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  1. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Professor Dr Rosmimah Mohd Roslin Faculty of Business Management Universiti Teknologi MARA 40450 Shah Alam E-mail: Tel: 03-55444785

  2. Qualitative Methods for you? • What is your research about? • Are you looking at something new? • Are you addressing a new area? • Are you studying human behaviour in an in-depth manner? • Are you addressing or answering questions pertaining to WHY? And HOW? • Are you just confirming what others have done? • Testing hypotheses? • Describing quantitatively a situation?

  3. When to use qualitative research…………? • When there is not enough information/literature to allow you to develop frameworks, • When you are in the process of correctly identifying problems or opportunities, • When you want to establish new theories, • When assessing behavioral issues, emotional, attitudinal and personality factors

  4. Is qualitative method appropriate for you? • Exploratory phase of your Ph.D research • Refining existing variables • Possibility of adding new variables to existing framework • Seeking new theory • Non-existent of complete variables in existing literature • Completely new knowledge that has yet to be studied extensively

  5. Is using qualitative method partially in your research qualifies it as a MIXED METHOD? • NO! • Definitions…. John Creswell (2007): Mixed methods research is a research design (or methodology) in which the researcher collects, analyzes, and mixes (integrates or connects) both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or a multiphase program of inquiry. Janice Morse (2003): A mixed method design is a plan for a scientifically rigorous research process comprised of a qualitative or quantitative core component that directs the theoretical drive, with qualitative or quantitative supplementary component(s). These components of the research fit together to enhance description, understanding and can either be conducted simultaneously or sequentially.


  7. Research Paradigms Source: Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner (2007), Towards a definition of mixed methods research, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1, (2), April, 112-133

  8. Let’s define qualitative research… • “ …interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world.” • Van, Maanen, J. (1979). Preface, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 24, pp. 520-526

  9. How different is this from quantitative research?

  10. Assumptions of Qualitative Designs • Qualitative researchers are concerned primarily with process, rather than outcomes or products. • Qualitative researchers are interested in meaning­ how people make sense of their lives, experiences, and their structures of the world.

  11. Cont. • The qualitative researcher is the primary instrument for data collection and analysis. Data are mediated through this human instrument, rather than through inventories, questionnaires, or machines • Qualitative research involves fieldwork. The researcher physically goes to the people, setting, site, or institution to observe or record behavior in its natural setting.

  12. Cont. • Qualitative research is descriptive in that the researcher is interested in process, meaning, and understanding gained through words or pictures. • The process of qualitative research is inductive in that the researcher builds abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, and theories from details.

  13. Adequacy of Qualitative Methods • Lincoln & Guba (1985) identify four criteria for adequacy or rigor in scientific research • Truth value • Applicability • Consistency • Neutrality

  14. Criteria for Adequacy

  15. In Quantitative Research….. • Internalvalidity: In quantitative research, the elimination of alternative hypotheses such as history, maturation, testing effects, regression, instrumentation, subject selection, and mortality. Also relates to validity of instruments such as content validity, criterion validity, and construct validity. • Externalvalidity: In quantitative research, the generalizability of findings and the representativeness of subjects, tests, and testing situation.

  16. Cont.. • Reliability: In quantitative research, the consistency, stability, and dependability of a test or testing procedure. • Objectivity: In quantitative research, the outcome of establishing internal and external validity and reliability. Based on distance between researcher and subjects; relationship is mediated by protocol, theory, and instrumentation.

  17. In Qualitative Research… • Credibility: When others can recognize the experience by reading about it. • Fittingness: When findings "fit" into contexts outside the study situation and when the audience views the findings as meaningful and applicable in terms of their own experience.

  18. Cont. • Auditability: When another researcher can clearly follow the "decision trail" used by the investigator. In addition, another researcher could arrive at the same or comparable but not contradictory conclusions given the researcher's data, perspective, and situation. • Confirmability: When auditability, fittingness, and credibility have been established. Based on engagement between researcher and subjects.

  19. Cont. • the subjective involvement of investigators with their subjects and • the emphasis on subjective reality or the meanings subjects give to and derive from their life experiences.

  20. Dealing with Qualitative Data • Transforming qualitative data into quantifiable data, OR • Internalizing the meaning of the qualitative data • Thick description • Emerging themes

  21. Commencing a qualitative enquiry… • Starts with research question/s • Not hypotheses! • Develop a conceptualization of constructs • Not a theoretical framework!

  22. A qualitative enquirer will ask…

  23. Compared to a quantitative enquirer…

  24. How to carry out qualitative research….?

  25. Methods of data collection • Document/Archival Analysis • Texts, graphics, videos, movies, art works etc • In-depth interviews • Face-to-face • Focus group interviews • Observation • Participant Observation • Full observation

  26. Sampling Method… • Sampling is Open and Purposive • Convenient • Chain • Snowball • Judgmental

  27. Analysis • Methods of analysis are interpretive leading to induction rather than deduction of research findings • Transcribing of responses is crucial for analysis • Analyses leading to the development of hypotheses

  28. Interpretive Analysis • Interpreting how people construct and give meaning to their actions in concrete social situations • The observer deals with how social objects are made meaningful • No specific method of analysis or tool used apart from researcher’s interpretive ability

  29. Outcome of a Qualitative Research • Propositions or Hypotheses • Model or Theoretical Framework • Emerging Theory

  30. Qualitative Research Approaches

  31. Case Study • Ethnography • Phenomenology • Grounded Theory

  32. Case Study Approach – When to use? • According to Yin (2003) a case study design should be considered when: • the focus of the study is to answer “how” and “why” questions; • you cannot manipulate the behaviour of those involved in the study; • you want to cover contextual conditions because you believe they are relevant to the phenomenon under study; or • the boundaries are not clear between the phenomenon and context.

  33. Types of Case Study

  34. Ethnography • “……observation of people, in situ: finding them where they are, staying with them in some role which will allow both intimate observation of certain parts of their behaviour, and reporting it in ways useful to social sciences but not harmful to those observed.” • Ethnographic methods rely substantially on participant observation.

  35. Participant observation may range from……

  36. Features of Ethnography • a focus on exploring the essence and the nature of social phenomena; • the investigation of a small number of cases and possibly only one case in depth; • a tendency to work with unstructured data i.e. data that is not easily quantifiable or organisable in strict analytical categories;

  37. Phenomenology • A study that is concerned with reality-constituting interpretive practices. • This approach examine how human beings construct and give meaning to their actions in concrete social situations. • It is a study of a phenomena appearances of things

  38. Cont. • A study of things as they appear in our experience • A method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.

  39. Grounded Theory • This is a general methodology of developing theory that is grounded in data which are systematically gathered and analyzed. • Grounded theory methodology is designed to guide researchers in producing theory that is “conceptually dense”– that is, with many conceptual relationships.

  40. Analyzing Qualitative Data – The Process QUAL Process

  41. Analyzing Qualitative Data • Constant Comparative Method • Content Analysis • is the process of: • Identifying primary patterns in the data • Coding data • Categorizing • Looking for similarities and differences in the responses • Naming or categorizing all similarities identified • Describing the meaning behind these categories

  42. Interpretive Analysis • Interpreting how people construct and give meaning to their actions in concrete social situations • The observer deals with how social objects are made meaningful • No specific method of analysis or tool used apart from researcher’s interpretive ability • Subjectivity is paramount

  43. Analysis can be done….. • Line-by-line analysis • This involves close examination, phrase by phrase and even sometimes of single words. • Analyzing sentence or paragraph • You will be looking at the whole sentence and asking yourself what is/are the major idea/s brought out in the sentence. • Analyzing an entire document, observation or interview • Assessing the whole document and asking yourself what exactly is going on. • Look for similarities and differences of the documents, observation or interviews with that of others.

  44. Coding of responses – Open, Axial and Selective coding • An observation, a sentence, or a paragraph is taken apart and scrutinized and is then given a name or label that represent the phenomenon.

  45. Is the part of the analysis that focuses specifically to the naming and categorizing of phenomena through close examination of the data. A set of procedures where data from open coding are put back in new ways by making connections between categories Involves putting back the open codes by making connections between categories. The process involves selecting core category, systematically relating this to other categories, validating those relationships, and filling in categories that need further refinement and development

  46. Example….. • Let’s say you are interested in understanding how work environment affects job satisfaction among women working in a manufacturing plant. • Your research question: • Does work environment affects job satisfaction among women factory workers?

  47. Coding… Dependence • Worker A: • The factory is my source of livelihood.I’m a single parent. My husband passed away 2 years ago and I have 4 children to feed.It is hard work. I sometimes work more than 5 hours standing. At my age, standing for a long time really hurt my feet. I sometimes get headacheswhen I go back home. There’s a lot of dust in the factory….But I have to work, there’s no choice. Physical deprivation Poverty

  48. Another transcript…. • Worker B • The management promises us a lot of things but not one promise has been kept. I feel like quitting but this is the only job I can get here. I can go to Kulim to look for another job but its too far away from my house. I may have to pay more for transportation or to rent a house near Kulim. Untrustworthy Forced circumstances

  49. Constructing Themes • Dependence • Physical deprivation • Poverty • Untrustworthy • Forced circumstances • Individual attitude • Compliant Forced Situation It is circumstances beyond their control like poverty that is forcing these women to work here. Otherwise they may not be compelled to work here.

  50. Another example… • Physical deprivation • Poverty • Untrustworthy • Forced circumstances • Individual attitude • Compliant Personal Orientation - Resigned Attitude Its all up to women themselves in terms of how they face the situation. Even though their employer could not be trusted, they still remain in the job