Qualitative Research Richard Peacock, Clinical Librarian Archway Healthcare Library Ziba Nadimi, Outreach and Information Skills Librarian Camden Primary Care Trust Adapted presentation originally produced by Helen Goodman- Library Manager, Cassel Hospital
What is Qualitative Research? • “Qualitative research, with its focus on the experiences of people, stresses the uniqueness of individuals…qualitative researchers collect data from their respondents, often in their natural environments, taking into account how cultural, social and other factors influence their experiences and behaviour” (Parahoo 1997)
What can it be used for? Qualitative Research is used to ascertain people’s Feelings Opinions Behaviours – reasons for Attitudes/ beliefs Problems Areas of need/ gaps in services
The Anatomy of a Research Paper • The introduction summarises the background to the study • The methods helps to understand if you are critically appraising a paper • The results reports findings objectively without speculation or interpretation. • In the discussion the authors interpret the findings in light of the study design and other research.
Qualitative Methodologies These include: • Grounded Theory • Thematic analysis • Content Analysis • Discourse Analysis …and more
Qualitative Methodologies Cont. Grounded theory- A research method in which the theory is developed from the data, rather than the other way around. That makes this an inductive approach, meaning that it moves from the specific to the more general. • The method of study is essentially based on three elements: concepts, categories and propositions, or what was originally called “hypotheses”. However, concepts are the key elements of analysis since the theory is developed from the conceptualization of data, rather than the actual data.
Qualitative Methodologies Cont. • Thematic analysis- Focuses on identifiable themes and patterns of living and/or behaviour. From the conversations that take place in a therapy session or those that are encouraged for the sake of researching a process, ideas emerge that can be better understood under the control of a thematic analysis.
Qualitative Methodologies Cont. • Content Analysis- Is doing the word-frequency count. The assumption made is that the words that are mentioned most often are the words that reflect the greatest concerns. • Discourse Analysis-. Discourse analysis focuses on talk and texts as social practices, and on the resources that are drawn on to enable those practices. For example, discourse analytic studies of racism have been concerned with the way descriptions are marshalled in particular contexts to legitimate the blaming of a minority group (Potter and Wetherell, 1988),
Common Features of Qualitative Research • Sampling • Data Collection • Triangulation
Sampling - How people are selected? • From the “population” – e.g. mental health trusts in Wales, teenage smokers in Newcastle • “Target population” – inclusion/exclusion criteria applied” • “Sample population” is selected - purposeful sampling (size and specific cases depend on the study purpose; theoretical sampling (guided by emerging theories)) • Convenience - near to hand/ available • Snowball - people known to other participants • Volunteer - keen and eager
What size should the sample be? • Does not need to be representative of population - not statistical • Saturation – recruitment of additional cases no longer provides additional information or insights
Different methods of data collection • Interviews- structures or semi-structured, guided, unstructured • Focus groups- researcher(s) plus 2-10 participants - guided group discussion on topic(s) • Telephone interviews • Observation - researcher may be just observing or sometimes more part of the group - “participant observation” • Covert observation - two-way mirrors or hidden camera
Triangulation • Is the application and combination of several research methodologies in the study of the same phenomenon-data sources, sample groups or investigators • Area under investigation is looked at from different perspectives • By combining multiple observers, theories and methods, researchers can hope to overcome the weakness or intrinsic biases and the problems that come from single method, single-observer, single-theory studies
Bibliography • Bell, J. (1993) Doing your research project , Milton Keynes, Open University Press • Cornack, D. (2000) The research process in nursing 4th ed Oxford, Blackwell Science Press • Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. Handbook of qualitative research (2000) (nb – new edition out in May 2005) London, Sage • Krueger, R. (2000) Focus groups; a practical guide for applied research, London, Sage • Parahoo, K. (1997) Nursing research; principles, process and issues. London, Macmillan • Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. (1999) Basics of qualitative research – grounded theory, procedures, techniques. London, Sage • Bassett, C. (Ed.) 2004 Qualitative Research in Health Care, London, Whurr Publishers • Discourse analysis and constructionist approaches: theoretical background - John T.E. Richardson (Ed.) (1996). In Handbook of qualitative research methods for psychology and the social sciences. Leicester; BPS Books. • Aronson, J. A Pragmatic view of thematic analysis - The Qualitative Report, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring, 1994, (http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/BackIssues/QR2-1/aronson.html)//az.essortment.com/groundedtheory_rmnf.htm • Greenhalgh, T. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence-based medicine, 3rd ed., (2006), BMJ Books:http:////unyit.edu/traingulation.htm • http://www.tele.sunyit.edu/triangulation.htm