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Lecture Outline The grounded theory methodology Preparing for and doing inductive content analysis Open, axial and selective coding Coding frame Examples and exercises
Objectives By the end of this lecture, you should be able to: • Explain the grounded theory (or inductive) approach to analyzing qualitative data • Identify and differentiate open, axial and selective coding • Apply the three coding schemes to your interview transcript
Grounded Theory—an introductionGlaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine.[the gist] General methodology (systematic set of procedures) for developing and generating an inductively derived (grounded) theory about a phenomenon. “Theory” is grounded (i.e. based) in the data and derived from a systematic set of procedures that involves data collection and analysis pertaining to that phenomenon under study. The researcher studies the topic & its setting over time
Grounded Theory “Let the informant speak and don’t get in the way” Theoretical sensitivity and sensitizing concepts — It is not based on any pre-conceived or borrowed concept. Interpretation incorporates the voices and perspectives of the informants A general method for inductive analysis, widely used in social sciences disciplines
Grounded Theory As a method: • Constant comparisonthrough continuous interplay between analysis and data collection until “theoretical saturation”. • Uses theoretical sampling in data collection and analysis; that is, “…the process of data collection for generating theory whereby the analyst jointly collects, codes and analyzes his data and decides what data to collect next and where to find them, in order to develop his theory as it emerges” (p.45) • Systematic coding procedure: Open, axial, selective coding
Grounded Theory Three important features: • Theories are always traceable to the data that give rise to it • Theories are “fluid” embrace multiple actors and emphasize temporality and process • The “fitness” of a theory live with data to see whether and how (to what extent) a theory fits the situation under study
Grounded Theory Challenges for researchers/users • Need to set aside as much as possible theoretical ideas or notions so that the analytic, substantive theory can emerge. • Assure it is a truly systematic approach to research with specific steps in data analysis • Difficulty in determining when categories are saturated or theories are sufficiently detailed • Need to recognize that the primary outcome of using this approach is a theory with specific components: A central phenomenon Causal conditions Strategies conditions and context And consequences
Preparing for and doing inductive content analysis Making sense out of the data 1. Crucial to the overall ability of the researcher to describe and explain what is being studied 2. Live with the data 3. Constantly move back and forth between data and concepts to fully describe and explain what is being researched
Preparing for and doing analysis Organizing the data • Managing the data • Expanding data files • Preparing the analysis Understanding the Data • Analyzing the data • Living with the data and revising the analysisReading: Kirby, S., & McKenna, K. (1989). Chapter 6. Preparing for and doing analysis. In Experience research social change (pp.128-154). Toronto: Garamond Press.
Managing the data Examine how data items and the groupings of data items generate specific and general patterns through constant comparison of these data items until a data item goes together with other item(s) and can be identified and located together in a category file Analysis and data collection continually overlap House data in a PROCESS FILE and a CONTENT FILE
Expanding data files An expansion of the number of files will facilitate analysis of the large amount of data that the research process has generated…. • Identity file • Type file • Document file • Content file • Process file Software programs such as Nudist N’vivo and Atlas.ti are designed with the principles of the grounded theory approach for managing, coding and sorting, and presenting qualitative data.
Preparing the analysis BibbitsPropertiesCategoriesSubstantive theoriesGRAND THEORY 1. Bibbitsthe smallest units of codes 2. Propertiesthe characteristics of bibbits, the themes and identifiers located within a bibbit 3. Categoriesgroups of bibbits sharing common properties and going together 4. Substantive theoriestheories developed from the categorized data that help to describe and explain the research focus 5. Grand theorysubstantive/grounded theories empirically and repeatedly verified, tested and/or falsified
Analyzing the data Analyze data and group bibbits and properties in such a way that categories, patterns and/or themes begin to emerge. • The analysis files of content a collection of file folders labelled with different codes representing category names. Coding refers to the identification of an idea, event, theme or common property that identifies the content of a bibbit. • The analysis files of process process files contain information about the dynamics of the research process
Analyzing the data• Analysis within data categories the first step to consolidate information. If some bibbits cannot be placed (or aren’t fit within a category), they are called satellites. Such bibbits sometimes indicate directions for further data collection or research• Analysis between/among data categoriesmoving bibbits or open codes from category to category for commonality or “better fit”.• Cross-referencing all bibbits placed in categories are cross- referenced, so look for ones that go together. If many are cross-referenced, it may be an indication of a strong pattern.• Hurricane thinkingThe research question is written in the centre of a page. Category names are moved about the page until those which have the strongest ties remain closest to the centre, with darker/bolder lines denoting stronger ties (if you plan to use a diagram to display your data). Patterns will eventually emerge to describe the data.
Living with data/revising analysis Step back Reflect on the analysis Move back and forth amongst bibbits, properties, and categories Rework the analysis as necessary
Open, axial and selective coding (Strauss, 1987)[Reading] Strauss, A. (1987) Qualitative analysis for social scientists. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Open coding preliminary coding which occurs in the initial or first stage (sometimes open coding starts during data collection). It’s a systematic process of assigning labels or open codes to the transcribed raw data. May need to note recurring codes or labels for identifying categories or patterns See seminar handouts • Tips for open coding • End-of-lecture exercise
Axial coding 2nd stage that involves a search for the relationship between open codes, e.g., identifying open codes that have common properties Revolves around the “axis” of one category at a time, and thus so-named “Intense” in the sorting of open codes Results in cumulative knowledge about the relationships between that category and others DO NOT DISREGARD A SPECIAL/UNIQUE (stand-alone) CODE (c.p., outliers in quantitative analysis); this could reflect the essence of qualitative research [not always frequency counts]
Selective coding third/final phase of coding which goes beyond axial coding and involves the identification of broader themes or categories “Code towards the core”, or coding systematically for the core category Delimit coding to only those codes that relate significantly to the core code Look for conditions, interactions, strategies and consequences that relate to the core category Memos are used as an aid in theory integration and in identifying the core Self-consciously systematic (in contrast to open coding) Generation of theory occurs around the core category
Selective coding Criteria for the core category: 1. It must be central 2. Open and axial codes pointing to the core must appear frequently 3. Relate easily to other categories 4. Have implications for more general theories 5. Enable a generated or grounded theory to move forward
Coding Frames Common classes - categories with everyday meaning for a culture or society e.g. age, gender, guest - so people can easily relate to Special classes – labels used by members of certain groups e.g. jargon. “Out-group” & “in-group” classifications Theoretical classes – emerge in the course of analysis. Borrowed from special classes & not immediately observable, but provide a key link
Objective checklistobjective Read through the objective of this lecture and check YES NO () YES if you feel you have achieved it. 1 Explain the grounded theory (or inductive) approach to analyzing qualitative data 2 Identify and differentiate open, axial and selective coding 2 Explain terms, e.g., bibbits, properties, categories, substantive theory, core category, etc 3 Apply coding schemes to interview transcript