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Data collection chapter 15 from the companion website for educational research


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This is a slide show of chapter 15 from Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and Applications. Primarily intended for instructor use in the classroom, it is also available for students’ study use or to review as an advance organizer before class lectures or discussions. Key chapter concepts are presented in an easy-to-read format.

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Data collection chapter 15 from the companion website for educational research

  1. 1. Educational Research Chapter 15 Qualitative Data Collection Gay, Mills, and Airasian
  2. 2. Topics Discussed Definition and purpose of qualitative data collection Types of sources of qualitative data Data collection techniques  Observing  Interviewing  Using questionnaires  Examining records Threats to the quality of observations and interviews
  3. 3. Qualitative Data Collection Definition and purpose  The process of collecting descriptive, narrative, non-numerical data in order to gain insight into the phenomenon of interest  Data collection is determined by the nature of the problem  The researcher must make informed decisions about what data will contribute to the study and how to best collect it  Commonly known as field work Objectives 1.1 and 1.3
  4. 4. Qualitative Data Collection Types of Sources  Most common  Observations  Interviews  Others  Questionnaires; documents (e.g., journals, files, minutes, etc.); recordings; drawings, photos, or other artistic endeavors; or conversations (e.g., telephone calls, informal conversations, etc.)  Any source is acceptable as long as collecting it is ethical, feasible, and contributes to the understanding of the phenomenon of interest Objectives 2.1 and 2.2
  5. 5. Observations Obtaining data by watching participants in their natural setting Two common types  Participant  Non-participant Objectives 3.1 and 3.2
  6. 6. Observations Participant observation  The researcher is involved in the situation while collecting data  The purpose is to allow the researcher to gain insights and develop relationships that require an active, trusting rapport with participants Objective 3.2
  7. 7. Observations Participant observation (continued)  Four types based on the degree of involvement  Active participant observer  Privileged observer  Active observer  Passive observer Objective 3.3
  8. 8. Observations Participant observation (continued)  Three concerns  Loss of researcher’s objectivity  Difficult for the researcher to participate and collect data simultaneously  Participation can be difficult for the researcher and the participants Objective 3.4
  9. 9. Observations Non-participant observation  The researcher observes and records behaviors but does not interact or participate in the setting  Advantages  Less intrusive  Less likely to become emotionally involved  Disadvantages  The researcher might not have the background or expertise to participate  The researcher might not fit into a closely organized group Objectives 3.2 and 3.5
  10. 10. Observations Field notes  Notes taken during an observation to describe all relevant aspects of the situation  Regardless of whether participant or non- participant observation is used, field notes are the “data” Objective 3.6
  11. 11. Observations Field notes (continued)  Two types  Written records that contain information about the direct observations  Reflections of the researcher’s reactions to the observation  Typically taken during the observation  Use of protocols  A list of issues to guide the observation  Provides focus  Provides a common framework across field notes Objectives 3.6 and 3.7
  12. 12. Observations Field notes (continued)  Guidelines  Start slowly  Try to begin with no preconceptions  Write up field notes as soon as possible  List all pertinent information (e.g., date, site, time, topic, participants, etc.)  List key words related to your observation and then outline what was seen and heard Objective 3.8
  13. 13. Observations Field notes (continued)  Guidelines  Keep the descriptive and reflective field notes separated  Write down hunches, questions, insights, thoughts, etc., after each observation  Create an electronic file of your field notes  Number the lines or paragraphs in your field notes  See the options in most word processors Objective 3.8
  14. 14. Interviews Definition  Purposeful interactions between two or more people focused on one person trying to get information from the other person Purpose  Permits the exploration and probing of participants’ thoughts to get more in-depth information Objectives 4.1 and 4.2
  15. 15. Interviews Two types  Formal structured  A specific set of questions that have been predetermined by the researcher and are formally asked of all participants  Informal unstructured  A casual, informal conversation that allows the researcher to discover where the participants are coming from and what they’ve experienced Objective 4.3
  16. 16. Interviews A major concern with structured interviews  Difficulty resulting in gender and/or cultural differences between the interviewer and the participant Recommended practices  Pilot the questions before using them  Use questions that vary from convergent to divergent  Convergent – closed responses like “Yes” or “No”  Divergent – open responses allowing for personal elaboration from the participant Objectives 4.4 and 4.5
  17. 17. Interviews Guidelines for conducting an interview  Listen more, talk less  Follow up on what participants say and ask questions when you don’t understand  Avoid leading questions  Don’t interrupt – learn how to wait  Keep participants focused and ask for concrete details  Don’t be judgmental about participants’ views or beliefs  Don’t debate participants over their responses Objective 4.6
  18. 18. Interviews Three choices for collecting data  Taking notes during the interview  Can be cumbersome and disruptive  Writing notes after the interview  Can result in the loss of important information Objective 4.7
  19. 19. Interviews Three choices for collecting data (cont)  Audiotaping or videotaping the interview  The preferred method for collecting data  Can be intrusive and disruptive  Transcribing tapes involves producing a written file of what was said and done  Time consuming  Extremely difficult  Transcripts become the field notes of an interview Objective 4.7 and 4.8
  20. 20. Questionnaires A written collection of self-report questions to be answered by a selected group of research participants Permits the researcher to collect large amounts of data in relatively short periods of time Objectives 5.1 and 5.2
  21. 21. Questionnaires Guidelines  Carefully proofread questionnaires before you send them out  Avoid a sloppy, confusing presentation  Avoid lengthy questionnaires  Don’t ask unnecessary questions  Use structured items with a variety of possible responses  Allow for “other comments”  Decide on issues of anonymity and confidentiality Objective 5.3
  22. 22. Examining Records The examination of records or documents a qualitative researcher might collect Five major types  Archival documents  Journals  Maps  Videotapes and audiotapes  Artifacts Objectives 5.4 and 5.5
  23. 23. Threats to Quality Three concerns  Observer bias  Invalid observation that results when the observer does not observe objectively and accurately  Suggestions to help control observer bias  Record you personal thoughts, feelings, reactions, etc., about the process  Triangulate data – use multiple data collection methods and multiple sources to cross-check information Objective 5.6
  24. 24. Threats to Quality Three concerns (continued)  Observer effect  The impact of the observer participating in the setting  Suggestions to help control observer effects  Try to be unassuming and non-threatening  Gradually increase participation over time Objective 5.6
  25. 25. Threats to Quality Three concerns (continued)  Getting started  The initial days of the study once entry has been gained  Suggestions to minimize concerns  Do not take what happens in the field personally  Set up your first visit so that someone is there to introduce you to the participants  Don’t try to accomplish too much in the first few days  Be relatively passive – ask general, non-controversial questions  Be friendly and polite Objective 5.7