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N205: Qualitative Research
Terms in this set (37)
Definition of Qualitative Research
'the investigation of phenomena, typically in an in-depth and holistic fashion, through the collection of rich narrative materials using a flexible research design'
Characteristics of Qualitative Research that Apply ACROSS Disciplines, and now recognized in Health Care:
1. Flexible, capable of adjusting to what is being learned during data collection;
2. Requires the researcher to become intensely involved over extended lengths of time;
3. Requires ongoing analysis of data to formulate subsequent strategies (data mainly in text form);
4. Tends to be holistic, striving for an understanding of the whole;
5. Typically involves a merging together of various data collection strategies; and
6. Study participants typically described as informants.
Qualitative Research Studies
Explore reported findings including perceptions, feelings, preferences, trends, and other phenomena that cannot be adequately measured by NUMBERS
Provide data to research questions that cannot possibly be measured by RCTs. This includes identifying themes, unexpected impacts, patient satisfaction, improvement in staff morale, etc.
Has been (Somewhat!) negatively viewed for many years as "non-valid research" but is rapidly evolving to be its own science with credibility and significant value for decision-making
Critical appraisal processes apply here as well.
Foundational Differences between quantitative and qualitative research
The major difference between qualitative and quantitative research stems from the researcher's underlying strategies and engagement.
Quantitative research is viewed as confirmatory and deductive in nature (confirming a theory or hypothesis with the data i.e. general to specific)
Qualitative research is considered to be exploratory and inductive- ( generalize, conceptual framework theory- from specific data)
Foundational Similarities between quantitative and qualitative research
All qualitative data can be measured and coded using quantitative methods.
Quantitative research can be generated from qualitative inquiries.
Example: Patient reported outcomes (PRO)
Tools that are used to gain insight from the patient's perspective into the perceived effects that the impact of the disease and treatments have on aspects of their health, their lifestyle and subsequently their quality of life.
Qualitative Research: Setting for Data Collection
"Informant-driven" rather than "theory-driven"
Investigator assumes ignorance of the culture or experience being studied
Informant teaches the investigator
Data is collected in the "field" - the natural world where people live and experience life
spend a prolonged time in the field
Some researchers used multiple methods-observation, interviews most common
Usually a large volume of data is collected during qualitative research process- FAT DATA.
Qualitative Research: Data collection Multiple methods
Participant Observation The researcher literally becomes part of the observation.
Example: One studying the homeless may decide to walk the streets of a given area in an attempt to gain perspective and possibly subjects for future study.
Qualitative Research: Data collection: Direct Observation
Direct observation is where the researcher observes the actual behaviors of the subjects, instead of relying on what the subjects say about themselves or others say about themselves.
Example: Observe behaviors of nurses and physicians regarding "speaking up"
Qualitative Research: Data collection: Interviews
Researcher questions a subject verbally: face-to-face, telephone, using open- or close-ended questions.
Content of an interview is based on the: literature review, research question, previous experience
Interviews are preferably pilot tested before doing the study to test reliability, validity and clarity of items (reword some items)
Qualitative Research: Unstructured or Intensive Interviewing
This method allows the researcher to ask open-ended questions during an interview.
Details are more important here than a specific interview procedure. Respondents use own words as much as possible.
Here lies the inductive framework through which theory can be generated.
Qualitative Research: Interview: + and -
Researcher able to observe for clues in non-verbal behavior as they answer questions
Better response rate than questionnaires, as subject does not have to write down answers
Access to vulnerable populations (children or people who are unable to complete questionnaires)
Allow for a richer and more complex data to be collected especially in the case of unstructured or semi-structured interviews
Researcher controls the order of questions for all participants (makes sure all questions asked). May add new question to future interviews as new information disclosed
Social desirability: people are known to answer questions in a way that makes a favorable impression
The researcher assumes the subject is telling the 'truth'. Not always the case
Interviewer must be trained to prevent interviewer bias (adding in own views)
Potential reaction to interviewer-will this affect my care? Did I pass?
Qualitative Research: Data Analysis
Researcher immerses self in data to bring order and meaning to vast narrative
Come to truly understand what the data are saying, similar data is clustered together
Cyclical process - data collection occurs simultaneously with data analysis
Analysis begins when data collection begins
Reading, rereading, intuiting, analyzing, synthesizing, and reporting on data
Requires extensive amount of time
Qualitative Research: Data Analysis: Process of fitting data together:
Comprehending- understanding what has been said
Synthesizing- organizing and summarizing information
Theorizing- placing information within context of a theoretical framework (grounded theory)
Re-contextualizing- interpreting information within context of environment where event or phenomenon occurred
Qualitative Research: Saturation
Refers to a situation in data analysis where participants' descriptions become repetitive and confirm previously collected data
An indication that data analysis is complete
When data analysis is complete, data collection is terminated.
"Once a preliminary conceptual framework was emerging from the data, a thorough review of the literature through the year 2000 was conducted to augment and help shape future theory development."
Qualitative Research: Researcher Role: Explicating Researcher's Beliefs
Researcher is immersed in the field of study so must acknowledge biases
Bracketing - setting aside one's biases and personal views on a topic
=Investigator keeps a diary of personal thoughts and feelings about the topic
Purpose: the researcher is made aware when interpretations of the data reflect personal beliefs rather than those of the participants
Qualitative Research: Literature Review
Completed (and sometimes not started) after the data have been collected and analyzed
Rationale: To avoid leading the participants in the direction of what has already been discovered
Purpose of literature review: = To show how current findings fit into what is already known
Qualitative Research: Ethical Issues in the Field
Research goals never override the rights, health, or well-being and care of informants
Protecting the anonymity of the informants (how done?)
Disclosing (or not) the purpose of the research
Researcher as instrument - "reflexivity" is the researcher's consciousness of biases, values, and experiences he/she brings to a study
Phenomenology: Human experience
Phenomenology is a school of thought that emphasizes a focus on people's subjective experiences and interpretations of the world.
Focus: reveal the meaning of the lived experience from the perspective of participants-those living the experience
Written or oral data
Importance: Study a new topic or adding fresh perspective to new topic
Examples: experience of men facing prostate surgery, experience of spouses of home dialysis patients in Saskatchewan
Grounded theory: social processes
Grounded theory focuses on 'social processes related to human interactions'.
Foundation of Grounded Theory- social science (sociology) and symbolic interaction
Developing a theory based on observations.
Inductive approach- process of reasoning from specific observations to more general rules
Used to construct theory where no theory exists, or when the existing theory fails to explain a set of circumstances.
Grounded Theory: Research Protocol
Researcher brings some knowledge of literature to study.
Researcher must not express his/her opinions or values to the informant.
Exhaustive literature search is purposefully not done in advance of the study starting.
Theories are expected to emerge directly from current research data and not from previous research and are therefore grounded in the data.
used in grounded theory where the researcher selects experiences that will help the researcher test ideas and gather complete information about developing the concepts.
Researchers knowledge of the population and its elements are used to select the sample and sampling is stopped with theory saturation or redundancy occurs.
GROUNDED THEORY: Data Gathering (natural setting)
Interviews (recorded, transcribed)
Skilled observations of individuals in setting/situation (recorded as field notes)
Open-ended questions used to identify concepts for further focus.
Semi-structured questions with probes.
Example: Have you ever been tested for HIV? (closed-ended question)
Example: Why did you decide to not/get tested? (open/probing)
Probe: Was this a difficult decision for you? Could you tell me about how the things you considered when making this decision.
GROUNDED THEORY Data Analysis
Data collection and analysis occur simultaneously.
Researchers serve as instruments for data interpretation.
Emerging patterns identified from transcripts and fieldnotes. Codes of themes. Nvivo™ computer software one example of a program used to manage data.
These themes/patterns further explored in interviews.
Themes also used as a form of data reduction.
Initial analysis called open coding.
Then data are compared with other data continuously as collected by process known as constant comparative method.
Propositions made about the relationships among and between categories/themes/codes.
Disciplinary root- cultural anthropology & sociology
Seeks to understand human behavior by studying it from the perspective of individuals within that culture. (learning cultural patterns)
Includes knowledge, beliefs and activities of group under study combining the EMIC perspective (insiders view) with the ETIC Perspective (researcher's view)
Researcher enters the world and attempts to make sense of it.
Ex: "How Northern Saskatchewan Families with Preschoolers Define and Practice Health" would tell us about cultural norms and knowledge and other contextual behaviors that would influence the health experience of a particular population in this specific setting-
ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH Structure of Study
Ethnographers make their own beliefs explicit and bracket (set aside) their personal biases as they seek to understand the worldview of others and to avoid leading the participant to issues that may be only important to the researcher.
Ex. Suppose that a nurse conducting research does not personally believe in homeopathic medicines curing disease- believes in traditional health care. Own beliefs will have to be carefully bracketed and recorded along with observations and reports from researcher's sample.
Sample Selection- cultural group that is living the phenomenon under study.
Data is collected from both key informants and general informants.
Key informants- individuals that possess special knowledge, status, or communication skills and are willing to teach ethnographer about the phenomenon.
Purposive Sampling- participants specifically selected because they are knowledgeable on the subject under study. Identified by the Researcher in advance from thoughtful inquiry.
Snowball Sampling- asking key informants to identify other key informants they know as friends, relatives, others who have information to share
Qualitative Studies: Case Studies
A particular case study may be the focus of any of the previously mentioned field strategies.
In depth description of dimensions and processes of a phenomena, close scrutiny and understanding.
The case study is important in qualitative research, especially in areas where exceptions are being studied.
Example: A patient may have a rare form of cancer that has a set of symptoms and potential treatments that have never before been researched.
Participatory Action Research
Working with people to improve the present
All forms of knowledge are of value and can be applied to practical problems.
Researcher identifies areas in which improvements in practice are needed, solutions are identified, actions taken to implement change in partnership with STAKEHOLDERS. "Look, think, act"
Evaluation is done to ensure that changes have the desired effect.
Application to health and wellness programs, program evaluation community programming.
Researcher acts as a consultant, investigators immerse themselves in the field for deep understanding and to build trust and credibility;
Sample is diverse perspectives backgrounds experiences.
Example in class today from Deb's work
Appraising qualitative research: Trustworthiness of Data
Do the results accurately portray participants' experiences?
Rigour- quality of study reflected in the believability of study findings.
Was the right approach used to answer the research question with the patient population?
Was data rich and did it show that a relationship existed between themes ?
Qualitative Research: Trustworthiness of Data
Sample (size, setting, recruitment strategy and informed consent obtained).
General numbers (may be more or less in each)
1. Grounded (20-30 subjects)
2. Ethnography (up to 50 subjects)
3. Phenomenological (10 or fewer subjects)
Data collection: interviews, participant observation, length of interviews.
Data analysis: how analysed? Coding procedure, categories and themes clearly described.
Methods of Evaluating Qualitative Research: Trustworthiness
Developing standards of quality
Lincoln and Guba's classic work shed light on how to assess truth in a qualitative report
Offered four alternate tests of quality that reflect the assumptions of the qualitative paradigm:
Qualitative Research: Credibility (internal validity)
Credibility Refers to confidence in the truth of the data and interpretations of that data
Description must be plausible and recognized by participants
Prolonged time in the field repeatedly observing and interacting with participants
Using different data sources, methods, data type
Conducting member checks = Involving other investigators in the study
Qualitative Research: Triangulation
"the expansion of research methods in a single study or multiple studies to enhance diversity, enrich understanding, and accomplish specific goals"
Purpose is to increase the credibility and validity of the results.
By combining multiple observers, theories, methods, and empirical materials, researchers hope to overcome the weakness or intrinsic biases and the problems that come from single method, single-observer and single-theory studies.
Qualitative Research: Triangulation: types
Data triangulation: using a variety of data sources in a study-different settings, different collection times, methods
Investigator triangulation: investigators or evaluators are from different backgrounds
Theory triangulation: different theoretical approaches to the interpretation of the data
Methodological triangulation: different methods used to study the data
Interdisciplinary triangulation: other disciplines increase the understanding of the phenomena
Refers to stability of data overtime and over conditions
Researcher has documented all phases of the research process
Leads reader through the: steps of designing the research question, collection of data, analysis, and interpretation stages
This is determined by an audit trail
Involves auditing research process, documenting all the raw data generated, and assessing method of data analysis
Would findings of an inquiry be similar if it were replicated with the same/similar participants and context?
Transferability refers to the generalizability of the study findings to other settings, populations, and contexts
Report must provide sufficient detail so that readers can assess this
Lack of transferability is viewed as a weakness of qualitative methods
Ask- Are the findings only applicable to individuals who are similar to those in study?
Do your experiences resonate what the findings are telling you?
Can lead to instrument development.
Do the results add to body of nursing knowledge?
Refers to the objectivity of the data- the potential for congruence between two or more researchers about data accuracy, relevance, or meaning
Findings must reflect views of informants and conditions of inquiry
Audit trail-recording of activities that another individual can follow (e.g. systematic collection of documents-data, coding, etc)
Qualitative Research: Summary: Advantages and Limitations
Focus on the whole of the human experience and the meanings ascribed to them by participants
They provide the researcher with deep insights that would not be possible using quantitative methods
The major strength of qualitative work is the validity of the data it produces
Participants true reality is likely to be reflected
Major limitation is its perceived lack of objectivity and generalizability
Researchers become the research tools and may lack objectivity
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