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Qualitative Methodology with assistance from Sarah Halpern- Meekin

Qualitative Methodology with assistance from Sarah Halpern- Meekin

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Qualitative Methodology with assistance from Sarah Halpern- Meekin

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  1. Qualitative Methodologywith assistance from Sarah Halpern-Meekin 2018 Summer Dissertation Proposal Workshop Howard University May 22, 2018

  2. Research Question • The research question is usually exploratory and hypothesis generating rather than testing. • The question should be developed in a manner that provides the investigator with sufficient flexibility and freedom to explore a topic in some depth. • Identifies the topic area to be studied and tells the reader what there is about this particular topic that is of interest to the researcher.

  3. When is using qualitative methods appropriate? • When parents receive a cash transfer, how much do they spend on their children, and what types of expenditures do they prioritize? • How do recipients view the EITC; how do they allocate these funds; and what meanings they attach to this money? • What, if any, are the coping strategies families adopt to mitigate economic risk in their allocations of their tax refunds?

  4. ”making many decisions, with only the vaguest of guideposts” • As I bumped about in the field not knowing what I was doing I often in the field not knowing what I was doing I often felt– incorrectly, as it turned out – that I was making a terrible mess of things, that my project was doomed, and that I should give up the enterprise immediately. This negativism came from my persistent feeling that, despite my having a research question when I started, I didn’t truly know what I was doing there. In part, my gloom signaled the continuing struggle to clarify the intellectual goals of the project.”

  5. ”making many decisions, with only the vaguest of guideposts” • As I have discovered, using qualitative methods means learning to live with uncertainty, ambiguity, and confusion, sometimes for weeks at a time. It also means carving a path by making decisions, with only the vaguest guideposts and no one to give you gold stars and good grades along the way. Journeys Through Ethnography: Realistic Accounts of Field Research, (Edited by Annette Lareau and Jeff Shultz) Boulder, CO. Westview. (1996)

  6. What is Qualitative Research? • Multimethod in focus • Researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of meaning that people bring to them. “The sociological imagination enable us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. “ C. Wright Mills (1959)

  7. What is Qualitative Research? • Active presence in the research setting, particular form of ethical sensitivity.

  8. What is Qualitative Research? • Cannot divest ourselves of our values, attitudes, and political beliefs, when walking into a research setting.

  9. What is Qualitative Research? • Introspection (Bias) – • Journal Keeping (responses)

  10. What is Qualitative Research? Qualitative Research involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials such as: • Case Study • Personal Experience • Life Story • Interview • Observational, Historical, Interactional, and Visual Texts that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in an individuals’ lives. Basically, Qualitative Researchers deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand.

  11. Qualitative Research versus Quantitative Research Challenges to Qualitative Research: Work is seen by some researchers as unscientific, or only exploratory, or entirely personal and full of bias. It is called criticism and not theory, or it is interpreted as politically motivated. Qualitative Researchers stress the following: • Socially constructed nature of reality • Intimate relationships between the researcher and what is studied • Situational constraints that shape inquiry.

  12. Ethnographic prose Historical narratives First-person accounts Still photographs Life histories Fictionalized facts Biographical and autobiographical materials Inquiry emphasizes the value-laden nature of inquiry. Mathematical models Statistical tables Graphs Writes about the research in third-person impersonal prose Emphasis is placed on the measurement and analysis of casual relationships between variables, not processes. Inquiry is purported to be within a value-free framework. Qualitative Research versus Quantitative Research

  13. Qualitative Methods Components Interview-based studies • Sampling techniques and sample size • Preliminary interview guide • Recording and transcribing interviews • Data storage and management • Data analysis plan Ethnographies • Site Choice • Site Access • Field notes • Data Storage & management • Data Analysis plan

  14. Qualitative Research and Race: Exploring the Different Experiences of African American, Native American, and Whites in the Child Support Enforcement System. Methodological Considerations and Challenges

  15. Qualitative Research and Race • American Indian • African American (Black) • White • Historical significance of Race in the U.S. • Legislation (Citizenship and Race) • Gender and Class (in the context of research) • Role of researcher

  16. Geographic Location: Milwaukee, WisconsinLow-income Fathers (2 year study) • Primarily Black census tracts • Disparity in the areas of: • Education • Poverty • Employment

  17. Counties of interest Dane (White) Manitowoc (White) Milwaukee (Black) Racine (Black) Sauk (White) Sawyer (White/Am. Indian) Waukesha (White) State of Wisconsin Geographic Location:Whites, African-American and American Indian Project (n = 157)

  18. Challenges and Considerations • Role of researcher and the informant • Safety • Gender • Class • Travel • Issues of “color-blindness” • Trust The University of York , SPRU

  19. The Qualitative Research Process for a Policy Project • Phase One: The Researcher recognizes the ethics and politics of research. (Diary and participant observations) Start of Research Design • Phase Two: Theoretical Paradigms: Feminism (giving voice to minority populations) Critical (recognizes race and class) & Narration (stories, essays)

  20. The Qualitative Research Process for a Policy Project • Phase Three: Research Strategies - research design involves specific sites, persons, groups, institutions, and bodies of relevant interpretive material, including documents and archives.

  21. The Qualitative Research Process for a Policy Project • Phase Four: Methods of Collection and Analysis: Interviews and Direct Observation. (Large amounts of Data Management) • No to “yes or no” questions • Phase Five: Interpretation and Presentation: creative and interpretive

  22. Example of a Qualitative Research Project Issues of Ethics in the W-2 Qualitative Research Project • Informed Consent • Right to Privacy • Protection from Harm

  23. Analysis of the Qualitative Research Interviews Narrative Analysis (an example) Plot Characters Cultural Models Concepts Themes

  24. MARITAL Child Support Enforcement System TANF NONMARITAL Non-custodial fathers with children on TANF and child support orders.

  25. Other Considerations • Time to negotiate site/ sample access • Time for IRB approval • Often more challenging with vulnerable populations • Include provisions that allow you to recontact respondents • Logistics of conducting fieldwork • Practicing interviewing skills • Refining interview guide • Finding respondents • Transportation • Scheduling • Compensation for respondents

  26. Other Considerations • Triangulation • Saturation • Time to transcribe and code • Writing memos as you go

  27. Qualitative Research – Key Concepts to Remember • You got to know…How you will know if you are wrong! • Interrogate Data – Learn from your data • Data reduction vs Data retention • Wanting to find out something “surprising” in the research conducted. • Aim to produce something – never done before • “Discovery”