Campus Session 3 Paula Nottingham BAPP WBS3835 Inquiry Tools Jim Dine, 1973,MoMa Observations Surveys Interviews Focus Groups Jim Dine, 1962,MoMa
Observations Observations can be a rich source of information of a behavioural nature - observation grids can be devised in order to examine the number of times that behaviour occurs or to record specific responses or interventions http://www.ehow.co.uk/
Observations The observation method involves the researcher in watching, recording and analysing events of interest. the events may be recorded, either at the time or later by the researcher the observations may be structured in terms of a predetermined framework or may be relatively open. The observer may also be a participant in the events being studied…
Observations Data is often both qualitative (how and why) and quantitative (how much and when). As such the researcher might need to draw up a coding framework that ensures it is analysed within reasoned boundaries of subjectivity-objectivity. You can practice developing your analytical skills by observing meetings (or similar events) on television or in the workplace (Bell, 2005). Interactions with interviewees are noted in the analysis – describe how you carried out the observation…
Observations If you are considering observation as an inquiry tool you will need to ensure that you are able to respond sensitively and appropriately to issues of ethics, permission and confidentiality. There needs to be an understanding of the context for the event or meeting that was observed in order to draw conclusions from the data. This would always include gaining insight into any inherent conflicts from the duality of the worker/researcher perspective.
Surveys news.bbc.co.uk The main advantage of the survey approach is the ability to gather data from wide range of representative respondents. The national census and large-scale MORI polls are good examples of the survey approach at its most effective.
Surveys Surveys are usually associated with the idea of asking groups of people questions about who they are or what they ‘think’. The subjects being investigated by the researcher can in fact be about a range of issues, events and activities. Surveys can be both quantitative (counting up the responses and giving percentages of the responses) and qualitative (leaving space for participants to make comments). A survey entirely based on one questionnaire might be limited in terms of the depth of inquiry that can be undertaken, but it could make up for this in terms of the breadth or range of results achieved. To achieve generalisable results, the researcher can survey a representative sample of the population of interest. Selection of sufficient numbers of people to target in the population of interest can be developed using a sampling frame that helps ensure that there are sufficient numbers i n categories or variables of specific interest.
Surveys <ul><li>The aim is to devise precise written questions for answer by a predetermined group or sample. If closed questions are used, the questionnaire can provide a means of gathering data from a wide range of respondents in a comparatively short space of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Low response rates are often problematic as they can affect the validity and reliability of your data. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions need careful definition as does their positioning and layout in the printed questionnaire. These questions can be factual in nature, finding out basic information for comparison and correlation, or using attitudinal scale that was popularised by Likert (Bell, 2005) that allow for a greater range of response than yes or no answers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Attitudes can … be ascertained by presenting a list of declarative statements and asking respondents to rate them in terms of agreement or disagreement” (Black, 1999, p.227). </li></ul></ul>
Analysing the data The framework for data analysis of replies determined in advance. Coding your questionnaire: There are five steps involved in the coding process (Survey Monkey can export this data): 1. Develop the coding frame for both pre-coded (closed) and open questions. 2. Create a codebook and coding instructions. 3. Code the questionnaires. 4. Transfer the values to a computer (as in an Excel spreadsheet). 5. Check and clean the data (you can make simple graphs with the data). Interpretation involves identifying significant results, trends, patterns, similarities and differences and offering an explanation for them. This can be expressed in the form of numbers or words in your findings…
(Image courtesy of beewebhead on Flickr obtained from MIT open access website) Interviews
Interview- what is it? It is a qualitative method where you collect what people say (from your sample) in order to use it as evidence. Its advantage is that you “can follow up on ideas, probe responses and investigate motives and feelings” (Bell, 2005, p.157). You can ask the why questions… It is an occasion to gather information ‘for the record’, with a specific agenda set out by the researcher, it is not just a conversation (Denscombe,2007). When it is processed, the evidence from the interview will provide data for your research.
Sampling – choosing who to interview There are a number of different ways to design a sampling frame and this will depend on your approach and access. Match your methods to your research problem and work-based learning project. Purposive - choosing people who can answer the questions using defined criteria (qualitative) Representative - selection of the sample population (quantitative and mixed - i.e. the interviews might follow a survey) more ‘scientific’ - using a version of probability or non-probability sampling
Purposive sampling considers roles and expertise
Types of Interview <ul><li>Structured - closed questions to illicit information that can be turned into data, like a social survey in person or for targeted information, uses identical questions that can be standardised </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured - broad topic questions but with some built in flexibility, usually some standardisation </li></ul><ul><li>Open – usually around a general topic but where you allow the participant to introduce subjects and/or narratives more freely. </li></ul>
Developing questions and trying them out <ul><li>Interview Questions - ask what you would like to know about for your project. Think this process through. </li></ul><ul><li>Piloting the process - draft the questions and their sequence. Try this out with a willing participant who can offer you suggestions for any changes - you can also talk about this stage with your Academic Advisor. Change your interview process as needed. </li></ul><ul><li>How does this differ from professional networking? How is it similar? </li></ul>
Interview Preparations <ul><li>Consent Forms - the ‘researcher’ needs to ensure informed consent from the participants – more in the campus session on ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Access and/or Gatekeeper Permission – you may need to write or email the Manager telling them what you are doing and receive the ok to interview people </li></ul><ul><li>You may need a letter from Middlesex University to formalise your agreement with the workplace, especially if confidentiality agreements are required. </li></ul>
Protocols - arranging the meeting <ul><li>Send an information sheet, interview questions and consent form prior to the meeting if possible. Tell the participant what they will need to do to prepare and how much time you will need. Make clear your needs… </li></ul><ul><li>Allow time to contact people to agree to interview , for example, to work with children you might need a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check. </li></ul><ul><li>Most people at work are busy and scheduling is required, other interviews might take place outside of work because of confidentiality or preference. You may have to do interviews over the phone or Skype. </li></ul>
Notes and taping <ul><li>Gain permission to record the audio visual – use 2 devices to ensure you get the interview - digital devices mean that you can store the information but be careful about the storage and confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>You may want to take a few notes to highlight certain responses - have sheets prepared and maybe a clipboard. This may not be possible in an ‘ethnographic’ situation i.e. an evening performance venue. </li></ul>
Doing the interview Be punctual and have all handouts ready (Consent form, questionnaires, etc.). Arrange the surroundings, i.e. the seating and recording devices, so that the participant is comfortable. It is important that the participant is supported in the process and that you also engage with them in a professional manner BUT that you come away from the interview with the evidence that you need for your inquiry
Asking the questions <ul><li>Keeping a neutral tone and ‘chairing the process ’ to keep it on time, stopping if necessary or asked to stop. </li></ul><ul><li>Taping also means the recording of your voice, so you want to keep your talking down to a minimum. Don’t ask leading questions - this is harder than it sounds - BUT try to ask clarification questions to bring out interesting points, that is why you are there. </li></ul><ul><li>In a semi-structured or open interview or focus group - there will be extra information that you may need to sift out, but try not to cut off the flow of the speaker. </li></ul>
Managing data from interviews <ul><li>Generally the interview data is transcribed into written findings. </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes should be written as they are spoken, and you can add in non-verbal responses to the text. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally, this data is kept in a secure place that you describe in your writing up, and is only viewed by the original researcher although in some cases academic advisors may need to check this process. </li></ul><ul><li>In this case, transcriptions and tapes should be kept until the end of the programme. </li></ul>
Analysing interviews The analysis of data collected from interviews can be complex. It has been collected within a certain context or a variety of different ones and must be analysed with that in mind. Care must be taken that comments are not lifted or quoted outside the context or out of sequence. Quotes can be selected because they typify the data (common responses) or there might be some statements that are significant though only said once (significant). Data can also be put into indigenous categories or those that the participants use themselves.
Analysing interviews The qualitative researcher can categorise (code) data into themes, and the data may include the researchers own ideas, impressions and interpretations. The data is organised so that comparisons, contrasts and insights can be made with the aim of finding the meaning of the evidence presented. Content analysis can also looks at how often words and phrases are used to explain meaning by a systematic review of the data that could be subjected to statistical significance testing, e.g. categorising the positive and negative statements in a transcript of the interview or related documents (like government policy papers).
Focus Groups Your choice of setting, public or private, depends on the situation.
Focus Groups Focus groups are similar to group interviews but they have a different dynamics because of the interaction between the participants. “ Focus groups are more likely to include members who either have similar characteristics or experience… or are known to have a professional concern about and knowledge of the issues involved.” (Bell, 2005, p. 162).
Focus Groups Focus groups can also be hard to manage so the role of the moderator or facilitator (yourself) is an important one to make sure to provide the ‘trigger’ topic or questions and to channel the discussion to elicit the data needed for the research (Denscombe, 2007. p. 179). With focus groups you may want to have everyone identify themselves first so that you can identify their voice - these are more difficult to transcribe.
Focus Groups - the setting Researcher Gatekeeper Recording devices Actual seating arrangement for a recent focus group in which Paula took part.
Actions for after the interview or focus group <ul><li>Transcription should be verbatim – including pauses, nonverbal responses, repetitions in order to analyse the data after the interview </li></ul><ul><li>If you are transcribing yourself, leave enough time </li></ul><ul><li>(rule of thumb is 1 hour = 8 hours of transcription) </li></ul><ul><li>OR transcribe only the quotes you need. </li></ul><ul><li>You can pay someone to do this but need to insure confidentiality and anonymity – i.e. use pseudonyms or name substitutes like Respondent 1, Actor 1, Actor 2 etc. or describe them by their role UNLESS you have permission to do otherwise. </li></ul>
Troubleshooting Cancelled appointments - situations change in the workplace - so you must plan for changes and contingencies (Plan A, Plan B). Getting people to send you documents if they do not have them to hand. Working with children and parents’ permission Working with people you know at work Getting the details for additional participants for the research project - non-probability snowballing or signposting… With focus groups you may want to have everyone identify themselves first so that you can identify their voice - these are more difficult to transcribe.
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