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Flashcards in Qualitative Lecture 1 Deck (24):

What are the Four basic principals of Research Design?

1: Ontology: Assumptions you make about the nature of the world and of reality

2: Epistemology: assumptions you make about the best way for investigating the world

3: Methodology: The way that you group together your research techniques to make a coherent picture.

4: Techniques: What you actually do in order to collect your data and carry out your investigations


What are the four Main Schools of Ontology and their assumptions about Reality?

1: Realism: The world is real and science proceeds by examining and observing it. There is a Single Truth. Facts exists and can be revealed through experiments.

2: Internal Realism: The World is real but almost impossible to examine it directly. Truth exists but it is obscure. Facts are concrete but cannot always be revealed.

3: Relativism: Scientific Laws are basically created by people to fit their view of reality. There are many "truths". Facts depend on the viewpoint of the observer.

4: Nominalism: Reality is entirely created by people and there is no external truth. Facts are all human creations.


What are the two schools of Epistemology?

Positivism and Social constructionism.


What is Positivism?

Investigate the world is through objective methods, such as observations – fits within a realist ontology.

Tends to be more focused on numbers. Quantative.

Positivism, the basis of the so-called ‘hard’ sciences = a method of epistemology – the importance of observable facts


What is Social Constructionism?

reality does not exist by itself.

– Reality is constructed and given meaning by people

– Focus is therefore on feelings, beliefs and thoughts, and how people communicate these

– Social constructionism fits better with a relativist ontology.

Fits more with a Relativist Approach. Collects Qualitative source of Data. More focused on language and words.


What are Quantitative Considerations?

Is my sample size big enough?
• Have I used the correct statistical test?

• Likelihood of making Type I/II errors?

• Are my results generalisable?

• Are my results & methods reproducible?

• Am I measuring things the right way?


What are the Limitations to Quantative Research?

Some things can’t be measured

• Doesn’t tell you why

• Can be impersonal –no engagement with human behaviours or individuals

• Data can be static –snapshots of a point in time

• Can tell a version of the truth –“Lies, damned lies and statistics”


What are the Features of Qualitative Research?

Language as the raw material. Emphasizes description and understanding. Qualia.

–Sources of data: interviews, conversations, field notes, policy statements, newspaper articles

• Focus on thoughts, feelings, or use of language in depth and detail

• Emphasise –description and understanding rather than explanation and prediction –meaning of experience/behaviour in context

• Inductive rather than deductive

Challenges the privileging of methods & procedures over research questions.


What are some problems to consider in Qualitative Research?

Some issues may arise, such as

–Response bias • saying what they think researcher wants to hear

–Or simply provide inaccurate or false information
–Researcher is usually closer to participants

• Ethical issues may be more prevalent
• Researcher objectivity may be more difficult to achieve • Researcher should engage in reflexive practice.


What should you make sure you do in Qualitative?

Have I coded my data correctly?
• Have I managed to capture the situation in a realistic manner?
• Have I described the context in sufficient detail?
• Have I managed to see the world through the eyes of my participants?
• Is my approach flexible and able to change?


What are some criticisms made towards Qualitative Research? Are they Fair?

– Subjective – Cannot be repeated – May not be generalisable – No definite answers.


– There are explicit and rigorous steps
– Involves much more work for the researcher due to the process of analysis and reanalysis
– Must actively address the issue of bias and make sure that the process identifies its potential influence


What are some types of Qualitative Research?

–Content analysis: What the Text can tell us about reality?
–Grounded analysis
–Discourse analysis How the Text creates Reality?
–Narrative analysis
–Conversation analysis


What are the 6 steps of Qualitative Research?

1. Literature review
2. Explicating researcher’s beliefs
3. Role of participants: subject or informant?
4. Selection of participants
5. Approach to data analysis
6. Saturation.


What is the role of the participant in Qualitative Research?

Participant or informant, not “subject”

–Viewed as active participants in the research
–They “inform” the researcher
• Researcher seeks to understand the participants’ knowledge
–Hence, requires learning about the participants’ beliefs through on-going discussion and involvement


What influences the selection of Participants?

Purposive sampling
–Participants must have first-hand experience with the research topic and be able to talk about it
• Researcher establishes clear criteria and rationale for sample selection
• Goal is not necessarily generalization of findings but rich descriptions of phenomenon by those who have experienced it.


When does Data Analysis begin?

Data analysis and Data collection are a cyclical process.

Cyclical process –data collection occurs simultaneously with data analysis
– Analysis begins when data collection begins
– Reading, rereading, intuiting, analyzing, synthesizing, and reporting on data
– Sometimes called theoretical sampling(collect data until saturation is reached)

You're looking for meaning as the data is gathered.

Data similar in meaning are clustered together into preliminary categories

• Requires an extensive amount of time


What is Saturation?

When 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


What do Qualtative Research questions do?

discover (for example, grounded theory)

explain or seek to understand (for example, ethnography)

explore a process (for example, case study)

describe the experiences (for example, phenomenology


What is Qualitative Research good for?

that delves in depth into complexities and processes

on little known phenomena or innovative systems

that seeks to explore where and why policy and local knowledge are at odds

on informal and unstructured linkages and processes in organisations

on real as opposed to stated organisational goals

that cannot be done experimentally for ethical or practical reasons

for which relevant variables have yet to be identified


What is the way to do Research? What is research guided by?

There is no unitary way of doing research
Research is guided by:

Purpose/goals of research
Beliefs about the world and what we can know (ontology) [positivism/ realism/relativism/social constructionism]
Beliefs about knowledge and how we can know things (epistemology)
Audience for research
Position/environment of researcher


What do Qualitative Researchers reject?

Reject positivism
Adopt relativist position of no fixed ‘reality’
Use relatively unstructured data collection methods
Concerned to capture individual’s perspective
Use highly detailed data analysis methods
Use richly descriptive deep data over ‘hard’ data
Take postmodernist perspective in general
Incorporate constraints of everyday life in studies
Believe reality is constructed socially/individually
‘Closer’ to participants, ‘insiders’
Concerned with interpretation not causal sequences
Largely reject hypothesis testing
Theory emerges form close analysis of the data
Approach, often idiographic, concentrates on the individual


What is Philosophy of Science concerned with?

Asks how most scientists actually work given the social and practical circumstances of their work.

concerned with the question of how we should carry out scientific research given our understanding of the nature of knowledge.

how most scientists actually work given the social and practical circumstances of their work.

Aim of science is knowledge generation.


What can Quantative Research can and cannot tell us about?

As scientists our first principle is not about generalisability but about how it works  Fixation on numbers in psychology means that we sometimes forget this.

Large) numbers & statistics
- can tell us about norms, predictions, group differences (e.g., between 2 normal distributions)
-cannot tell us about processes, experiences & about meaning in its social context, social reality

Quantitative research asks: how much? how many? how often? to what extent?


What are Social Representations

These are common sense theories of the world people use to talk about things like Women and the Environment.

Social Representations Theory aims to provide a more social understanding of peoples beliefs based on a social constructionist perspective.