Why Qualitative Research?


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This presentation deals with why qualitative research is important to science.


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Why Qualitative Research? : 

Why Qualitative Research? By Dr. Deryck D. Pattron, Ph.D.

What is research? : 

What is research? Inquiry process Clearly defined parameters Involves discovery and creation of knowledge Theory testing, building, revision, confirmation, refutation of knowledge and theory Investigation of a problem for local decision making

What is qualitative research? : 

What is qualitative research? Process of enquiry Describes occurrences as a means of determining the process Uses induction to derive possible explanations on observed phenomena

Goal of qualitative research : 

Goal of qualitative research To understand those being studied from their perspective, from their point of view

Qualitative mode of enquiry : 

Qualitative mode of enquiry Assumption -Social construction of reality -Primacy of subject matter -Complexity of variables -Difficulty of measuring variables Purpose -Contextualization -Interpretation -Understanding participant perspectives Approach -Theory generating -Emergence and portrayal -Researcher as instrument -Naturalistic -Inductive -Pattern seeking -Looking for pluralism and complexity -Descriptive Research role -Personal involvement and partiality -Empathetic understanding

Quantitative role of research : 

Quantitative role of research Assumptions -Objective reality of social issues -Primacy of method -Possible to identify variables -Possible to measure variables Purpose -Generalization -Prediction -Causal explanation Approach -Hypothesis based -Manipulation and control -Uses formal instruments -Experimentation -Deductive -Component analysis -Seeking norms and consensus -Reducing data to numerical indices Researcher role -Detachment and impartiality -Objective portrayal

Criteria for evaluating research : 

Criteria for evaluating research What are the conclusions of the research? Does the study answer the question posed? Is the methodology adequate for the research problem under investigation? Have the assumptions been identified, and are they reasonable and acceptable? Are the instruments or indexes used by the investigator adequate reflections of the conceptual variable of the study? If a test or experiment was conducted as a part of the research, are the results suffciently conclusive so that the hypothesis can be accepted as tentative, theoretical knowledge or put to practical use? Can conclusions of the study be generalized to a larger population. Are the conclusions linked to other assertions so that findings can be incorporated into existing theory? What are the hypothesis or research question? Was the hypothesis of social or theoretical significance and was the problem stated so that it can be solved? What were the independent and dependent variables of the research? Did investigators appear to be aware of any intervening variables and, if so how did the researchers account for them? What are the theoretical implications of the research? Did he researcher appear to be aware of them? Were graphic or tabular formats appropriately used to display pertinent data? If sampling procedures were used, were they adequately explained in the research report? If the investigator claimed to have selected a random sample, was it actually chosen so that each member of the population had an equal chance of being selected? Was the methodology explained in an understandable manner so that it can be easily replicated? What techniques (statistical or other) were used to analyse quantitative or qualitative data? Were these techniques appropriate for the investigation? Did the investigator conduct a literature search prior to the project’s initiation? If so, was the study then related to past, similar investigations? Did the investigator make recommendations future study? Was the research report written in factual, straightforward, honest and lucid manner and was it free of incorrect grammar, spelling errors and emotionally laden words and phrases.

Questions to ask of qualitative research studies : 

Questions to ask of qualitative research studies Abstract Is the information about the major aspects of the method noted-its purpose, subject (s), method, findings and conclusions? Is the abstract brief and clearly written? Introduction Is the purpose of the research explained and its importance noted? Is this a purpose that can be studies in an unbiased way? Are there any assumptions or limitations noted? Has the relevant previous work in the area been drawn upon, and related to the present study? Methodology Is the use of a qualitative approach discussed and justified? If not, should it have been? Are the researchers’ own assumptions and biases presented? How have the researchers attempted to prevent their presence from affecting the data they collected? Is there a clearly expressed research question of focus to the study? Are the subjects or groups or data sources involved clearly described and are they appropriate for a study of this nature? Is the context of the study sufficiently well described that its relevance to other situations can be assessed? Is the way the research was carried out clearly described? Are samples of the forms used or questions asked or coding decisions taken included, perhaps appendices? Do you think you are another researcher could replicate the research, and if you did would you expect to reach similar conclusions? Are there data presented drawn from different perspectives or obtained from different techniques? This might include data from interviews and documents and from researcher observations. Findings How have the researchers organized and presented their data? Are the processes used for identifying patterns and key ideas clearly described, and do these appear likely to have arisen from the data themselves?

Questions to ask of qualitative research studies cont’d : 

Questions to ask of qualitative research studies cont’d Findings Are examples of the data obtained included? These might include extracts from interview transcripts or excerpts from documents, or summaries of group discussions. Do these appear to have been selected to show the full range of opinions or perspectives and do they include at least some unexpected or contradictory elements? If the study involved active participants, has any effort been made to have them check the accuracy of the findings as reported? This might involve members of the organization reading draft chapters or reports or reporting back to an organization in some formal way.

Questions to ask of qualitative research studies cont’d : 

Questions to ask of qualitative research studies cont’d Discussion and conclusion Do the discussion and conclusions directly related to the research questions or research focus of the study? Do the discussion and conclusion accurately reflect the data gathered and presented in the preceding sections? Is there any attempt to generalize to the wider environment without taking into account the particular circumstances of the context of the study? Are there interesting or unexpected findings discussed? Is there any attempt to add to our theoretical understanding of the topic? Is there any attempt to add to our practical understanding of the topic? Are any recommendations made clearly based upon the findings, and do they seem reasonable?

The linear research process : 

The linear research process Problem ↓ Literature reviewed ↓ Hypothesis formulated ↓ Research design ↓ Data collected ↓ Date analyzed ↓ Findings reported

4 Methods of qualitative investigation : 

4 Methods of qualitative investigation Observation -Systematic recording of observable phenomena in a natural setting Interviewing -Allows collection of data on carefully controlled topics Group discussion -Offer group perspectives on a research problem Historical study -Relies on documentary evidence plus first-hand observation

References : 

References www.atlasti.com www.qualistresearch.com www.scolar.co.uk Bradley JR. Methodological issues and practices in qualitative research. Library quarterly, 63 (4), 1993, pp 431-449. Burgess RG. In the field: an introduction to field research, Contemporary social research, 8, London: Routledge, 1991. Rossman GB, Rallis SF. Learning in the field: an introduction to qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998. Stern PC, Kalof L. Evaluating social science research, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Strauss A, Corbin J. Basic of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory, 2nd ed. Londond: Sage, 1998. Tellis, W. Introduction to case study, qualitative Report, 3 (2), 1997. www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR3-2/tellis1.html. Gorman GE, Clayton P. Qualitative Research for the Information Professional: A . Practical Handbook, 2nd ed. London: Facet Publishing, 2005.

Thank You : 

Thank You Dr. Deryck D. Pattron, Ph.D Public Health Scientist & Consultant 66 J Endeavour Extension Road Chaguanas, Trinidad, West Indies THE END

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