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Hatch Chapter 3

Hatch Chapter 3

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Hatch Chapter 3

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  1. Hatch Chapter 3 Collecting Qualitative Data

  2. Different Types of Qualitative Data Gathering • Observing • Interviewing • Unobtrusive • Other

  3. 1. Observing • Goal of observation: understand the culture, setting, or social phenomenon being studied from the perspective of the participants • Be there in the social setting, to make careful record of what people say and do, and to make sense of how the participants make sense within that setting • Strengths of observing on page 72

  4. Level of Involvement Issues • The issue of intrusiveness • Does not have to be either nonparticipation or complete participation • The issue of the researcher’s ability to act as a participant • The issue of what data might be missed while the researcher is participating instead of taking field notes • The issue of access to the action • The issue of “going native” • To overidentify with those they are studying and lose perspective as researchers

  5. Spradley’s (1980) continuum of involvement • Nonparticipation • Passive participation • Moderate participation • Active participation • Complete participation

  6. Level of Involvement According to Paradigms • Postpositivist • Nothing limits the level of researcher participation • Constructivist • The more participation, the better • Critical/Feminist • Engaged in at least moderate participation • Poststructuralist • Assumptions do not translate into a preference for either end of continuum

  7. Field Note Processes • Field notes: the principal data generated through observation • Written on the spot • Descriptions of contexts, actions, and conversations written in as much detail as possible • Converted into research protocols through a process of “filling in” • Going through the raw data as soon as possible after leaving the field and making a more complete description based on the raw notes and what is remembered from the setting • Organized in a consistent format in preparation for analysis • Impressions recorded and bracketed

  8. Field Notes: Figuring Out What to Attend To • Don’t expect to be perfect • Researchers limited in what they can see and hear, what they can pay attention to, what they can write down, and what they can remember • Make a careful record of what you attend to • An accurate descriptive account of what the participants did and said • Verbatim • Start by describing the contexts that frame the study • Make a map of the social setting • Questions that may guide early observations on page 79

  9. Field Notes: Figuring Out What to Attend To • Start with a broad focus and narrow as you go • Bring questions to each observation • Toward the end of the study, questions usually become more specific • Use sensitizing concepts to focus early observations • Refer back to research questions • What you are doing • What you are observing • What you are recording • What you need to report • What you ought to gather • Focus on what matters to participants

  10. Writing Raw Field Notes • Decide how notes will be physically recorded • Clipboard, spiral notebook, laptop computer • Impossible for researcher to remember everything or to make a complete record on the spot • Should include where the observer is in the research setting, what general activity the participants are engaged in, and what time observations start and stop • Important sentences, phrases, and words should be written down as they are spoken • Paraphrasing not a good strategy • Practice in public settings • Important skills to develop on page 83

  11. Filling in Research Protocols • Research protocols: expanded accounts of what was observed on that particular visit • Researchers should convert raw field notes into research protocols as soon as possible after leaving field • Before they “go cold” • As descriptive as possible, not interpretive • Language identification principle: making an accurate record of who says what to whom • Verbatim principle: recording exactly what was said as opposed to summarizing or paraphrasing • Concrete principle: recording the details of events using concrete language rather than generalizations • Standard organization, be consistent

  12. Bracketing & Keeping a Research Journal • Bracketing • Separating impressions, feelings, and early interpretations from descriptions during qualitative data collection • Literal bracketing • Keeping a Research Journal • Provides a record of the affective experience of doing a study • An extension of bracketing • Useful for self-assessing researcher biases

  13. Knowing When to Stop Observations • Depends on • Your research questions • How much time your participants give you • How involved you will become in the research scene • Time of the year • Your own time and resources • Decisions will most likely be made in design phase • Data collection should be paired with analysis • To make sure your research questions are being answered and that you have enough data

  14. 2. Interviewing • Special kinds of conversations or speech events that are used by researchers to explore informants’ experiences and interpretations • Can be used alongside other data collection, or be the primary or only data source • Provide a way to explore more deeply participants’ perspectives on actions observed by researchers • Lincoln and Guba (1985) five outcomes of interviewing • Here and now constructions: present • Reconstructions: past • Projections: future • Triangulation: verifying information from participants or other sources • Member checking: verifying information developed by researcher

  15. Kinds of Qualitative Interviews • Research questions and paradigms will lead researcher to use one, two, or all • Informal • Formal • Standardized

  16. Informal Interviews • Unstructured conversations that take place in the research scene • Will not be primary data source • Take advantage of immediate context • Gives informants that chance to reflect on what they have said, done, or seen • Require researchers to be good listeners and create questions on the spot • Participants must understand that their informal conversations are part of the data collection process • Understand they are “on the record” • Strengths: help build rapport and participants are generally flattered • Fits within any research paradigm

  17. Formal Interviews • “Structured,” “Semi-structured,” and “in-depth” • “Structured” in that the researcher is “in charge” of leading the interview, there is a set time established, and most often recorded on tape • “Semi-structured” in that although researchers come with questions, they are open to following the leads of informants • Difference from standardized interviews • “In-depth” in that they go deeply into the understandings of the informants • Take place away from the research scene • Formal interviews could be only data collection tool • Both researcher and participant know they are there to generate data • Fits within any research paradigm

  18. Standardized Interviews • Predetermined questions that are asked in the same order, using the same words, to all informants • Gather information from several informants that can be compared systemically • Fits most comfortably within the postpositivist paradigm

  19. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 1. Decide what kinds of interviews will be done • Based on research aims, research questions, and issues of feasibility • Broad, structural issues may be best answered within more formal interview settings • Narrow, individual issues may be best answered within more informal strategies • Feasibility concerns • Availability of participants • Willingness of participants • Confidentiality considerations

  20. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 2. Decide who exactly will be interviewed • Choose who will make good informants, be available, and agree to be interviewed • Good informants have knowledge about everyday life and communicate this knowledge through “their native language” • Different kinds of participant samples detailed on pages 98 and 99 • Need to justify the inclusion of those interviewed in your final report • Convenience sample are the most common and least desired

  21. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 3. Contact potential informants, gain informed consent, arrange interview times and locations, and select/prepare recording equipment • Informants should have a clear understanding of the ground rules for formal interviews • They should know what to expect and what is expected from them • Initial contacts made over phone • Followed up with a letter describing the study, an outline of the research bargain, and a copy of the informed consent form • Need to find a quiet, private space • Need to be sure your recording equipment is reliable and of sufficient quality

  22. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 4. Develop questions—final step and most important • Getting the informants’ stories without imposing the researchers’ perspectives or authority • Enter formal and standardized interviews with guiding questions • Questions based on research purposes, knowledge of their informants, and hunches about the phenomena studied • When multiple interviews are scheduled for the same individuals, analysis of early contacts will shape later interviews and spontaneous conversation will happen due to researcher-informant rapport • When multiple informants are interviewed only once, questions must be designed more carefully

  23. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 4. Develop questions—final step and most important • Four types of interview questions • 1. Essential • Concerned with the central focus of investigation • Rarely asked at the beginning of the interview • 2. Extra • Related to essential questions but come at the topic from a slightly different angle or ask the same questions using different wording • Go more deeply into areas of importance • 3. Throw-away • Include information about demographics, background, or context • Put informant at ease and get the conversation started • Often asked at beginning of an interview • 4. Probing • Get informants to talk more about particular subjects that arise in the interviews

  24. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 4. Develop questions—final step and most important • Spradley’s three kinds of “ethnographic questions”: descriptive, structural, and contrast • Descriptive: designed to get informants talking about the particulars of a social scene with which they are familiar • Ex: Can you describe…? Tell me about a time when…? Could you give me an example…? • Structural: invite informants to demonstrate how they organize their cultural knowledge • Ex: What are kinds of…? What are the steps in…? What characteristics typify…? • Contrast: explore how informants make meaning in their social worlds • Ex: What’s the difference between…? Can you compare…?

  25. Interview Process: Preparing for Qualitative Interviews • 4. Develop questions—final step and most important • How questions are worded: • Essential questions should be open-ended • Should use language that is familiar to informants • Should be clear • Complex questions or multiple questions at a time may make informants uncomfortable • Should be neutral • So you don’t generate bad data • Should respect informants and presume they have valuable knowledge • Should generate answers related to the objectives of the research • Move from general questions to specific questions

  26. Treatment of Participants • Good interviews are characterized by respect, interest, attention, good manners, and encouragement by the researcher • The purpose of the research should be made clear, the researchers should reassure informants that there are no right or wrong answers, and the informants’ honest perspective are the most valuable data • The informants should know ahead of time how long the interview will last • Informants should leave with a sense of closure, an understanding of any plans for follow-up, a feeling that their time was well spent, and that they have been treated with respect

  27. Processing Interview Data • Record nonverbal data during interview and bracket • Research log should also include records of where, when, with whom, and for how long interviews were held • Transcription often time consuming • Heads up • Summary of Successful Interview Tips on pages 114-116

  28. 3. Collecting Unobtrusive Data • Unobtrusive data provide insight into the social phenomenon under investigation without interfering with the enactment of that social phenomenon • Nonreactive • Not filtered through the perceptions, interpretations, and biases of research participants • Collected without direct involvement of research participants

  29. Kinds of Unobtrusive Data • Artifacts • Objects that participants use in everyday life • Ex: samples of children’s work, copies of teacher plans, collections and/or descriptions of classroom tools, etc • Traces • The unintended residues of human activity • Allows researchers to study patterns of behavior • Ex: Wear spots on playgrounds, signs of wear and tear in library books, etc • Documents • Official written communication • Gives a behind-the-scenes look at institutional processes • Ex: State curriculum grades, district policy statements, school codes of conduct, etc

  30. Kinds of Unobtrusive Data • Personal communications • Written without the intent of representing the official positions of institutions • Participants’ natural experiences, not prompted from researcher • Ex: notes between teachers, notes passed between students, interactive journals • Records • Special types of documents on which notations are made in an effort to keep track of certain facets of school life • Ex: personnel, financial, and performance records held at national, state, district, school, and classroom levels • Photographs • Provide a sense of what the setting was like in the past, provide specific factual information about who was where when, and present anomalies that do not fit with other data in the study • Archives • Hold documents, records, and photographs that tell a story of the institution • Unfortunately not often organized or cataloged

  31. Working with Unobtrusive Data • Useful for making comparisons with data from other sources such as observation and interviewing • One step removed from participants’ intervening interpretations, provide an alternative perspective, relatively easy to acquire • “Triangulation” • Good as a stimulus in interview interactions • Help establish history and context • “Contextualizing” • Potential weakness: if used in isolation, they can offer a distorted view of events and social contexts • Research bargains should be as specific as possible about what you want to see and why • Need permission from participants

  32. Collecting and Processing Unobtrusive Data • Will need to be returned or remain in setting • Sometimes photocopying is an option with participant permission • Need a system for labeling what objects are, where they came from, and why they have been gathered

  33. 4. Collecting Other Types of Data (Supplementary) • Video recording • Focus group interviewing • Participant journaling

  34. Video Recording • Produce very detailed transcripts of what occurred, by replayed over and over to ensure accuracy, and pick up subtle details • Advantages • Can capture facial expressions and non-verbals • Can validate researcher’s interpretations • Can supplement observation, interviews, and unobtrusive data collection • Can document one-time events • Disadvantages • More difficult to ensure confidentiality • How data will be used, how it will be stored, and who will have access must be part of the informed consent • Expensive • Obtrusiveness

  35. Video Recording Tips (Pages 129-131) • Make decisions on what to video based on research design • What is to be recorded, when, and why • Select equipment carefully • Become familiar with equipment and procedures before going into the field • Build time in for participants to get used to being videotaped • Create a system for keeping track of what has been taped • Record of dates, times, settings, and circumstances • Made copies of tapes

  36. Focus Group Interviews • Rely on the interactions that take place among participants in the group to generate data • Interviewer typically acts as a moderator who encourages participants to generate discussion around particular topics • Advantage • Generate a lot of data in a short amount of time • Gives informants a sense of security, leading to more candid responses • Gives participants a say in how the direction of the interview will go • Disadvantages • Moderators may take too much control of the interview, limiting the range of responses • Interaction may not represent how such interaction will take place in a more natural setting • Not all participants feel comfortable talking in front of others • Data could be biased in the direction of people who talk the most

  37. Focus Group Interviews • Triangulation • Could help develop future material for interviews or observations or vice versa • Select strangers with some shared characteristics or experiences • Group size should be kept in the 6-12 range • If topic is intense, have fewer in the group • If topic is more general, larger numbers will work • Rule of thumb: 3-5 sessions • Ideal room would be a conference room with a large oval table that will allow for accurate audio recording • Audio only will enhance confidentiality • Make a duplicate copy and transcribe it • Take notes during the interview

  38. Focus Group Interview Tips (Pages 137-139) • Allow some time before interviews begin to meet each participant and to give participants the chance to meet each other • Give participants a brief overview of what your expectations are for the focus group and review some ground rules for participants • Estimate how long it will last • Emphasize no “right answers” • Start with an “icebreaker” • Get a meaningful opening statement from each participant • Build on the opening statements as guiding questions are addressed • Keep the conversation focused on the topic • Encourage participants to be specific and use examples • Monitor and balance participation • Encourage quieter members directly • Give closure to a session • Give each person a chance to make a closing statement

  39. Participant Journaling • Journals kept by participants at the request of the researcher • Written record of their experiences and reflections during the research process • Advantages • Provides a direct path into the insights of participants • They are not processed through a researcher • Flexibility for participants • Could guide the direction of other data collection methods • Could improve the quality of researcher-participant relations • Disadvantages • Time and effort on participants’ part • Feeling pressured to write something • May write to help out the researcher, not honestly

  40. Tips for Participant Journaling • Be clear about writing expectations when participants are selected • How much writing, how often, and for what purposes • Give clear directions about journaling topics • Process journal data in an ongoing way • Monitor quality of participant data • Give participants credit for keeping up with their journals

  41. Text Excerpts Taken Directly From: • Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing Qualitative Research in Education Settings. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press