philosophical assumptions (ontology, epistemology, axiology, methodology) associated with the interpretive framework. Thus, there would be two ways to discuss the interpretive framework: its nature and use in the study, and its philosophical assumptions.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 35.
  • 20. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study CONTEXT • Natural setting. Qualitative researchers often collect data in the field at the site where participants experience the issue or problem under study. They do not bring individuals into a lab (or contrived situation), nor do they typically send out instruments for individuals to complete, such as in survey research. Instead, qualitative researchers gather up-close information by actually talking directly to people and seeing them behave and act within their context. In the natural setting, the researchers have face-to-face interaction over time. Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 45.
  • 21. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study DESIGNING METHODS & COLLECTING SOURCES • ‘Researcher as key instrument. The qualitative researchers collect data themselves through examining documents, observing behaviour, and interviewing participants. They may use an instrument, but it is one designed by the researcher using open-ended questions. They do not tend to use or rely on questionnaires or instruments developed by other researchers.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 45.
  • 22. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study COMBINING MULTIPLE SOURCES • ‘Multiple methods. Qualitative researchers typically gather multiple forms of data, such as interviews, observations, and documents, rather than rely on a single data source. Then they review all of the data and make sense of it, organizing it into categories or themes that cut across all the data sources.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 45.
  • 23. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study PROCESSUAL INTERPRETATION & REINTERPRETATION OF SOURCES • ‘Complex reasoning through inductive and deductive logic. Qualitative researchers build their patterns, categories, and themes from the “bottom up,” by organizing the data inductively into increasingly more abstract units of information. This inductive process involves researchers working back and forth between the themes. It may also involve collaborating with the participant interactively, so that they have a chance to shape the themes or abstractions that emerge from the process. Researchers also use deductive thinking in that they build themes that are constantly being checked against the data. The inductive-deductive logic process means that the qualitative researcher uses complex reasoning skills throughout the process of research.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 45.
  • 24. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study DEVELOPING MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES • ‘Participants’ meanings. In the entire qualitative research process, the researchers keep a focus on learning the meaning that the participants hold about the problem or issue, not the meaning that the researchers bring to the research or writers from the literature. The participant meanings suggest multiple perspectives on a topic and diverse views. This is why a theme developed in a qualitative report should reflect multiple perspectives of the participants study.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 47.
  • 25. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study ADJUSTING RESEARCH METHOD IN RESPONSE TO DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FINDINGS ALONG THE WAY • ‘Emergent design. The research process for qualitative researchers is emergent. This means that the initial plan for research cannot be tightly prescribed, and that all phases of the process may change or shift after the researchers enter the field and begin to collect data. For example, the questions may change, the forms of data collection may be altered, and the individuals studied and the sites visited may be modified during the process of conducting the study. The key idea behind qualitative research is to learn about the problem or issue from participants and engage in the best practices to obtain that information.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 47.
  • 26. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study DECLARING INTENT & DRIVE OF YOUR PROJECT • ‘Reflexivity. Researchers “position themselves” in a qualitative research study. This means that researchers convey (i.e., in a method section, in an introduction, or in other places in a study) their background (e.g. work experiences, cultural experiences, history), how it informs their interpretation of the information in a study, and what they have to gain from the study. As Wolcott (2010) said: • Our readers have a right to know about us. And they do not want to know whether we played in the high school band. They want to know what prompts our interest in the topics we investigate, to whom we are reporting, and what we personally stand to gain from our study.’ Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 47.
  • 27. Qualitative research processes Designing a Qualitative Study PROVIDING A COMPLEX OVERVIEW • Holistic account. Qualitative researchers try to develop a complex picture of the problem or issue under study. This involves reporting multiple perspectives, identifying the many factors involved in the situation, and generally sketching the larger picture that emerges. Researchers are bound not by tight cause-and-effect relationships among factors, but rather by identifying the complex interactions of factors in any situation. Creswell, John. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. Sage Publications. Los Angeles. (2013) p. 47.