An introduction to qualitative research


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An introduction to qualitative research

  1. 1. An Introduction toQualitative Research Najibullah Safi, MD. MSc. HPM NPO/PHC, WHO Afghanistan
  2. 2. Outline• Introduction• Differences between qualitative and quantitative research• Study design in qualitative research• Method of data collection• Handling qualitative data• Analyzing qualitative data• Presenting the results of qualitative research4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 2
  3. 3. Introduction• Scientist more comfortable with quantitative research• Quantitative methods deal with the collection and processing numerical data• Answer questions – How often? To what extent? – How much? How many … but cannot answer questions on – Why? how? In what way?4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 3
  4. 4. Introduction cont.• Qualitative research can provide insight which is not possible to elucidate with purely quantitative data – A means for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to social or human problems – Study human behavior and social world• Help us to understand the world in which we live and why things are the way they are4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 4
  5. 5. Introduction cont.• Qualitative research answer questions on: – Why people behave the way they do – How opinions and attitudes are formed – How people are affected by the events that go on around them – How and why cultures have developed – The difference between social groups4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 5
  6. 6. Quantitative vs. Qualitative researchNo Qualitative research Quantitative research1 Subjective – concern with opinion, objective experiences and feelings of individuals2 Holistic Reductionist – identify a set of variables3 Phenomenological Scientific4 Descriptive Experimental5 Naturalistic Contrived6 Inductive – generate theories Deductive – test proposed theories7 Small sample – direct data collection, Representative sample interview, observation8 Results – generalizability is not an aim Usually generalizability is an important aim4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 6
  7. 7. Qualitative research designs• Four major types of qualitative research design include: – Phenomenology – Ethnography – Grounded theory – Case study4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 7
  8. 8. Phenomenology• Study of a phenomena – describing something that exist as part of the world• Phenomena might be: – An event, a situation, an experience or a concept – e.g. back pain• It begins with the acknowledgment that there is a gap in our understanding• It may not necessarily provide definitive explanations but it does raise awareness and increase insight4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 8
  9. 9. Ethnography• The term means “portrait of people”• It is a methodology for descriptive studies of cultures and peoples – e.g. cultural parameter is suspected of affecting the population’s response to care or treatment• It requires extensive fieldwork by the researchers• Data collection includes formal and informal interview on several occasion and observation• It is extremely time consuming4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 9
  10. 10. Ethnography cont.• Data analysis – “emic” approach: researcher interpret data from the prospective of the population under study• Results are expressed as they are expressed by the subjects themselves• These studies might be problematic when researchers are not familiar with social norms and language4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 10
  11. 11. Grounded theory• Main feature: development of a new theory through the collection and analysis of data about a phenomenon• It goes beyond phenomenology as the explanation are genuinely new knowledge and are used to develop theories• Various data collection techniques are used – Literature review, documentary analysis, interviews , observation4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 11
  12. 12. Grounded theory cont.• Key feature: constant comparative analysis – simultaneous collection and analysis of data4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 12
  13. 13. Case study• Case studies might be qualitative or quantitative• In-depth analysis of a single or small number of unites• It is used to describe an entity that forms a single unit such as a person, an organization or an institution• Complexity: illustration of an event VS. analysis of social situation over time• As a research design, it offers rich and in-depth information which is not usually offered by other methods4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 13
  14. 14. Case study cont.• It is highly versatile method and employs any or all methods of data collection• It can be used for different purposes e.g. development of new services, organizational changes in planning, purchasing or delivery of health services, evaluation of a program• A critic - case may not be representative of similar cases (findings are not generalizable)• Can we apply findings elsewhere?4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 14
  15. 15. Methods of collecting qualitative data• Direct interaction with individuals – One to one interaction – Or interaction with a group• Interviews• Focus Group Discussion• Observation• Data collection is time consuming• Benefits of these methods include richness of data and deeper insight into phenomena under study4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 15
  16. 16. Interviews• Structured interviews – Same questions in same away – Limited range of responses (e.g. questionnaires)• Semi structured interviews or focused interviews – Series of open ended questions – Provide opportunities to both researchers and respondents to discuss certain topics in more details4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 16
  17. 17. Interviews cont.• Unstructured interviews or in-depth interviews – Discussing limited number of topics – Phrase questions in the interviewee’s previous response• Qualitative interviews are semi structure or unstructured• Qualitative interviews should be fairly informal• Require careful consideration and preparation4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 17
  18. 18. Focus group discussion• Collect information from groups of people rather than a series of individuals• FGD can be used when – Resources are limited – To identify a number of individuals who share a common factor – It is desirable to collect the views of several people within the population sub group – Group interaction among participants has the potential for greater insights to be developed4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 18
  19. 19. Focus group discussion cont.• Characteristics of a focus group – Group size: usually 6-10 people – Several FGD should be run in any research, it would be wrong to rely on the views of just one group – Members of each group should have something in common – May use pre formed groups e.g. pressure groups – Data collection and analysis is time consuming – Requires certain skills • Facilitation, moderating, listening, observing and analyzing4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 19
  20. 20. Observation• Might be the only method to collect information in certain conditions• Observation of people VS. observation of environment• Observation can also serve for verifying or nullifying information collected through other methods4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 20
  21. 21. Observation cont.• Techniques for collecting data – Written descriptions • Researcher may miss to record • May focus on one thing and miss equally or even more important things – Video recording • No need to take notes • Review time after time • Recording my affect the behavior of the people under observation • Fixed camera may limits the range of possible observation4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 21
  22. 22. Observation cont.• Photographs – Good way of collecting observable data of phenomena which can be captured in a single shots or series of shots – Photographs of buildings, neighborhoods, dress and appearance• Documentation – Wide range of written materials – Policy document, annual reports, minutes of meeting, codes of conduct, notice boards etc.4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 22
  23. 23. Handling qualitative research data• Recording VS. note taking• Transcribing qualitative data – Procedure for producing written version of interview – Time consuming , estimated ratio of time required is 5:1 – Produce a lot of written text• Transcribe may not be essential for each interview – Tape analysis: taking notes from play back of tape recorded interviews – Who should do transcribing?4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 23
  24. 24. Handling qualitative research data cont.• Consideration should be given to tone and inflection – By listening and noting the intensity and feeling in the interviewee’s voice it is possible to detect: • Positive/negative continuum • Certainty/uncertainty • Enthusiasm/reluctance• Constant comparative analysis: data collection and data analysis occur on ongoing basis – Each interview is analyzed before other interview take place – Finding of first interview is incorporated in the following one – Later interviews might be completely different from the initial ones 4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 24
  25. 25. Analyzing qualitative data• Involves summarizing data and presenting the results in a way that communicate the most important features• As quantitative research we are interested to discover the big picture in qualitative research as well, but by using different technics• We start labeling or coding every item of information to recognize differences and similarities between all different items4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 25
  26. 26. Analyzing qualitative data cont.• No system for pre-coding• Needs a method of identifying and coding items of data which appear in the text of transcript• All the items of data from one interview should be compared with other interviews• Same procedures are used for qualitative data collected through interviews, FGDs, observation and documentary analysis – since all are concerned with analyzing text4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 26
  27. 27. Analyzing qualitative data cont.• Content analysis – Procedure for categorization of verbal or behavioral data – It involves coding and classifying data – Analysis done at two levels: • Basic or manifest level: descriptive – what was actually said • Higher or interpretative level: what was meant by response – also called latent level of analysis4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 27
  28. 28. Analyzing qualitative data cont.• Content analysis involves the following steps: 1. Read the transcript and make brief note of interesting or relevant information 2. Make a list of the different type of information from the notes 3. Categorization of the listed items 4. Identify the categories that are some how linked to each other (major categories or themes) 5. Compare and contrast various categories 4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 28
  29. 29. Analyzing qualitative data cont.• Content analysis involves the following steps: 6. Repeat the process from stage 1-5 on next transcripts - Identify new categories of information - Accommodate data in the existing categories - Color code different categories and review 7. Collect together all the extracts from the transcribed interviews that you have put into one category 8. Review different categories and move items if required from one category to another 9. Review and check if two or more categories can fit together 10. Check the initial notes, consider if any previously excluded data is relevant and should be included in results 4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 29
  30. 30. Computerized data analysis• Most well known software packages include – ATLAS/ti – NVivo – NUD*IST4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 30
  31. 31. Presenting the results of qualitative research• Look at themes and categories and structure the results accordingly• The structure can be set out at the beginning as a list or diagram• Themes are the main findings of the study• To support findings, evidence are presented at direct quotations from respondents4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 31
  32. 32. Presenting the results of qualitative research cont.• A range of quotations should be selected – Strength of opinion or belief – Similarities between respondents – Differences between respondents• Link between different categories• Conclusion• Some qualitative data can be dealt with in quantitative way• Using qualitative and quantitative techniques for analysis of data can strengthen analysis4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 32
  33. 33. Presenting the results of qualitative research cont. Themes Major categories Minor categories Safe sex Sexual health Pregnancy Sexual behavior Health issues for young people Smoking Drugs Alcohol Illicit drugs Services available Lack of knowledge Understanding Perceptions Barriers to accessing services Own beliefs Attitudes Peer pressure Expectation of staff4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 33
  34. 34. Group Work• Form three groups• Select group leader and reporter• Review and discuss all questions (part 1-3) in groups• Each group will present only one part of the questions (part 1-3)• Time for group work: 30 minutes• Time for presentation of each group: 10 minutes4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 34
  35. 35. 4/7/2013 Research Methodology Course 35