The qualitative process

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Explores Qualiative Methods

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The qualitative process

  1. 1. TheThe ‘‘QualitativeQualitative’’ ResearchResearch Process:Process: Techniques for ResearchTechniques for Research Dr Fiona M Beals
  2. 2. Lecture AimsLecture Aims Review key research methods brought to qualitative research by ethnographic designs Outline the role of the qualitative researcher Introduce and look at methods of: – Observation – Interviews – Fieldnotes – Reflective Journaling
  3. 3. ObservationObservation
  4. 4. Why Observe?Why Observe? To develop a theory To prove/disprove a theory Making use of an “opportunity” (Wolcott, 1995) Provide a thick description to analyse Provide an instrument of triangulation (alongside interviewing and fieldnotes)
  5. 5. What to observeWhat to observe  Interactions – Between people – Between people and settings – Between people and yourself  Behaviours – Reactions – Routines – Interactions  The Context/Setting  The overt and the covert
  6. 6. How?How? Traditional – Eyes, pen, and paper Technological – Cameras/Video/ICT Combination – Trad+Post – Even the post involves a level of the traditional
  7. 7. To what degree/levelTo what degree/level  Four phases of observation 1. Scoping 2. Descriptive 3. Focused 4. Selective  Each involves a different focus/depth
  8. 8. Phase One: ScopingPhase One: Scoping Familisation with the setting – Setting mapping – Apparent rules/structures – General impressions – Your own reactions – Any thoughts/hypotheses A reflexive tool Jottings and diagrams
  9. 9. Phase Two: DescriptivePhase Two: Descriptive Detailed descriptions of settings, interactions, and behaviours Focuses on questions that can be addressed through observation - the inquisitive eye Uses delimiters and descriptors for current details and future reference
  10. 10. Phase Two: DescriptivePhase Two: Descriptive Includes – Setting description – Recorded descriptions of events, interactions, and individuals – Time intervals  Points of reference  Points of description – Researcher Reflection
  11. 11. Phase Three: FocusedPhase Three: Focused ObservationObservation Descriptive observation focusing on specific descriptive questions: – Space – Objects – Time – Behaviours – Individuals
  12. 12. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling From Spradley (1980)
  13. 13. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling
  14. 14. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling
  15. 15. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling
  16. 16. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling
  17. 17. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling
  18. 18. Descriptive QuestionsDescriptive Questions Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling Space Object Act Activity Event Time Actor Goal Feeling
  19. 19. Phase Four: SelectivePhase Four: Selective ObservationObservation  The focusing down of ‘focus observations’  Looks at filling in the gaps  Providing other dimensions to focused observations and the phenomenon in question  Focuses on the specifics – Individual – Event – Behaviour – Context
  20. 20. Observation and TechnologyObservation and Technology What are the strengths of involving technology as an observation tool? What ‘new’ dilemmas arise from using technology as an observation tool? Do paper and pen still have a role to play alongside technology? What is this role?
  21. 21. InterviewsInterviews
  22. 22. Research InterviewingResearch Interviewing  Unstructured – Conversation – Central to ethnography  Semi-structured – Broad open questions with prompting – Fits within most qualitative paradigms  Structured – Tight questions with limited or already given responses – Quantitative/positivist research – Mixed paradigm research – Technology-based methodologies (phone interviewing, ICT research)
  23. 23. Unstructured InterviewingUnstructured Interviewing Conversations in the field Ideally recorded on tape or after the research Requires the researcher to be skilled: – In holding conversations – In listening – In focusing/re-focusing conversations Requires time
  24. 24. Semi-Structured InterviewingSemi-Structured Interviewing Guided conversations Uses broad opening questions which can be redirected by interviewee or interviewer Uses verbal prompting Allows for the development of conversation/research skills Generally piloted beforehand Recorded on tape and on paper
  25. 25. Structured InterviewingStructured Interviewing Focused conversations Uses tight questions which require set responses (sometimes given) Reflects survey research Allows for collection of theme-driven data Requires piloting with similar sample Recorded on Paper
  26. 26. Interviewing and ParadigmsInterviewing and Paradigms  Different interviews suit different paradigms of research – Where do you think??  Structured is used most  Unstructured is used most  Semi-structured is used most  Unless theory building most qualitative research uses semi-structured interviews  Mixed design uses a mixture of structured and semi-structured questions
  27. 27. What leads to a goodWhat leads to a good interviewinterview  Rapport – Before the interview – The first question/opening comments  Reciprocity – You shouldn’t be the only one gaining from the interview  Acceptance of the unexpected – Unanswered questions  Self-Confidence – Practice and faith in oneself
  28. 28. Ann Oakley (1981): TheAnn Oakley (1981): The Central DilemmaCentral Dilemma Who holds power in the interview process? Who gains from research? What is false about ‘rapport’ in qualitative research interviewing? When does the relationship finish?
  29. 29. FieldnotesFieldnotes
  30. 30. FieldnotesFieldnotes Sit alongside observations and interviews Detailed notes and reflections of the field Three types – Descriptive – Methodological – Reflexive Occur after/before – rather than during
  31. 31. Descriptive FieldnotesDescriptive Fieldnotes  Include observations (scoping, descriptive, focused, and selective)  Describe the field – including maps, setting descriptions, and individual description
  32. 32. Methodological FieldnotesMethodological Fieldnotes  Reflections on methodological approaches being used  Notes on any changes to any approach being used
  33. 33. Reflexive FieldnotesReflexive Fieldnotes  Journaling of own learning/experiences/ thoughts throughout the process  May sit within or alongside descriptive and methodological notes  Technically seen as journaling of experience
  34. 34. Leading to the Role of theLeading to the Role of the Qualitative ResearcherQualitative Researcher
  35. 35. The ReseacherThe Reseacher’’s Roles Role “Being There”, “Getting Nosy” and “Looking Over Others’ Shoulders” (Wolcott, 1995)
  36. 36. The ReseacherThe Reseacher’’s Roles Role Being a learner – ‘Sucking in’ the atmosphere of the field – Reflecting on your own experiences
  37. 37. DilemmasDilemmas What dilemmas and issues to research does the practice of observation bring? How can fieldnotes counter these issues and dilemmas? What else can the researcher do to ensure that the story makes sense intrinsically (on an emic level) and extrinsically (on an etic level)?
  38. 38. Outside of EthnographyOutside of Ethnography  Scoping observations are central to making sure that the research makes sense in itself  Fieldnotes ensures that researchers are observing the field and themselves throughout the research  Fieldnotes allow for the subjective nature of qualitative research to be acknowledged and, if necessary, discussed  Interviews work as a tool of triangulation ensuring that the story ‘fits’ and makes sense in itself
  39. 39. SummarySummary The three key methods in qualitative research are – Observations – Interviews – Fieldnotes It is important to use more than one (across or within) to allow for triangulation

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