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Blag your way in Qualitative
Research (in less than 40 mins)
Jason Rutter, School of Dentistry, University of DundeeImage:...
Caveats
• This is not a session about how to
do Qualitative Research
• I’m going to try and avoid the
philosophy stuff
• I...
It’s more complicated than that!
Questions…
• What is qualitative research?
• What does qualitative research offer?
• What types of qualitative research ar...
Interspecies perspective taking
• Tested fMRI scanner with dead
salmon
• Asked it to identify human
emotions
• It did….
• ...
Interspecies perspective taking
• But , of course, it didn’t really….
• “Random noise in the EPI time
series may yield spu...
Methods alone - whatever they
might be - do not generate
good research or astute
analyses. How researchers use
methods mat...
What is qualitative research?
Image: ‘what’ by Scott Schiller - https://goo.gl/UbBGqq
Used under CC BY NC
What then is time?
If no one asks me, I
know: if I wish to
explain it to one
that asketh, I know
not.
The Confessions of S...
Not just because
It uses qualitative data!
So do literary studies, history, political sciences, religious studies,
philoso...
• Data driven
• Focused on a site
• Inductive
• Reflexive
• Iterative
• Produces theory
Image: ‘i kept telling Geoff the S...
General elements
• Emic approach – exploring the meanings of the actor
• Naturalistic enquiry – data gathered within conte...
I lied about the philosophy…
• Associated with phenomenology
• (from Greek phainómenon "that which appears" and lógos
"stu...
What does qualitative research offer?
• Offers an integrated perspective
• Understand group interactions as well as indivi...
What types of qualitative
research are there?
Image: ‘Choose a Door’ by Adrian Berg -
https://goo.gl/mfpPdg. Used under CC...
Action Research, Advocacy Research, Aesthetics, Applied Research, Appreciative Inquiry, Artifact
Analysis, A/r/tography, A...
Why choose a particular method?
• The choice of approach is subjective – but should be motivated
• Looking for a ‘best fit...
What is Qualitative Data?
Qualitative researchers
have the annoying habit
of using ‘data’ as a
singular.
Deep down we know this is wrong.
Please don...
Making or finding data
• Interviews
• Unstructured (passive/nondirective) interviews (Qual possibly GT)
• Semi-structured ...
Theoretical statements have
become synonymous with
hypotheses about the
relationships between variables,
and variables hav...
‘All is Data’*
Glaser, Barney G. (2001). The Grounded Theory Perspective: Conceptualization
Contrasted with Description. M...
Unstructured data?
Image: ‘Cat’ by yasin turkoglu- https://goo.gl/sdgXwN. Used under CC BY ND
0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144
Fibonacci Numbers | Virahanka Numbers
0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144
Fibonacci Numbers | Virahanka Numbers
Rarely are data
random. Part of the
task of the res...
Communicative action
is doubly contextual
in being both context-
shaped and context-
renewing.
Heritage, J. (1984). Garfin...
Conversation Analysis
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of
...
Image: ‘Trying to repair the Camaro’ by clement127
https://goo.gl/jYDoHi. Used under CC BY NC ND
Where’s the Hypothesis?
• Not locked in to original concept
• Hypotheses are developed through analysis
• Testing and refi...
An overemphasis in current
sociology on the verification
of theory, and a resultant de-
emphasis on the prior step of
disc...
Coding
https://goo.gl/wzLL5u CC BY SA
Coding
• A priori coding
• Deductive – so hard for new knowledge to be generated
• Not reflexive
• About collecting inform...
Image: Wrong Way Signs’ by Arizona Department of Transportation
https://goo.gl/nIhn5L. Used under CC BY NC ND
Are the findings generalizable?
• Replication is not the same as generalisability
• You can’t step into the same river twi...
The First Five Seconds
• PhD research
• Opening of phone calls
• Corpus of 500 calls to & from a
USA police station
• 499 ...
Answerer speaks first
• Schegloff 1968
#9 (Police make call)
Receiver is lifted, and there is a one second pause
Police: H...
The distribution rule is no less a
‘special case’ for having many
occurrences, nor the latter more
so for having only one....
Theoretical Saturation
• Specifically linked to Grounded Theory
• Related to Theoretical Sampling
• No new data are appare...
What about Objectivity?
This discomfort with
subjectivity clearly makes
sense from a psychological
science standpoint that...
Onwuegbuzie, A.J. & Leech, N.L., 2007. Validity and Qualitative Research:
An Oxymoron? Quality & Quantity, 41(2), pp.233–2...
How do I
recognize
poor qualitative
research?
Image: ‘Little Darlings’ by Dave Wild - https://goo.gl/CCvhk7. Used under CC...
Nobody in this room…
• Ever misinterpreted a p-value…
• Went data dredging, data fishing, or
p-hacking…
• Failed to replic...
• It remains descriptive
• It is essentially quant with qual data
• It classifies or quotes without theory
• It employs qu...
Clues to questionable quality
• ‘We used grounded theory’
• ‘We reached theoretical saturation’
• ‘We analysed the data us...
The Textbook Method
• Coffey, A. & Atkinson, P., 1996. Making sense of qualitative data:
complementary research strategies...
• Data driven
• Focused on a site
• Inductive
• Reflexive
• Iterative
• Produces theory
Image: ‘i kept telling Geoff the S...
Jason Rutter
School of Dentistry,
University of Dundee
J.Rutter@Dundee.ac.uk
Slides Available at
http://jasonrutter.co.uk/
Blag your way in Qualitative Research
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Blag your way in Qualitative Research

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Bluff your way in Qualitative Research (in less than 40 mins).
A short overview as to why we do qualitative research, what it is, how to understand it, and how to recognise the poor stuff.

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Blag your way in Qualitative Research

  1. 1. Blag your way in Qualitative Research (in less than 40 mins) Jason Rutter, School of Dentistry, University of DundeeImage: ‘confused’ by TobiGaulke https://goo.gl/fUvQm1 used under CC BY NC ND
  2. 2. Caveats • This is not a session about how to do Qualitative Research • I’m going to try and avoid the philosophy stuff • I’m a sociologist…. (Draw your own conclusions) • I realise your research is special, precious and, without doubt, exemplary • Annnnnd… Image: ‘Desert Rules’ by Dr. Zhivago - https://goo.gl/5SxIoc. Used under CC BY NC
  3. 3. It’s more complicated than that!
  4. 4. Questions… • What is qualitative research? • What does qualitative research offer? • What types of qualitative research are there? • What is qualitative data? • Where’s the hypothesis? • Are the findings generalizable? • What about objectivity? • How do I recognise poor qualitative research? Image: ‘Any Questions?’ by Matthias Ripp - https://goo.gl/FVmWUV. Used under CC BY
  5. 5. Interspecies perspective taking • Tested fMRI scanner with dead salmon • Asked it to identify human emotions • It did…. • Activity in the brain compare with rest state • Of 8064 voxels - 16 significant • Cluster-level significance of p = 0.001Bennett, C.M., Baird, A.A., Miller, M.B. and Wolford, G.L., 2011. Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic salmon: An argument for proper multiple comparisons correction. Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results, 1, pp.1-5.
  6. 6. Interspecies perspective taking • But , of course, it didn’t really…. • “Random noise in the EPI time series may yield spurious results if multiple comparisons are not controlled for.” • 25-40% of studies on fMRI were NOT using the corrected comparisons. Bennett, C.M., Baird, A.A., Miller, M.B. and Wolford, G.L., 2011. Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic salmon: An argument for proper multiple comparisons correction. Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results, 1, pp.1-5.
  7. 7. Methods alone - whatever they might be - do not generate good research or astute analyses. How researchers use methods matters. Mechanistic applications of methods yield mundane data and routine reports. Kathy Charmaz, 2015 Constructing Grounded Theory “ ” Image: ‘Personal Notes on Call to Action Buttons: Examples and Best Practices’ by Jacob Gube - https://goo.gl/xTvFre. Used under CC
  8. 8. What is qualitative research? Image: ‘what’ by Scott Schiller - https://goo.gl/UbBGqq Used under CC BY NC
  9. 9. What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not. The Confessions of Saint Augustine Book XI “ ” Image: ‘time’ by uditha wickramanayaka - https://goo.gl/lg0ZTP Used under CC BY NC
  10. 10. Not just because It uses qualitative data! So do literary studies, history, political sciences, religious studies, philosophy, archaeology, legal studies, linguistics, etc.
  11. 11. • Data driven • Focused on a site • Inductive • Reflexive • Iterative • Produces theory Image: ‘i kept telling Geoff the Stormtrooper, but he wouldn't listen.’ by daren – https://goo.gl/5ne7aR. Used under CC
  12. 12. General elements • Emic approach – exploring the meanings of the actor • Naturalistic enquiry – data gathered within context and on context • Situated – specific to a particular time and place • Aims to understand how people manage, experience and understand a social world • Focuses on people’s activities, processes, perspectives, categories… • Uses data which are ‘naturalistic’ • Can integrate unexpected or unique occurrences
  13. 13. I lied about the philosophy… • Associated with phenomenology • (from Greek phainómenon "that which appears" and lógos "study") • Explores the processes and structures of people within social contexts • Explores the processes and structures of people creating social contexts • Meaning is found in use….
  14. 14. What does qualitative research offer? • Offers an integrated perspective • Understand group interactions as well as individuals • Generate ideas and hypotheses • Illustrates how macro-level concepts are experienced and produced at micro level • It can engage with both the rule and exceptions • Sensitive to contradictions – possible to hold conflicting opinions • Can detail unexpected or unique occurrences
  15. 15. What types of qualitative research are there? Image: ‘Choose a Door’ by Adrian Berg - https://goo.gl/mfpPdg. Used under CC BY NC
  16. 16. Action Research, Advocacy Research, Aesthetics, Applied Research, Appreciative Inquiry, Artifact Analysis, A/r/tography, Arts-Based Research, Arts-Informed Research, Autobiography, Autoethnography, Basic Research, Biography, Case Study, Clinical Research, Collaborative Research, Community-Based Research, Comparative Research, Content Analysis, Conversation Analysis, Covert Research, Critical Action Research, Critical Arts-Based Inquiry, Critical Discourse Analysis, Critical Ethnography, Critical Hermeneutics, Critical Research, Cross-Cultural Research, Discourse Analysis, Document Analysis, Duoethnography, Ecological Research, Emergent Design, Empirical Research, Empowerment Evaluation, Ethnodrama, Ethnography, Ethnomethodology, Evaluation Research, Evidence-Based Practice, Explanatory Research, Exploratory Data Analysis, Feminist Research, Field Research, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, Genealogical Approach, Grounded Theory, Hermeneutics, Heuristic Inquiry, Historical Discourse Analysis, Historical Research, Historiography, Indigenous Research, Institutional Ethnography, Institutional Research, Interdisciplinary Research, Internet in Qualitative Research, Interpretive Inquiry, Interpretive Phenomenology, Interpretive Research, Market Research, Meta-Analysis, Meta-Ethnography, Meta-Synthesis, Methodological Holism Versus, Individualism, Methodology, Methods, Mixed Methods Research, Multicultural Research, Narrative Analysis, Narrative Genre Analysis, Narrative Inquiry, Naturalistic Inquiry, Observational Research, Oral History, Orientational Perspective, Para-Ethnography, Participatory Action Research, Performance Ethnography, Phenomenography, Phenomenology, Place/Space in Qualitative, Research, Playbuilding, Portraiture, Program Evaluation, Q Methodology, Readers Theatre, Social Justice, Social Network Analysis, Survey Research, Symbolic Interactionism, Systemic Inquiry, Theatre of the Oppressed, Transformational Methods, Unobtrusive Research, Value-Free Inquiry, Virtual Ethnography, Virtual Research, Visual Ethnography, Visual Narrative Inquiry… Given, L.M. (Ed.) 2008. The SAGE Encyclopediaof Qualitative Research Methods
  17. 17. Why choose a particular method? • The choice of approach is subjective – but should be motivated • Looking for a ‘best fit’ • ‘Best fit’ to what? • Research concern? • Available data • Integration with other data and analysis? • ‘It’s what we do’? • If research is to be judged on its own terms – it should be clear about those terms and their rationale.
  18. 18. What is Qualitative Data?
  19. 19. Qualitative researchers have the annoying habit of using ‘data’ as a singular. Deep down we know this is wrong. Please don’t correct us, it makes us sad… Image: ‘Sad’ by OFour - https://goo.gl/KFMZY5. Used under CC BY NC
  20. 20. Making or finding data • Interviews • Unstructured (passive/nondirective) interviews (Qual possibly GT) • Semi-structured (forced) interviews (Qual probably not GT) • Structured interviews (probably not Qual) • Focus Groups • Observational & Participational methods • Non-reactive methods/Unobtrusive research • Graffiti • Meeting minutes • Recordings • Rubbish (Garbage)
  21. 21. Theoretical statements have become synonymous with hypotheses about the relationships between variables, and variables have replaced actors as the active subjects with causal powers. Hedström, P., 2005. Dissecting the Social: On the Principles of Analytical Sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., p. 105 ” “ Image: ‘Two Pounds’ by Shane Byrd - https://goo.gl/J5lcV7. Used under CC BY ND
  22. 22. ‘All is Data’* Glaser, Barney G. (2001). The Grounded Theory Perspective: Conceptualization Contrasted with Description. Mill Valley, Ca.: Sociology Press. *Except numbers, number are bad. *Except when they aren’t, and then numbers are data. Image:‘DataShieldsupforthesummer,becauseyoujustneverknow...’ byMarkAhlness-https://goo.gl/xqhQbu.UsedunderCCBYNCND
  23. 23. Unstructured data? Image: ‘Cat’ by yasin turkoglu- https://goo.gl/sdgXwN. Used under CC BY ND
  24. 24. 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 Fibonacci Numbers | Virahanka Numbers
  25. 25. 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 Fibonacci Numbers | Virahanka Numbers Rarely are data random. Part of the task of the researcher is to recognise structures, identify the practices that produced those structures, and understand what those structures are enabling.
  26. 26. Communicative action is doubly contextual in being both context- shaped and context- renewing. Heritage, J. (1984). Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press. p.242 Image: ‘context’ by green kozi - https://goo.gl/Xf5PKP. Used under CC BY NC ND ” “
  27. 27. Conversation Analysis Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking for Conversation. Language, 50(4), 696–735. (1) Speaker-change recurs, or at least occurs (2) Overwhelmingly, one party talks at a time (3) Occurrences of more than one speaker at a time are common, but brief (4) Transitions (from one turn to a next) with no gap and no overlap are common. […] (14) Repair mechanisms exist for dealing with turn-taking errors and violations
  28. 28. Image: ‘Trying to repair the Camaro’ by clement127 https://goo.gl/jYDoHi. Used under CC BY NC ND
  29. 29. Where’s the Hypothesis? • Not locked in to original concept • Hypotheses are developed through analysis • Testing and refining are part of the analytical process • Analysis often parallel with data collection • Responsive to findings - can shape direction of data collection • New data can be added even at later stages of analysis
  30. 30. An overemphasis in current sociology on the verification of theory, and a resultant de- emphasis on the prior step of discovering what concepts and hypotheses are relevant for the area that one wishes to research. Glaser, B.G. & Strauss, A.L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p.2-3 “ Image: ‘Lynas (02010289)’ by IAEA Imagebank https://goo.gl/sLWnV3. Used under CC BY NC ND
  31. 31. Coding https://goo.gl/wzLL5u CC BY SA
  32. 32. Coding • A priori coding • Deductive – so hard for new knowledge to be generated • Not reflexive • About collecting information rather than developing insight • Quicker and cheaper to undertake other data collection methods. • Systematises cognitive biases • May be useful where a FONSI or confirmation of policy is the preferred outcome… • Not saying it is wrong….
  33. 33. Image: Wrong Way Signs’ by Arizona Department of Transportation https://goo.gl/nIhn5L. Used under CC BY NC ND
  34. 34. Are the findings generalizable? • Replication is not the same as generalisability • You can’t step into the same river twice • Data is specific, but theory aims to generalise an understanding • Qualitative work can build on theory making in new sites • Iterative process • Engagement with ‘outliers’/‘deviant cases’
  35. 35. The First Five Seconds • PhD research • Opening of phone calls • Corpus of 500 calls to & from a USA police station • 499 started the same way… Emanuel Schegloff Distinguished Professorof Sociology University of California at Los Angeles
  36. 36. Answerer speaks first • Schegloff 1968 #9 (Police make call) Receiver is lifted, and there is a one second pause Police: Hello. Other: American Red Cross. Police: Hello, this is Police Headquarters . . . er, Officer Stratton [etc.] Schegloff, E.A., 1968. Sequencing in Conversational Openings. American Anthropologist, 70(6), pp.1075–1095.
  37. 37. The distribution rule is no less a ‘special case’ for having many occurrences, nor the latter more so for having only one. Not number of occurrences, but common subsumption under a more general formulation is what matters. Schegloff, E.A., 1968. Sequencing in Conversational Openings. American Anthropologist, 70(6), pp.1075–1095. Image: ‘Suitcase’ by Rie H- https://goo.gl/rZ61MF. Used under CC Image flipped and cropped ” “
  38. 38. Theoretical Saturation • Specifically linked to Grounded Theory • Related to Theoretical Sampling • No new data are apparent… • Data which stretch diversity have been searched for… • No further development of category properties is foreseeable… • Links between concepts have been verified… • The study could be replicated… • (Really things are theoretical pretty wet rather than saturated!) Image: ‘[217/365]’ by Pimthida https://goo.gl/ByhjyA. Used under CC BY NC ND (This slide is here because someone always asks about theoretical saturation)
  39. 39. What about Objectivity? This discomfort with subjectivity clearly makes sense from a psychological science standpoint that emphasizes theoretically driven research and replicability of research procedures and design. Gough, B., & Madill, A. (2012). Subjectivity in psychological science: From problem to prospect. Psychological Methods, 17(3), 374–384. “ ”Image: ‘’nit’ by pshab - https://goo.gl/F0e0jh. Used under CC BY NC
  40. 40. Onwuegbuzie, A.J. & Leech, N.L., 2007. Validity and Qualitative Research: An Oxymoron? Quality & Quantity, 41(2), pp.233–249 Researcher bias is a very common threat to legitimation in constructivist research because the researcher usually serves as the person (i.e., instrument) collecting the data. “ ” Image: ‘Smile for the Camera’ by Matt Reinbold https://goo.gl/B5wz6A. Used under CC BY SA
  41. 41. How do I recognize poor qualitative research? Image: ‘Little Darlings’ by Dave Wild - https://goo.gl/CCvhk7. Used under CC BY NC
  42. 42. Nobody in this room… • Ever misinterpreted a p-value… • Went data dredging, data fishing, or p-hacking… • Failed to replicate results… • Inferred from a too small sample… • Was so subjective they were pleased their hypothesis was proven …Yet, a lot of work is poor! Gelman, A., and Stern, H. (2006) "The difference between ‘significant’ and ‘not significant’ is not itself statistically significant." The American Statistician 60(4), pp.328-331.
  43. 43. • It remains descriptive • It is essentially quant with qual data • It classifies or quotes without theory • It employs quantitative categories without reflexivity • Keen to reduce data ASAP • Fears ambiguity and lack of control • A theory introduced at the end saves the day Clues to questionable quality
  44. 44. Clues to questionable quality • ‘We used grounded theory’ • ‘We reached theoretical saturation’ • ‘We analysed the data using nVivo’ • ‘We did an ethnography’ • ‘We use inter-analyst triangulation to ensure consensus’ • It is not firmly situated within a range of literature
  45. 45. The Textbook Method • Coffey, A. & Atkinson, P., 1996. Making sense of qualitative data: complementary research strategies, London: Sage. • Corbin, J. & Strauss, A. 1990. Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory, London: Sage. • Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S., 1994. The Sage handbook of qualitative research, London: Sage. • Gubrium, J.F. & Holstein, J.A., 2001. Handbook of interview research: Context and method, London: Sage. • Miles, M.B. & Huberman, A.M. (Saldana, J.), 1983, Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook, London: Sage. • Ritchie, J. & Lewis, J. (McNaughton Nicholls & Ormston), 2003. Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers, London: Sage.
  46. 46. • Data driven • Focused on a site • Inductive • Reflexive • Iterative • Produces theory Image: ‘i kept telling Geoff the Stormtrooper, but he wouldn't listen.’ by daren – https://goo.gl/5ne7aR. Used under CC
  47. 47. Jason Rutter School of Dentistry, University of Dundee J.Rutter@Dundee.ac.uk Slides Available at http://jasonrutter.co.uk/

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