Qualitative Research Designs Day 4 The Curious Skeptics at work.

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  • Qualitative Research DesignsDay 4The Curious Skeptics at work

  • AgendaQuickly revisit literature reviewsRevisit variablesAnalyzing a Qualitative Research ArticleCharacteristics of qualitative researchSamplingInterviews/observationsData analysisTrustworthinessPractice in Analyzing!

  • Revisiting variablesIndependent & DependentIndependent variables act as the precursor in that they precede, influence, and predict the dependent variableDependent variables act as the outcome in that they change as a result of being influenced by an independent variable

  • Independent & DependentExamplesThe effect of two instructional approaches (independent variable) on student achievement (dependent variable)The use of SAT scores (independent variable) to predict freshman grade point averages (dependent variable)

  • Extraneous & ConfoundingExtraneous variables are those that affect the dependent variable but are not controlled adequately by the researcherNot controlling for the key-boarding skills of students in a study of computer-assisted instructionConfounding variables are those that vary systematically with the independent variable and exert influence of the dependent variableNot using counselors with similar levels of experience in a study comparing the effectiveness of two counseling approaches

  • Continuous & CategoricalContinuous variables are measured on a scale that theoretically can take on an infinite number of valuesTest scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100Attitude scales that range from very negative at 0 to very positive at 5Students ages

  • Continuous & CategoricalCategorical variables are measured and assigned to groups on the basis of specific characteristicsGender: male and femaleSocio-economic status: low, middle, and high

  • Continuous & CategoricalThought QuestionCan continuous variables be converted to categorical variables, or categorical variables be converted to continuous variables?IQ is a continuous variable, but the researcher can choose to group students into three levels based on IQ scores - low is below a score of 84, middle is between 85 and 115, and high is above 116

  • Schlosser ArticleGroup 1 up to MethodGroup 2 up to Procedures for Analyzing DataGroup 3 up to ResultsGroup 4 up to Discussion

    1) Indicate what is happening in paragraphs/ sections2) Identify terms3) Evaluate based on criteria at end of McMillan Ch. 11

  • Qualitative Research ProblemsWhen to use a Qualitative designTo understand a phenomenon about which little is known (exploratory)To gain a novel slant about a phenomenon we do know about (novelty)To obtain greater detail about phenomenon that are difficult to understand through solely quantitative methods (process)

  • Qualitative Research ProblemsCharacteristicsIncludes a single, central phenomenaOpen-endedGeneral in natureEmergent Neutral with respect to what will be learnedNo hypotheses, but still may have hunchesOpen to new informationNo expected outcomes

  • Sample Research QuestionHow do students at an alternative school for students at-risk of dropping out of school perceive their learning environment?What changes do teachers and counselors make when their school is placed on probation under the No Child Left Behind Law? What remains the same?

  • Qualitative Research ProblemsCriteria for evaluating qualitative research problemsShould not be too general or too specificShould be amenable to change as data is collected and analyzedShould not be biased with restrictive assumptions or desired findingsShould be written in how and what forms to focus on describing the phenomenaThe problem can include the participants and the siteKey Idea: Emergent

  • Interviews: Selecting ParticipantsUse of purposeful sampling strategies to select information rich participantsNot intended to be representative of larger population! (i.e., not random sampling). Contrast with most quantitative studies.Be clear about why selecting participants or state convenience sampling

  • Selecting ParticipantsPurposeful sampling strategiesMaximum variation - selecting individuals or cases to represent extremesVery positive or very negative attitudesHighest and lowest achieving studentsSnowball (i.e. network) - initially selected participants recommend others for involvement

  • Selecting ParticipantsPurposeful sampling strategiesSampling by case - selecting individuals or cases for their unique characteristicsExtremeTypicalReputationKey informant - selecting an individual(s) particularly knowledgeable about the setting and/or topicComprehensive - selecting all relevant individuals or cases

  • Interview ProtocolsRapportUnstructured in nature, yet have focusGeneral (grand tour) questions to specific questions based on participant responsesTape recording and transcribing interviews afford the opportunity to study the data carefully

  • ObservationsUnstructured in nature, yet have focusParticipant-observer role of the researcherContinuum between observer and participant

    Complete ObserverParticipantComplete ObserverParticipantObserverParticipantThis should be clear in the study!

  • Trustworthiness

    QualitativeQuantMeaningCredibilityInternal ValidityDegree of truth for individualsTransferabilityExternal ValidityDegree of application to other contextsDependabilityReliabilityReplicableConfirmabilityObjectivityFindings are product of inquiry

  • Data AnalysisSystematically examine, summarize, and synthesize the dataData collection and data analysis tightly coupled (constant comparative method)This should be explained thoroughly in the report!

  • Data AnalysisCodingOrganizing the data into reasonable, meaningful units that are coded with words or very short phrases that signify a categoryUse of major codes and sub-codes is commonTypesOpenSelectiveNegative case analysis/ deviant cases

  • Data AnalysisBecause the creation of codes is up to each researcher and is critical to the study, it is important to know something about how the codes were created (McMillan, 2004, p. 268).


  • Data AnalysisSummarizing the coded dataPattern seeking and synthesizingIdentify relationships Draws inferencesEnlarge, combine, subsume, and create new categories that make senseSeek data that does not fit

  • Lets do some Data Analysis!

  • Field NotesResearcher records observationsDescriptiveReflectiveTheoretical (TN) identify underlying issuesMethodological (MN) possible adjustments to research methodsPersonal (PN) personal interpretations of observationsAccuracy vital


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