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Qualitative Vs Quantative
Terms in this set (26)
Quantitative Research Summary
to be able to establish a cause and effect relationship through the use of descriptive as well as inferential statistics, allowing the researcher to determine the significance of the results
Data Collection Methods:
-True (Laboratory based)
-Quasi : Field
Data Analysis Methods:
Qualitative Research Summary
• Distinguish between qualitative and quantitative data.
• Explain strengths and limitations of a qualitative approach to research.
• Discuss sampling techniques appropriate to qualitative research (for example, purposive sampling, snowball sampling).
to gather information about the `qualities' or characteristics of what is being studied/in depth descriptions of individual experiences based on concepts, meanings and explanations
Data Collection Methods:
- Case Study
Data Analysis Methods:
- Inductive Content Analysis
Good for investigating complex situations (e.g., Genie)
Tends to be more experimentally valid if the individual studied remains in their environment
Tons of data to deal with so analysis can be problematic
Interpreting results can be affected by the experimenter - use reflexivity to minimize this
People with certain characteristics may be hard to find, so one or two representatives provide help to locate hidden populations eg. two homeless people may know 15 other homeless people
targets a particular group on the basis of certain characteristics eg. people with disabilities
Selects certain group of people who happen to be available
• Evaluate semi-structured, focus group and narrative interviews.
• Discuss considerations involved before, during and after an interview (for example, sampling
method, data recording, traditional versus postmodern transcription, debriefing).
Disadvantages of interviews:
• Social desirability may lead to the data gathered being invalid if the person being interviewed says what s/he thinks the researcher wants to hear or responds in ways that they think they should.
For example, in an interview about crime the interviewer asks if the person has ever committed a crime and the socially desirable answer would obviously be 'no'.
• The interviewer may interpret the responses in a biased or subjective manner that might not reflect what the participant actually meant. The pre-conceived ideas or beliefs of the
Structured interviews - the wording of the questions, the order the questions are in, and the responses allowed are fixed and given to each participant in the same way.
Structured interviews enable researchers to gather data about the same issues from many participants and as questions are pre-determined and consistent, the reliability of the data is said to be high - i.e. the questionnaire is consistently measuring the same thing.
Semi-structured interviewing is the most widely used method of data collection in qualitative research in psychology, according to Willig (2001). One reason for this is that interview data from semi-structured interviews can be analysed using several theoretical approaches.
The semi-structured interview involves the preparation of an interview guide that lists themes that should be explored during the interview.
This guide serves as a checklist during the interview, and helps to ensure that the same information is obtained from all the participants in the study.
However, there is a great deal of flexibility in that the order of the questions and the actual wording of the questions are not determined in advance. Furthermore, the interview guide allows the interviewer to pursue questions on the list in more depth.
Strengths of the semi-structured interview
• On socially sensitive issues, it is better for acquiring data because the researcher can ask the interviewee to elaborate on his/her answers
• Less biased by the researchers preconceptions
• Has the flexibility of open ended approaches, as well as the advantages of a structural approach. It enables the researcher to make interventions, asking participants either to clarify or to expand on areas of interest
• Allows for analysis in a variety of ways because it is compatible with many methods of data analysis
• The interview guide sets out the themes to explore, but does not allow for pursuing themes that have not been prepared in advance
Limitations of the semi-structured interview
• The focus on individual processes - the one to one situation is somewhat artificial and this could bring issues such as ecological validity into question
• Data analysis can be very time consuming
Unstructured interviews - the topics covered in the interview may be pre-determined but the order and nature of the questions asked tend to follow the participant's lead, allowing the participant to guide the interview.
Unstructured interviews in particular can give rich, meaningful and descriptive detail about the participants' attitudes, beliefs, feelings and emotions and so, therefore, can be said to generate data that has high levels of validity.
Focus Group Interview
Focus groups were originally used within communication and marketing research.
It is a popular method to assess health education messages and to examine public understanding of health behaviours.
Focus groups are gaining popularity on psychology, especially within health psychology, where it has become an alternative to semi-structured interviewing - for example, in research on people's experiences of disease and health services.
Strengths of the focus group
• A quick and convenient way to collect data from several individuals simultaneously
• Provides a setting that is natural, so it can be argued that it has higher ecological validity than the one to one interview
• Particularly useful for exploring people's knowledge and experiences because it can be used to gain insight into what they think, how they think, and why they think that way. This includes the way people talk about the problem under investigation - for example, the words they use. It can also highlight cultural values or group norms.
Limitations of the focus group
• Not appropriate for all research questions. If the research deals with sensitive matters and the participants are supposed to talk about their personal experiences, it is not guaranteed that people will disclose information
• The presence of other participants may result in group dynamics such as conformity
• Evaluate participant, non-participant, naturalistic, overt and covert observations.
• Discuss considerations involved in setting up and carrying out an observation (for example, audience effect, Hawthorne effect, disclosure).
• Discuss how researchers analyse data obtained in observational research.
Observations of actions can be done using the following techniques:
• Time sampling - the action being performed at preset intervals is recorded, for example watching one child in the playground and recording every ten seconds whether he / she is behaving aggressively, non-aggressively or is not interacting with others.
• Event sampling - a checklist of behaviours is drawn up by the researcher and a tally is kept of the individual's performance of each of the actions on the list.
When participant observation occurs, the researcher becomes involved in the social experience of the participants and so therefore they may gain insights into the emotions or motivations felt by the participants, producing more detailed and meaningful data.
In participant observations, because the observer is part of the social experience of the participants, they may become too involved with the people they are studying which can lead to researcher bias and subjective interpretations of the data gathered rather than being objective.
Non-participant observations have different forms, including:
• Naturalistic observation
• Structured/controlled observation
Naturalistic observations involve observing participants in a natural setting, in a fairly unstructured way, and recording what is seen. They are particularly effective with the study of animal behaviour, or young children, if the observation can be carried out unobtrusively to avoid demand characteristics.
A controlled observation can occur in any environment, whether a laboratory or a more natural one, but involves an artificially constructed situation devised by the researcher in order to observe the behaviour under a given set of circumstances.
Because of the researcher's involvement in altering the environment, conclusions made about the behaviour of the participants may be less generalisable to a naturally occurring situation - example Bandura's research on aggressive modelling and children
Overt - their role as observer is obvious to the people being studied and the group are aware of being observed.
Covert - the role of observer is not known to the people being studied and so they are unaware of being watched. For example, a psychologist observing interactions in a classroom of psychology students and pretending to be a psychology lecturer.
In a covert observation demand characteristics are reduced because the people being observed are unaware of it and so therefore do not change their behaviour.
This means that the data gathered can be said to have increased validity (the study is measuring what it is supposed to measure) because the behaviour observed is how participants would naturally act in that setting.
Case Study Forms
• Evaluate the use of case studies in research.
• Explain how a case study could be used to
investigate a problem in an organization or group
(for example, a football team, a school, a family).
• Discuss the extent to which findings can be generalized from a single case study.
Strengths of case-studies:
• Because the information gained in case-studies is so subjective, the data can be said to have high levels of validity - the information reflects the individuals true beliefs/feelings etc.
• A great deal of insight into a person's behaviour can be gained from case-studies and evidence produced from one case-study is enough to challenge a theory.
Limitations of case-studies:
• Because the information gathered from case-studies is so subjective, it is hard to generalise that information to wider groups in society and so the research is often limited to the subject of the case-study only.
• Case-studies often rely on retrospective memory about a person's childhood / past experiences which can be inaccurate, calling into question the reliability of the data.
Illustrative Case Studies
These are primarily descriptive studies. They typically utilize one or two instances of an event to show what a situation is like. Illustrative case studies serve primarily to make the unfamiliar familiar and to give readers a common language about the topic in question.
Exploratory (or pilot) Case Studies
These are condensed case studies performed before implementing a large scale investigation. Their basic function is to help identify questions and select types of measurement prior to the main investigation. The primary pitfall of this type of study is that initial findings may seem convincing enough to be released prematurely as conclusions.
Cumulative Case Studies
These serve to aggregate information from several sites collected at different times. The idea behind these studies is the collection of past studies will allow for greater generalization without additional cost or time being expended on new, possibly repetitive studies.
Critical Instance Case Studies
These examine one or more sites for either the purpose of examining a situation of unique interest with little to no interest in generalizability, or to call into question or challenge a highly generalized or universal assertion. This method is useful for answering cause and effect questions.
Inductive Content Analysis
• Explain how researchers use inductive content analysis (thematic analysis) on interview transcripts.
-Reading and rereading of the transcripts - this helps the researcher become familiar with each participant's version/explanation
Take notes on initial observations such as key phrases, contradictions, language use, etc that could be useful for analysis
Note comments on left-hand margin of the text (suggestion)
-Identification of emergent themes that seem to jump out of the text; should capture some essential idea about what is being said or studied
-Notes on right-hand margin: "Raw Data Themes"
-Researcher may possibly use psychological terms to describe observations at this point
-Structuring emergent themes - after listing the emergent themes, the researcher may see if they relate to each other somehow (clusters, hierarchies, etc).
-Labels given to individual clusters
-Can be in vivo terms used by participants, quotes, or descriptive labels
-Make sure that labels make sense, because these clusters are important to repeatedly refer back to in order to make sure that the interpretation is supported by the data
-Summary table of the structured themes and relevant quotations that illustrate each theme
-Should only include themes/categories that capture the essentials of the participant's perspective; exclude other themes
-Includes data under an organizational scheme with "subordinate theme labels" important quotes, and detailed references to the location of relevant excerpts in the interview transcript
• Discuss ethical considerations in qualitative research.
Protecting individuals from psychological and physical harm
Anonymity and confidentiality must be maintained
• To what extent can findings be generalized from qualitative studies?
The word 'generalizability' is defined as the degree to which the findings can be generalized from the study sample to the entire population
usually aims to reflect diversity within a given population, rather than generalisability or representativness ( Kuzel, 1992)
Can the findings be applied to populations outside the study?
Can the findings be applied to a context/setting outside the setting of the study ?
Can lead to inferences and generation of concepts & ideas for further research. If patterns found here are also found in further research - this increases the generalisability of the data
• Explain the importance of credibility in qualitative research.
1. If we apply quantitative research measures ( internal validty, external validity, objectivity and reliability) to qualitative research then NO qualitative research IS NOT credible and valid
2. Criteria SHOULD NOT be the same. Criteria should be unique to qualitative research because it is a different research paradigm
Concept of truthworthiness may be more applicable. To achieve this research process must be transparent. It involves "leaving a decision trail so that the reader would be able to track and verify the research process".No specific/objective criteria to test "trusthworthiness".A study is trustworthy only if the reader judges it to be so...HOWEVER according to Guba & Lincoln (1989) peer reviews are the best way to check for trustworthiness.
• Explain the effect of triangulation on the credibility/trustworthiness of qualitative research.
Triangulation is an approach to research that uses a combination of more than one research strategy in a single investigation
-Method - use different research methods ( qualitative & quantitative
-Data - from other sources/ similar studies
-Researcher - compare data collection and interpretation with other researchers
-Theory - looking at data from different theoretical perspectives
Triangulation can add a new way of looking at the same data and it can add to credibility
A) there is no such thing as reliable and absolute truth so therefore it should not be a preoccupation amongst qualitative researchers
B) Its not possible to establish distinct criteria for credibility and trustworthiness as qualitative research is based on subjective interpretations of the world
• Explain reflexivity in qualitative research.
Important for researcher to be aware of his/her own contribution to the construction of meaning in the research process
This awareness of and reflection on is know as reflexivity
The researcher must reflect on how his/her background and beliefs may have influenced the research process
Researchers should provide details about issue that may potentially bias the investigation eg.political beliefs
There are two types of reflexivity;
1. Personal - own beliefs, values, experiences etc
2. Epistemological - the knowledge base;
How has the research question defined and limited what can be 'found?'
How has the design of the study and the method of analysis 'constructed' the data and the findings?
How could the research question have been investigated differently?
To what extent would this have given rise to a different understanding of the phenomenon under investigation?
Thus, epistemological reflexivity encourages us to reflect upon the assumptions (about the world, about knowledge) that we have made in the course of the research, and it helps us to think about the implications of such assumptions for the research and its findings."
• Explain effects of participant expectations and researcher bias in qualitative research.
1. Behaviour changes (hawthorne effect - esp in observations)
2. Behave as expected (demand characteristics)
3. Socially desirability bias ( esp in interviews) (present themselves in best light)
Research is an active process, particularly qualitative research. Researchers/experimenters have to engage and interpret data. But remember, reality is constructed, interpretation is subjective and we often we see only what we want to see. Our politics, values and beliefs can affect how we interpret information. This is true of qualitative research and raises issues credibility. A researcher's personal beliefs and values are reflected not only in the choice of methodology and interpretation of findings, but also in the choice of a research topic
A questionnaire or survey is known as a 'self-report' measure because participants provide information directly about themselves. Questionnaires consist of a set of written questions that use a range of different questioning techniques, such as the following:
• Closed questions - the question has a small number of fixed responses, usually 'yes' or 'no'. For example - do you like chocolate - yes or no? Closed questions produce empirical, quantitative data.
• Open questions - the question has no set responses so participants are allowed to give much more descriptive and meaningful answers. For example, 'what do you think of Big Brother?' Open questions produce subjective, qualitative data.
• Semantic differentials - opposing pairs of words are placed at each end of a line along which the participant places a mark. These are often used to measure emotional responses.
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