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Qualitative Research Methods

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Qualitative Research Methods

  1. 1. Qualitative Research Methods Autumn 2009 Lecturer: Jukka Peltokoski Structure of the lectures: 1. What Qualitative Research? 2. Different Research Strategies 3. Research Strategies Step by Step 4. Collecting Data 5. Analysing Data 6. The Critique of Qualitative Research 7. Qualitative Research in Action
  2. 2. Structure <ul><ul><li>DEVS104 Research Methods 7.-11.12.2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every day 12-16 hrs. in MaC 102 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory and ”mini-homeworks” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No exam, but an essay work (instructions later) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. I What Qualitative Research? 1.1 Some basics Quantitative: numbers, calculations Qualitative: words, interpretations Usually only pragmatic or personal choice but can also be connected to ontological convictions; should be motivated by the research question only Historical starting point: ”linguistic turn”, challenge to the hegemony of quantitative research which followed natural scientific model
  4. 4. I What Qualitative Research? Qualitative methodology emerged as criticism of quantitative methodology ==> Human beings studied as agents capable of self-reflection and giving meanings to theirs action Linguistic accounts as an access point to the cultural meanings or ”meaning structures” constructed by humans ==> Emphasis on interviews, observations and other meaningful materials (writings, biographies, drawings) All the more challenged distinction today
  5. 5. I What Qualitative Research? 1.1 &quot;Ethos&quot; of quantitative research 1. Measurement 2. Causality 3. (Statistical) generalization 4. Objectivity (vs. researcher's subjectivity)‏ 1.2 &quot;Ethos&quot; of qualitative research: &quot;Interpretivism&quot; 1. Emphasis on content (”thick description”) 2. Emphasis on process 3. Flexibility and limited structure 4. Concepts and theory grounded in data (5. Seeing through the eyes of the people being studied)
  6. 6. II Different Research Strategies 2.1 Quantitative research strategy - Emphasizes quantification in the collection and analysis of data - Entails a deductive approach to the relationship between theory and research, in which the accent is placed on the testing of theories - Has incorporated the practices and norms of the natural scientific model (today, however, connected more to critical realism) - Embodies a view of social reality as an external, objective reality
  7. 7. II Different Research Strategies 2.2 Qualitative research strategy - Usually emphasizes words rather than quantification in the collection and analysis of data - Predominantly emphasizes an inductive approach to the relationship between theory and research, in which the emphasis is placed on the generation of theories - Has rejected the practices and norms of the natural scientific model in preference for an emphasis on the ways in which individuals interpret their social world - Embodies a view of social reality as a constantly shifting emergent property of individuals creation (processes) In quantitative research you are looking for generalizations, in qualitative you generate “ deep cultural understanding” about the phenomenon in question ==> theoretical generalizations
  8. 8. III Research Strategies Step by Step 3.1 Main steps in quantitative research 1. Theory 2. Hypothesis 3. Research design 4. Devise measures of concepts (operationalization)‏ 5. Select research site(s)‏ 6. Select research subjects/respondents 7. Administer research instruments/collect data 8. Process data 9. Analyse data 10 Findings/conclusions 11 Write up findings/conclusions
  9. 9. III Research Strategies Step by Step 3.2 Quantitative research strategy: 1. Indicators 2. Reliability (the consistency of a measure of a concept)‏ 3. Validity (the correspondence between an indicator and the concept they are planned to measure) ‏ 3.3 Qualitative research strategy 1. Focus on words 2. Inductive relationship between theory and research 3. Interpretivism (epistemology)‏ 4. Constructionism (ontology)‏
  10. 10. III Research Strategies Step by Step 3.4 Qualitative research process General model hard to define 1. General research questions 2. Selecting relevant site(s) and subjects 3. Collection of relevant data 4. Interpretation of data 5. Conceptual and theoretical work 5.a. Tighter specification of the research question(s)‏ 5.b. Collection of further data 6. Write up findings and conclusions Major difference: relationship between theory and data. ==> Theory extracted from data
  11. 11. IV Collecting Data: Observation 4.1 Participant observation Closely linked to ethnography, but also used independently ” Participant observer immerses him-/herself in a group for an extended period of time, observing behaviour, listening to what is said in conversations both between others and with the fieldworker, and asking questions.” (Alan Bryman: Social Reseach Methods, 2004)‏ Researcher makes: - regular observations of the behaviour of members of that setting - listens to and engages in conversations - interviews informants on issues that are not directly amenable to observation or that the researcher is unclear about - collects documents about the group - develops an understanding of the culture of the group - writes up a detailed account, 'thick description'
  12. 12. IV Collecting Data: Observation Field diary as a central method of data collection Research is concentrated on one group or phenomenon, develops holistic cultural understanding about the case in question Is sometimes used as a general research strategy which is made more specific using more specific methods like discourse analysis (flexible to mix with other methods, 'triangulation') Micro-ethnography = particular aspect, short period of time recommended in student works Difference to everyday observations: - Researcher works in an unfamiliar setting - Observing and field notes are done systematically - Researcher is trained professional - Risk of 'going native'
  13. 13. IV Collecting Data: Observation 4.2 Practice of observation General importance of the technique: the same kinds of critical points easy to identify in all empirical research as in all empirical research the researcher has to go to the field, contact informants and collect data How to access the setting? The setting may be open or closed. Access may be done openly or secretly. Covert participation – Open setting Covert participation – Closed setting Overt participation – Closed setting Overt participation – Open setting
  14. 14. IV Collecting Data: Observation Covert role : - No need for permissions - People do not react to the researcher - Problem of doing notes - Problem of not being able of using other methods than observation - Creates anxiety - May raise ethical questions Overt role: - Necessitates trustful relationships to the people studied
  15. 15. IV Collecting Data: Observation How to access the people in the setting (relationships in the field)? In other words, how to develop ongoing access ? Which role for the researcher? - Complete participant (covert observer, fully functioning member)‏ - Participant-as-observer (overt observer, engaged in regular practices)‏ - Observer-as-participant (the researcher mainly as an interviewer, only following the practices) - Complete observer (no interaction with the people, unobtrusive observation)‏ ==> Typically the role changes during the research and the researcher has to be able to do reasonable decisions
  16. 16. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing 4.3 Qualitative Interviewing Differences to quantitative interviewing: - Much less structured - Interest in interviewee's point of view - ’Rambling' or going off at tangents is encouraged - Interviewer can depart from schedule - The researcher wants rich and detailed answers - Interviewee may be interviewed more than once
  17. 17. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Two major types Unstructured interview The researcher uses at most the short list of key words or central issues that should be discussed about. Interviewee is allowed to answer freely and the researcher only responds to the points that seem to be worthy of being followed. Almost like a conversation. Semi-structured interview The researcher has a list of questions or topics to be covered and also an interview guide how to proceed with them. In the intervew situation the questions may not follow the planned guide, new questions may emerge, and some may be left outside.
  18. 18. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing In addition: Narrative interview The interviewee is asked to tell a story about something (quite normally about him-/herself). The researcher may ask interviewee to focus on some aspects and ask more detailed questions during or after the story telling. The story telling may also be directly based on the questions presented in chronological-logical order. Furthermore, there is a possibility to decide exact questions beforehand and to stick on them and them only, denying all flexibility, but this is rather rarely used alternative. Flexibility means that the researcher has to be capable to understand and sense what the interviewee sees as important, how s/he frames the issue
  19. 19. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Unstructured (US) or semi-structured (SS)? Are you concerned that the use of even the most rudimentary interview guide will not allow genuine access to the world views of members of a social setting? ==> US Do you have fairly clear focus on a topic? ==> SS Is there more than one person carrying out the field work? ==> SS Planning to do comparisons between different cases? ==> SS
  20. 20. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Group interview Not all interviews have to be organised between interviewer and interviewee, also groups can be interviewed, normally from 6-10 people but the size varies considerably in different studies Group interviews are used especially when analysed how certain persons form a common opinion about something (maybe even something actual about which there is not yet popular opinions)‏ Used also to gather information about subcultures and other relatively clearly limited and homogeneous social settings (but this is not a rule...)‏
  21. 21. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Children talk more freely in groups than alone with scary adult interviewer May simply save researcher's money and time Has to be planned carefully: depending on the sensitivity of a topic may both reveal or hide contradictions and hierarchies The interviewer's role varies between silent observer and a fascilitator who takes care that interesting points are discussed in detail, all the relevant themes come under discussion, and also passive participants participate Sometimes two interviewers Can be very hard to transcribe and analyse; videotaping is encouraged but may cause other troubles
  22. 22. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Focus group interview A specific group interview method: - Background in marketing studies: testing new products - Specific theme that is explored in depth - Is not just a money or time saving technique but conscious strategy - The aim of the discussion is told to the group - Typically the interest lies in how an individual dicusses as a member of a group, so. how a meaning is constructed in interaction - In critical studies used to raise consciousness among a group - Some have also claimed that group interview is less artificial situation than “normal” interview and that group situation reduces the leading role of interviewer
  23. 23. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Making questions - Introduce yourself to the setting in which interviewees engage in order to understand theirs point of view - Create a certain amount of order on the topic areas so that your questions will cover the whole area and they follow each other in reasonable order - All the time remember focus on your research question and formulate such interview questions that are concretely oriented to answer to it (but avoid too specific questions)‏ - Use language that is relevant and understandable to the people interviewed
  24. 24. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Think what aspects of social life you need to get information about, in general these may include: values beliefs emotions behaviour formal and informal roles relationships contradictions places and locales stories, rumours, etc.
  25. 25. IV Collecting Data: Interviewing Useful tips - Try not to ask leading questions - Remember to write down or record background information concerning interviewee (name, age, gender, position...) - Use recording machine! - Keep the recorder going! - Make notes about the interview after it (general feelings, how did it went, how the interviewee was, where the interview was done, what kind of setting it was for the interview, did the interview open new perspectives to the topic...). This helps you to remember the situation and to stay sensitive to the context when analysing transcriptions.
  26. 26. IV Collecting Data: Documents 4.4 Existing documents - Personal documents (written diaries, letters; visual photographs, drawings)‏ - Official documents deriving from the state - Official documents deriving from private sources - Media outputs - Net resources
  27. 27. V Analysing Data In some qualitative research no specific method is used and the researcher only looks for interesting themes found in the data and classifies by types the material (basically only data is gathered “qualitatively”)‏ Some lists contain nearly 50 methods... Different methods are based on different philosophical traditions like hermeneutics, phenomenology, structuralism, post-structuralism, analytic philosophy, linguistics... All the qualitative methods are more or less general in nature and many times they can be used together In all qualitative research you are studying cases
  28. 28. V Analysing Data: GT 5.1 Grounded Theory &quot;Theory arises from the data&quot; Founded philosophically on realism, was first introduced by Glaser and Strauss in The Discovery of Grounded Theory (1973)‏ Emphasizes systematic analysis of data: - Theoretical sampling - Coding - Theoretical saturation - Constant comparison Coding = naming fragments of the data, producing an index
  29. 29. V Analysing Data: GT Coding as a process: 1. Read the data 2. Read the data again and start the coding (marginal notes)‏ 3. Read the data again and finish the coding 4. Read the coding again and try to formulate general categories out of codes 5. Do experimental coding 6. Test everything with the data The basic idea is to proceed from the mess of minor codes to the major categories that give systematic structure to the data in general Important: Before the coding starts the research question should be very clear in mind! = What is essential in coded material and what is not?
  30. 30. V Analysing Data: GT - Coding as such is only a means to organize the data, to reduce a vast amount of material into organized categories - Interpreting the categorized material still needs to be made - On the other hand interpretations develop during the coding process - ’Theory' means that you are capable of organizing the data systematically and meaningfully - Can be applied as a 'mere' technique as well - Is planned for realistic research questions but can benefit constructivists as well It is recommended to start coding as soon as possible (remember 'theoretical sampling')‏ A possibility to use Atlas/ti computer program
  31. 31. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><li>5.2 Discourse Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophically based on social constructivism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John Austin: descriptive and performative speech acts ( How to do things with words , 1962)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Michel Foucault: discourses, power-knowledge relationships ( Archaeology of Knowledge, 1969) ‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Studies social reality as linguistically constructed ('text') </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language as a constitutive part of social reality, not only as its mirror (factory vs. theatre)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How meaning is constructed in language? ('truth') </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is done with the words? (effects)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social reality as competition over meanings/'truths' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contextualized analysis (materialism)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied especially to study how subjects/subjectivities are defined: method of revealing symbolic power </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><ul><li>The point of view of the researcher is strictly in the text and its effects in the reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- The researcher does not study if the text represents something correct or incorrect but is honestly interested how something is presented and is open to the fact that it may be presented in multiple ways – even by the one and the same person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- The text is seen not as a personal product but as a discoursive field in which the subject takes different articulative positions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- There is no subject behind the text (even if it can be legitimately asked what kind discource f. ex. police produces about criminals) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Interest lies in the differences </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><li>Requires sensitive linguistic understanding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Very precise transcriptions (the level depends on the question) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Some sort of coding is done, but not necessarily systematically but only looking for the ’evidence’ to support researcher's constructive discourse building; finding discourses is actually creative work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Utilizes often pretty small scale and ready made materials like news paper articles and official documents which are produced in “natural” settings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Demands sensitive cultural understanding from the intrepreter (both about linguistic meanings and cultural phenomena) </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><ul><li>Not a single method but a heterogeneous methodological field </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many ways to do, much depends on the researcher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overlapping with conversation analysis, study of rhetoric, narrative analysis, content analysis etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Linguistic vs. cultural orientation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible but indefinite... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often used to study only differing attitudes even if the interest should lie in how the 'ontology' of things is produced in language (how the essence of things is constructed)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common criticism: leads to relativism, studies only language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On the other hand criticises realism effectively about assuming naively the coherence of the subject </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><ul><li>Analysis in practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forget the persons and real happenings ”behind the text”, concentrate on the text only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduce yourself to the material in general </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember what you are looking for, what is your focus on the text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start looking for ”clues” or ”traces”: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Point out words and sentences that seem to be interesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try thinking how these are interrelated: which one go together, which one contradict each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forming ”clouds” may be effective </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><ul><li>Some more practical points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Interpret the clues and clouds contextually using your cultural understanding and sociological imagination = Formulate discourses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Discourses are ”found” only partially in the text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Discourses can be thought as linguistic arsenals that people use when speaking about something <== The whole arsenal is not present in the text: the text gives only hints about it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Freedom of interpretation, risk of arbitrariness... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Last but not least, think what are the practical effects the certain discourses have (= how they produce the reality) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Necessity to have understanding on current social and political situation </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. V Analysing Data: DA <ul><li>Differences to coding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructivistic attitude toward texts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stronger emphasis on contextual reading </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minor details may get decisive role in interpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On the other hand, both rely on inductive strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also discourse analysts emphasize the rigidity of the analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Important: Even if the starting point is often more or less obscure this does not 'save' the researcher from seriously trying to understand what the heck s/he is doing ;-) </li></ul>
  38. 38. V Analysing Data 5.3 Ethnography (participant observation)‏ No particular philosophical commitment, historical background in social anthropology Researcher participates in certain social setting and develops understanding about the culture of the setting - Does always observation and usually also interviewing - Keeps field diary (writes notes all the time)‏ Research report gives detailed descriptions how things work in their contexts (”thick descriptions”) ‏ Particular focus depends on central research concepts which may develop only during the process
  39. 39. V Analysing Data 5.4 Conversation Analysis Based on ethnomethodology Focus on the practical common sense reasoning in everyday life situations in which people make sense of reality in face to face interaction ==> Intersubjectivity produced in micro-level interaction Interprets formal characters of conversation Detailed transcriptions, sophisticated coding system
  40. 40. V Analysing Data <ul><li>5.5 Narrative Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophical backgrounds in hermeneutics and structuralism </li></ul><ul><li>Analyses stories and storied nature of human recounting of lives and events </li></ul><ul><li>In principle nearly all material from pictures to news paper articles and official documents can be analysed narratively – not only biographies or explicite stories! </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes used only as a method of collecting data </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- telling stories is ”natural” for human being </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- easy way to make people talk </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Classical distinctions: beginning-middle-end & past-present-future </li></ul><ul><li>Types: comedy, romance, tragedy, irony (Northrop Frye) </li></ul>
  41. 41. V Analysing Data <ul><li>Three common ways to do </li></ul><ul><li>1. Phenomenological </li></ul><ul><li>- stories bring out personal experiences and values </li></ul><ul><li>- act of telling as becoming integrated or revealing hidden resources </li></ul><ul><li>2. Focus on structural elements </li></ul><ul><li>- Greimas’ actant model </li></ul><ul><li>- same structural elements found in every story </li></ul><ul><li>- reveals the abstract body of a story which then has to be interpreted </li></ul>
  42. 42. V Analysing Data 3. Focus on plot line: text as chronological-logical construction - Donald E. Polkinghorne - every story is unique but structured by a plot line - the flow of time ordered as meaningful phases having their sense in the context of the whole story - plot line: - turning points, sequences, human and non-human actors, and their relatioships - beginning as the most decisive part - in practice a plot line is divided into parts which are named and studied in relation to each other and to the whole story
  43. 43. V Analysing Data <ul><li>5.6 Semiotical reading </li></ul><ul><li>Based on structuralism, especially on Saussure's theory about the denotative and connotative levels of linguistic marks </li></ul><ul><li>All the social reality is read as ’text’ </li></ul><ul><li>’ Text’ here refers to anything that carries meanings from behaviour to pictures and architectural buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Gives the researcher pretty open hands how to do analysis in practice </li></ul><ul><li>Reading concentrates in stuctural pairs or dualisms </li></ul>
  44. 44. V Analysing Data <ul><ul><li>Picture analysis - reading pictures as 'texts' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Starting point: breaking 'natural attitude', suspecting that everything in the picture is planned and meaningful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy way: denotative and connotative meanings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk of seeing more than is justified </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joyful way to rehearse 'sociological imagination' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a bad skill in contemporary culture </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. V Analysing Data <ul><li>Metodical questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are the subjects and/or objects in the picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the place in the picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is done in the picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the relationships between the subjects in the picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What kind of cultural and social marks there are in the picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is the picture arranged and structured: vertical/horizontal, personal/impersonal, static/dynamic, neutral/dramatic, abstract/concrete? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the picture position the viewer (looking from below, above...)? Does the picture claim or offer something, is it intimate or impersonal, does it alienate or participate, empower or make feel powerless and little...? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the picture try to capture the attention of the spectator? What kinds of visual effects there are in the picture? Contradictions, intensive points...? </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. <ul><ul><li>Sociological questions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the theme of the picture? Does it tell a story? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the purpose of the picture? Who is the audience and the narrator, or is there any? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there any caption? How does it match to the picture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the picture connected to some historical, social or topical context? Is it possible to define a social context for the picture? Social condition, happening, change...? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there expressed social categories, relationships or power hierarchies in the picture? Other confrontations, possibly between non-human parts? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the picture break or maintain stereotypes or status quo? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What kind of assosiations the picture tries to raise? What is its 'athmosphere'? Is it more 'emotional' or 'rational'? </li></ul></ul>V Analysing Data
  47. 47. VI The Critique of Qualitative Research 1. Qualitative research is too subjective 2. Difficult to replicate 3. Problems of generalization 4. Lack of transparency
  48. 48. VI The Critique of Qualitative Research Some responses to critics If research does not simply reflect the reality and if there can be many accounts to social reality, how truth claims are possible? Focus on trustworthiness: 1. Credibility 2. Transferability 3. Dependability 4. Confirmability Also the social impact of the research is emphasized as a criterion of evaluation
  49. 49. VII Qualitative Research in Action 7.1 Formulating a research question General and intuitive in the beginning. However, should be as definite as possible!!! Research question will - Guide your literature search - Guide your decisions about the research design to employ - Guide your decision what data to collect and from whom - Guide your analysis of data - Guide your writing up of your data - Stop you from going off in unnecessary directions and tangents
  50. 50. VII Qualitative Research in Action 7.2 Research Plan Questions that should be answered: - Why your research topic is interesting and relevant? - What issues is it connected to? - What has been already written about the topic and how is it approached? - How are you planning to approach the topic, what is your point of view, what is your context? - What is your research question and how do you analyze it? - What will be your data? Why this particular data? Why is it restricted to a certain social settings? - What is your method(ology)? Why is it better than some other possible method(ologie)s? - How are you planning to proceed in your research?
  51. 51. VII Qualitative Research in Action 7.3 Writing up Social Research An essential part of doing qualitative analysis Conceptualizations develop and deepen during the writing process Basic structure of qualitative presentation: 1. Introduction 2. Literature review 3. Theory (sometimes not presented until the empirical analysis)‏ 4. Research design/methodology (including the research question!)‏ 5. Empirical presentation of the case 6. Results and theoretical discussion about them 8. Conclusion
  52. 52. VII Qualitative Research in Action <ul><li>7.4 Starting Point: An Idea Paper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May be only a mind map </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual wondering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helpful questions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why am I interested in this? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What aroused my interest? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is it specifically that interests me in this topic? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What solutions do I see to solve this problem? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Am I interested in understanding or explaining? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Or am I interested in practical problem solving? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In addition to these should include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Preliminary main title or working name (try to be as descriptive as possible) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Definition of the topic: key words, local and time dimension of the topic </li></ul></ul></ul>
  53. 53. VII Qualitative Research in Action <ul><li>Subjective Starting Point – Not a Problem </li></ul><ul><li>- ”Outside/inside” dualism is not real </li></ul><ul><li>- Objectivity develops as a process </li></ul><ul><li>- Conceptualizations, methodological considerations, literature review </li></ul><ul><li>- Classics, study books, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>- Discussions with colleagues and other ”reflective mirrors” </li></ul><ul><li>Functions of Research Plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A way to start writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To make your idea clear for your self </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To make it clear for your supervisor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To make it clear for your colleagues, friends, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To get some money... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>=> Simplicity highly recommended </li></ul>
  54. 54. <ul><li>7.5 Structure of Research Plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Title </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practical working plan with concrete time table </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Former research/literature overview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypothesis/presuppositions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methodology: theoretical lines, data collection, tools of interpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusions and suggestions to later research </li></ul></ul>VII Qualitative Research in Action
  55. 55. Introduction - Simple analytical comment to the contents - What is going to be studied? - What other studies have and have not said? - What is your position to the former literature and what kind of presuppositions do you have: the solution to the problem - What is your methodological apparatus - Some conclusions developed on the basis of your presuppositions and how your study already anticipates further studies VII Qualitative Research in Action
  56. 56. VII Qualitative Research in Action <ul><li>Description of the problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Background information, historical information, other relevant information describing the problematics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theoretical framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social relevancy of the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exact questions </li></ul></ul>
  57. 57. VII Qualitative Research in Action <ul><li>Helpful questions </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why is your research topic interesting and relevant? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What issues is it connected to? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What has been already written about the topic and how is it approached? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How are you planning to approach the topic, what is your point of view, what is your theoretical context? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is your research question and how do you analyze it? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What will be your data? Why this particular data? Why is it restricted to a certain social settings? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is your method(ology)? Why is it better than some other possibilities? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How are you planning to proceed in your research? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  58. 58. VII Qualitative Research in Action <ul><li>Discoursive strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the (academic) discussion in which you want to say something </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where this discussion has been had/is going on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has participated in it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the topic of the discussion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If there are controversies, do they concern more theoretical and methodological issues or so called reality? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it about theory or practice or both at the same time? </li></ul></ul>
  59. 59. VII Qualitative Research in Action <ul><li>Research question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be as definite as possible (also in qualitative research...) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your eyeglasses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>guides your literature search </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>guides your decisions about the research design to employ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>guides your decision what data to collect and from whom </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>guides your analysis of data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>guides your writing up of your data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>stops you from going off in unnecessary directions and tangents </li></ul></ul></ul>

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