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Enhancing the quality of a GT project through interviewing the self - a methodological development

  1. Enhancing the quality of a GT project through interviewing the self A methodological development
  2. Background • Research focuses on how course leaders in a small- specialist HEI experience using evidence in their role. • Limited evidence currently exists (van Veggel & Howlett (2018)) • Building evidence-base from scratch → grounded theory
  3. Researcher position • Employed at Writtle University College • Course leader / senior lecturer • Evidence-based Vet. Med. methodologist • Insider researcher • Interviewing colleagues in similar roles • Colleagues with more and less experience • Deliver EBP staff development for colleagues • Outsider researcher • EdD from external institution • Only qualitative researcher in institution
  4. Let’s focus on the following • What does quality mean in qualitative research? • What does quality mean in a grounded theory context? • How is quality affected in GT research? • How is interviewing-the-self useful? • How does one interview-the-self?
  5. Quality in qualitative research? • Quality determined by trustworthiness and rigour (Gasson, 2004)  Trustworthiness is the conceptual soundness which allows evaluation of value of research  Credibility → Does the data reflect the findings? (also covers researcher influence)  Transferability → How well does your theory transfer to another context  Dependability → Can the process be confirmed  Confirmability → Can someone else get similar outcomes when given your dataset?
  6. Rigour in GT • Glaser (1992): Fit, work, relevance, modifiability, parsimony and scope • Gasson (2004): Confirmability, dependability, authenticity and transferability • Cooney (2011): Credibility, auditability, fittingness
  7. Rigour in GT • Amalgamating these criteria into a set of questions to be asked of a GT study (van Veggel, 2021)
  8. Criticisms of grounded theory • Is the theory really grounded? • Can GT really be objective? • What about researcher preconception? • Does being an insider researcher make this different?
  9. Insider bias/preconception • As an insider-researcher you are a source of bias • Biased research justification • Biased research design • Biased data collection • Biased data analysis • Biased outcome reporting … as long as it is addressed appropriately. In GT, this bias is a form of preconception... this is not a bad thing…
  10. Reflexivity in insider research • Reflexivity is the examination of one’s own beliefs, judgements and practices during the research process and their influence on the research • Reflexive research practice develops transparency (Engward & Davis 2015) • As an insider, how do you as a source of bias affect the process and the project? • Reflexive practice can enhance credibility (Hall and Callery (2001 • Once recognised, how do you acknowledge this explicitly? • Normally, this is done in a narrative, somewhat disconnected way
  11. Tension between reflexivity and GT • Not all GT is the same (Levers, 2013) • Role of the researcher in GT • Researcher must remain open to patterns identified and of the impact of their own preconceptions • Process managed differently (O’Connor et al., 2018) • Charmaz and Corbyn & Strauss advocate reflexivity • Glaser says reflexivity is not necessary as GT process deals with this
  12. Purpose & practice of self-interview • Asking yourself the same questions you ask your participants will allow you to analyse your answers through a reflexive lens • This process will allow a critical analysis of researcher bias, directly linked to the research process, and make it explicitly clear how this bias has affected the research • Interviewing-the-self is currently not used in qualitative research for this purpose • I am developing it as a contribution to grounded theory methodology
  13. Purpose & practice of self-interview • Ask an experienced interviewer to use your interview schedule to interview you. • Experienced: better data, make interview their own • External interviewer: prevents prediction → variations in style • Analyse your answers to questions through a reflexive lens • Use the analysis to explain your researcher bias
  14. Examples • I found that having to explain my thoughts made it easier to analyse them reflexively and consider them purposively • I realised through reflexively analysis I was more sensitive to negative aspects of participants roles which resonated with me  Easier to develop codes and concepts • My insiderness led to assumptions of how participants experience course leadership and projected this onto them
  15. Contribution to knowledge • Pragmatically, process to address the role of the researcher should be somewhere inbetween • How to be reflexive in GT is not clear (Engward & Davis, 2015) • Critical analysis of self interview allows reflexivity and acknowledgement of bias/preconception (Charmaz 2014) • Self-interview is “just another source of data” (Glaser, 2007) • It is an explicit method to increase research transparency, which leads to better research practice, which leads to increased credibility.
  16. Acknowledgements This work is part-funded through a Writtle University College Learning and Development Fund Grant I’d like to thank Dr Sally Goldspink for supporting the self- interview process and the constructive methodological discussions.
  17. Questions? Thank you!
  18. References • Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Cooney, A. (2011) Rigour and grounded theory. Nurse Researcher. 18(4), 17–22. • Edgware, H. & Davis, G. (2015) Being reflexive in qualitative grounded theory. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 71(7), 1530-1538. DOI: 10.1111/jan.12653. • Engward, H., Davis, G. (2015) Being reflexive in qualitative grounded theory: discussion and application of a model of reflexivity. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 71(7), 1530–1538. • Gasson, S. (2004) Rigor in grounded theory research: An interpretive perspective on generating theory from qualitative field studies. In M. E. Whitman & A. B. Woszczynski, eds. The handbook of information systems research. London: Idea Group Publishing, pp. 79–102. • Glaser, B.G. (1992) Basics of grounded theory analysis: emergence vs. forcing. Mill Valley: Sociology Press. • Glaser, B.G. (2007) All Is Data. Grounded Theory Review. 6(2). • Hall, W.A., Callery, P. (2001) Enhancing the rigor of grounded theory: Incorporating reflexivity and relationality. Qualitative health research. 11(2), 257–272. • Levers M-J.D. (2013) Philosophical paradigms, grounded theory, and perspectives on emergence. Sage Open 3,4. DOI: 10.1177/2158244013517243. • O’Connor et al. (2018) An exploration of key issues in the debate between classic and constructivist grounded theory. Grounded Theory Review. 17(1).b • van Veggel, N. and Howlett, P. (2018) Course leadership in small-specialist UK higher education - a review. International Journal of Educational Management, 32, 7, 1174–1183. • van Veggel, N. (2021) Using Grounded Theory to Investigate Evidence Use by Course Leaders in Small-Specialist UK HEIs. Preprints, in press.