Qualitative Research

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Reflexivity
The researcher reflects on their own background and beliefs, and how these could play a role in the research process
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Natural sciences- correspondence theory of truth
The truth or falsity of knowledge is determined by whether or not it accurately describes the world. Match between observations of the natural world and an independent reality.
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Social sciences- coherence theory of truth
The truth or falsity of knowledge is not absolute but consensual. The truth is determined by whether it can be supported by observations or statements.
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Natural sciences- deductive processes
Hypothesis testing where the evidence is used to support a conclusion. Focus on cause and effect relationships, generaliztion and prediction.
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Social sciences- inductive processes
Collected evidence is used to reach a conclusion. The focus is on understanding the complexity of social processes.
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"Science" definition
A systematic, rigorous, empirical task that must be carried out properly to produce trustworthy and reliable knowledge
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Reliability definition
Do the research methods and techniques used produce accurate data?
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Validity definition
Does the research explain what it intended to?
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Ritchie and Lewis (2003)- interpretive approach
The social world does not exist independently of individual subjective understanding. Researchers can only understand it through the participants interpretations.
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Rolfe (2006)
There is no unified qualitative paradigm.
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Goal of qualitative research
To get a picture of a diverse and multifaceted external reality.
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Researchers should strive to be...
Objective and neutral as possible in the collection, interpretation and presentation of data.
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Form of data in quantitative research
Numbers
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Data analysis in quantitative research
Standard formats eg statistical tests
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Generalization in quantitative research
Beyond the used sample
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Data collection in qualitative research
Direct participation with participants eg interviews
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Form of data in qualitative research
Text/Words, open ended and flexible, rich, descriptive
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Aim of qualitative research 2
Provide rich data that investigates complex and sensitive issues so phenomena can be explained and problems overcome
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Settings in qualitative research
Naturally occurring settings so increased ecological validity
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Qualitative research - Strength #1
Provides rich data
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Qualitative research - Strength #2
Useful for investigating complex or sensitive social issues
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Qualitative research - Strength #3
Explains phenomena
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Qualitative research - Strength #4
Identifies and evaluates factors that contribute to problem solving
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Qualitative research - Strength #5
Generates new theories and ideas to explain and overcome problems
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Qualitative research - Strength #6
Takes place in naturally occurring settings, increased ecological validity
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Qualitative Research- Limitation #1
Time consuming and creates lots of data to sift through
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Qualitative Research- Limitation #2
Data analysis is difficult- lots of data and no clear strategy for analysis
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Qualitative Research- Limitation #3
Interpretation of data is subjective, but reflexivity can minimize this
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Generalizing- definition
The results are relevant outside the context of the study itself
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Representational generalization
Findings can be applied to populations outside of the study
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Hammersley (1992)
If further evidence confirms findings, generalization may be possible
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Inferential generalization
Findings can be applied to settings outside the setting of the study- also known as "transferability" / "external validity"
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Theoretical generalization
Theoretical concepts derived from the study can be used to develop further theory and contribute to wider social theory
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Covert observation- ethical consideration
Participants have not signed informed consent and do not have the right to withdraw from research because they don't know they are being studied
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Informed consent
Participation is voluntary, they know who funds and conducts the study, how data will be used, what research expects from participants
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Way researcher can protect participant from harm #1
Approaching sensitive issues through clear, direct questions
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Way researcher can protect participant from harm #2
If participant shows signs of discomfort, consider stopping the interview
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Way researcher can protect participant from harm #3
Return to less sensitive questions/topics toward the end of interview
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Way researcher can protect participant from harm #4
Provide information on where advice and counsel can be found
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Confidentiality definition
Research data will not be available to persons outside the research team
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Way researcher can ensure confidentiality #1
Change participants names in the report
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Way researcher can ensure confidentiality #2
Destroy videotaped interviews/observations after anonymous transcripts have been made
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Way researcher can ensure confidentiality #3
Archived data can only be kept with written informed consent from the participant
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Purpose of sampling in quantitative research
Generate samples that are representative through random selection of participants
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Purpose of sampling in qualitative research
Select participants who are particularly informative about the research topics under investigation
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Purposive sampling
Paricipants are chosen on the basis of particular characteristics that will help the researcher explore the research topic
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Purposive sampling criteria #1
Socioeconomic status
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Purposive sampling criteria #2
Specific experiences
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Purposive sampling criteria #3
Occupation
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Purposive sampling criteria #4
Social roles
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Purposive sampling strength #1
Useful when the researcher needs to obtain a sample quickly to investigate an urgent or topical problem
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Purposive sampling strength #2
Participants represent the research topic
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Purposive sampling strength #3
Easy
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Purposive sampling limitation #1
Sample may be biased
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Purposive sampling limitation #2
Difficult to generalize
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Snowball sampling
The researcher asks participants in the study if they know other potential participants to locate hidden populations
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Snowball sampling strength #1
Cost efficent
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Snowball sampling strength #2
Easy
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Snowball sampling strength #3
Useful in sensitive research where participants aren't easily accesible
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Snowball sampling limitation #1
Biased: participants know each other so they are likely to have similar attitudes and experiences
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Snowball sampling limitation #2
Ethical issues of confidentiality and anonymity
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Convenience sampling
Selects a particular group of people who happen to be available
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Convenience sampling strength #1
Easy
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Convenience sampling strength #2
Cost efficent
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Convenience sampling strength #3
Quick
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Convenience sampling limitation #1
Biased
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Convenience sampling limitation #2
Produces research with low credibility and poor information
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Participant expectations- definition
Partcipants' ideas of the research and the researcher which can affect the trustworthiness of the data
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Researcher bias- definition
The researcher not paying enough attention to the participants, so the researcher's own beliefs determine the data and conclusions drawn
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Credibility- definition
The research should present a true picture of the phenomenon under investigation and it should be possible to check how the results of the study were obtained
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Internal validity- Quantitative research
Conclusions made are a correct interpretation and variables were accurately and appropriately manipulated and measured in a representational sample
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Lincoln and Guba (1985)
Credibility is based on an evaluation of whether or not research findings represent a credible interpretation of data drawn from participants original data
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Factors reported in reflexivity
Researcher's training, experience, status and particular interests
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Sandelowski (1993)
Issues of validity in quantitative studies shouldn't be linked to truth or value, but trustworthiness, obtained if the researcher makes their reflections & decisions transparent in order to be scrutinized
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Sandelowski (1986)
"Leaving a decision trail"
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Rolfe (2006)
Credibility corresponds roughly to internal validity. Credibility is linked to trustworthiness- when the findings reflect the meanings the participants describe
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Guba and Lincoln (1989)
Peer reviews are the most critical technique for establishing credibility
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Rolfe (2006) #2
There are no objective criteria for trustworthiness. A study is only trustworthy if the reader of the research report judges it to be.
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Triangulation- definition
Use of alternative methods of data collection, analysis and use of other researchers
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Cross checking facts
In the participants accounts and descriptions
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Leaving a decision trail
Documenting decisions made
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Effect of triangulation
Increase the credibility of conclusions in a qualitative study. Ensures the conclusion gives a true picture of the phenomenon under investigation.
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Method triangulation
Comparing data that come from use of different methods
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Data triangulation
Comparing data gathered from other participants or sources
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Researcher triangulation
Comparing data and checking data interpretation using several observers, researchers or interviewers
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Theory triangulation
Looking at the data from different theoretical perspectives
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Method triangulation- effect
Ensures consistency in accounts given by participants or reveals discrepancies
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Data triangulation- effect
Ensures data obtained is not just due to participants particular experiences, personality etc. Opens up potential for generalization.
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Researcher triangulation- effect
Ensures the same conclusions are drawn from people with different backgrounds, so data is obvious and not just interpreted due to researcher bias
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Theory triangulation- effect
Could reveal different interpretations of data or ways of solving problems
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Personal reflexivity
Reflecting on the ways in which factors such as reserachers values, experiences, interests and political orientation can influence research. Also involves thinking about how the research has affected them personally and profesionally
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Epistemological reflexivity
Thinking about ways in which knowledge has been generated in the study eg if research question was limiting, if design of study and method od data analysis could bias results, if different approach could bring different understanding.
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Epistemological reflexivity #2
Encourages the researcher to think about assumptions that underpin the research process
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The truth or falsity of knowledge is determined by whether or not it accurately describes the world. Match between observations of the natural world and an independent reality.

Back

Natural sciences- correspondence theory of truth

Card 3

Front

The truth or falsity of knowledge is not absolute but consensual. The truth is determined by whether it can be supported by observations or statements.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Hypothesis testing where the evidence is used to support a conclusion. Focus on cause and effect relationships, generaliztion and prediction.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Collected evidence is used to reach a conclusion. The focus is on understanding the complexity of social processes.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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