Qualitative Research Theoretical Approaches Modalities of Qualitative Research Sampling Methods Software Packages
Qualitative Research • Qualitative research seeks to gain a comprehensive and holistic view of social life through the study of people in a wide range of natural settings. • It is used to capture expressive information not conveyed in quantitative data about beliefs, values, feelings, and motivations that underlie behaviors.
Questions • How can you gather good data? • What should you do with the data?
Theoretical Approaches • Grounded Theory: Theory that emerges from data • Superimposed Theory: Start with theory & determine if the data support your theory
Qualitative Techniques • Observational Studies • Unstructured data collection • Structured data collection • Categorizing phenomena • Checklists • Rating scales • Interviews central to the relevant group or process • Focus groups • Key Informants • Critical incident reports • Case study evaluation
Qualitative Techniques • Recording and analysis of key interactions • Audiotape or videotape • Attention to data validity • Triangulation: collection from independent sources using differing means • Feedback from study participants • Thorough examination of outlying cases • Attention to data reliability • Detailed documentation of analysis • Parallel review by independent investigators
Content Analysis • Researchers thoughtful reflections • Researchers analyze the data based on themes • Statistical packages
Software Packages • Disadvantages • Slow down analysis phase • Stifle creativity • Doesn’t do thinking for you • Researcher is part of the analysis • Loose context • Don’t know what was said before, • Can include more information as you input the data • Advantages • Organize data • Store data • Easy to retrieve data • Frequency count of words • Easier to examine relationship between data
Strategies for Combining Qualitative & Quantitative Methods: The Priority Sequence Model • Qualitative method serves as an input to a primarily quantitative study • Can generate hypotheses, develop content for questionnaires & interventions • Example: You are uncertain about how to communicate with a particular group, so you conduct focus groups to develop the content for a survey or intervention • Source: David Morgan (1999)
Strategies for Combining Qualitative & Quantitative Methods: The Priority Sequence Model • Quantitative method serves as an input to a primarily qualitative study • Can guide purposive sampling, establish preliminary results to pursue in depth • Example: You are unsure which groups have the characteristics you are interested in, so you conduct a brief survey, prior to selecting the groups you will study in depth • Source: David Morgan (1999)
Strategies for Combining Qualitative & Quantitative Methods: The Priority Sequence Model • Qualitative method serves as an extension to a primarily quantitative study • Can provide interpretations for poorly understood results, help explain outliers • Example: You want to understand more about why the results of a survey or intervention came out the way they did, so you run focus groups to help interpret the results • Source: David Morgan (1999)
Strategies for Combining Qualitative & Quantitative Methods: The Priority Sequence Model • Quantitative method serves as an extension to a primarily qualitative study • Can generalize results to different samples, test elements of emergent theories • Example: You want to determine where else the conclusions from a case study are likely to apply, so you use a brief survey to determine the characteristics of other sites • Source: David Morgan (1999)
Measurement Bias • Researchers frequent immersion in the day-to-day lives of their subjects make some qualitative studies susceptible to measurement bias • Researcher is not detached or unbiased • Full disclosure has been suggested as a way to deal with bias • Minimize bias in other ways
Inclusion of Qualitative Approaches in NIH grant applications • Systematic description of the nature of the data collection methods to be used • Presentation of a clear and convincing rationale why qualitative approaches are not only appropriate for addressing the research questions at hand but why they are the most likely to produce useful findings • Source: Qualitative Methods In Health Research, Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research, NIH
Inclusion of Qualitative approaches in NIH grant applications • Focused discussion of the universe studied and the sample recruited for qualitative assessment (including accounting for the relationship between the sample to the universe, by using a clearly described sampling plan) • Specification of the timeframes that bound data collection (e.g., observations designed to sample variation across hours of the day, days of the week, and weeks of the year • Source: Qualitative Methods In Health Research, Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research, NIH
Inclusion of Qualitative approaches in NIH grant applications • Careful presentation of the nature of the data to be collected • An orderly account of the analytic procedures to be performed, including specification of how findings can be interpreted • Source: Qualitative Methods In Health Research, Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research, NIH
References • Daly, Kerry. The Fit Between Qualitative Research and Characteristics of Families. In Jane Gilgun, Kerry Daly, and Gerald Handel (Eds), Qualitative Methods in Family Research (pp.3-11). Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1992. • Emerson, Robert, Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw. “In the Field: Participating, Observing and Jotting.” In Emerson et al., Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes (pp. 17-38). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. • Gold, Seven. “Ethical Issues in Visual Field Work.” In Grant Blank, James McCartney and Edward Brent (Eds.) New Technologies in Sociology (pp. 99-109). New Brunswick, New Jersy: Transaction, 1989. • Harrell-Bond, Barabra. “Studying Elites: Some Special Problems.” In Michael Rynkiewich and James Spradley, Ethics and Anthropology (pp. 110-122). New York: Wiley, 1976. • Lofland, John and Lyn Lofland. “Data Logging in Observation: Fieldnotes.” In John Lofland and Lynland, Analyzing Social Settings (pp. 89098). Albany, New York: Wadsworth, 1995. • Morgan, David. “Planning and Research Design for Focus Groups.” In David Morgan, Focus Groups as Qualitative Research (pp. 31-45). Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1997. • Weiss, Robert. “Writing the Report.” In Robert Weiss, Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies (pp. 183-206). New York: Free Press, 1994.