Theory and practice in qualitative research- Paper 3 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Theory and practice in qualitative research- Paper 3 Deck (19):


 What are the characteristics of on deductive research methods?

  •    It is an approach to research based on evaluating theories by testing hypothesis 
  • More able to make generalisations Evidence is supported by a conclusion 
  • Paradigm/Theory ► predictions ► observation/experiment  



 What are the characteristics of on inductive research methods?

  • ​  An approach to research based on exploring/observing data and developing theory from the outcomes 
  • The focus is on understanding social process. Evidence is used to reach/suggest a conclusion. 
  • Observation/experiment ► Generalizations ► Paradigm/Theory



What is phenomenology?

 It is an approach to psychology that belives, in order to catch and understand the meaning of psychological subject matter, we need to look at it through the eyes of the people actively involved. This approach attempts to understand the unique way in which individuals experience social events. 



 What is the difference between an idiographic and a nomothetic approach

 Idiographic approach

Research is concerned with exploring uniqueness – what makes a person distinctively individual. There are different approaches to explore a particular type of experience

Nomothetic approach

Research is concerned with identifying general laws about human behaviour. Where predictions are made, people are sampled, and statistical methods are used.



 What are the characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative data?


  • Qualitative research is based on the assumption that “the truth” is somehow lodged in the data and that the researcher and peers can arrive at the same conclusions.
  • Qualitative data is usually contextual, textual, and narrative. It is difficult to express in numerical terms, and is rich in detail and description. 
  • Basis of knowing: meaning and discovery The data is open for interpritation – subjective
  • It wishes to gain an individual interpretation of an event, not make generalisations  
  • It uses an idiographic approach


  •  This data is numerical and is used for descriptive statistics 
  • Basis of knowing: cause and effect 
  • The data is not open for interpritation–objective 
  • It wishes to make generalisations from the sample to the population 
  • Nomothetic approach



 What are some examples of qualitative and quantitative research methods?


  •  Observations 
  • Case studies 
  • Content analysis 
  • Interviews


  •  Experiments 
  • Correlation studies



What are the strengths and limitations of the qualitative research method


  • Provides rich data, in-depth descriptions of individual experiences based on concepts, meanings and explanations – more holistic approach to understanding the individual’s/group’s behaviour
  • It can investigate complex and sensitive issues that can be impossible with quantitative methods, e.g. violent relationships, illness.
  • Explains phenomenon – goes beyond mere observation – for example, WHY people believe in UFOs
  • Identify and evaluate factors contributing to solving a problem.
  • It can allow us to explore new areas of research
  • Generates new ideas and theories
  • To generate new theories to explain and overcome problems - grounded theory
  • Studied in their own environment - validity


  • Very time-consuming and generates a huge amount of data
  • Data analys is difficult – no clear strategy for analysis
  • Interpretation of data may be subjective, might lead to researcher bias (Reflexivity should help)
  • Replication is difficult to replicate
  • Labor intensive, expensive, time consuming, general large amounts of data

  • Look at the specific, not the general – limits scope and generalizability




Define generalization and the different types

•     Many qualitative researchers have a constructivist view;  All phenomena are time and context specific (it is therefore not generalisable to other times and contexts)

•     Qualitative research is often for a specific context or case (does not aim to generalize – idiographic approach, e.g. intrinsic case studies), therefore findings must be generalized with caution

Definition: generalising findings from a study means that the results are relevant outside the context of the study itself

Representational – findings can be applied to populations outside the study.

Inferential – settings outside the setting of the study. Transferability or external validity

Theoretical – theoretical concepts derived from the study can be used to develop further theory


Describe the three main sampling techniques used in qualitative research   

Purposive – Chosen because of particular characteristics that will help the researcher explore the research topic. 

Snowball – Where participants in the study are asked if they know other potential participants. Can be used to locate hidden populations

Convenience/Opportunity – a particular group of people who happen to be available. 



What is a grounded theory

An approach to build a theory from information contained in qualitative data. It does not impose external assumptions or ideas.



What are participant expectations?

If the participant knows or guesses the aim of the research, the participant may alter their behavior to please the researcher or act in the opposite way that the researcher wants.



What is researcher bias?

In a qualitative research such as observations, or interviews, researchers may misinterpret behavior, data or responses which may cause researcher bias. The researcher’s own beliefs may determine the research process.



Define reflexivity 

Reflexivity:  An evaluation or documentation of the researcher on the impact on the collection and analysis of data from beliefs, attitudes, values and reactions to the object of the study. The researcher must be aware of his or her own contribution to the construction of meaning in the research process. Reflexivity is believed to increase credibility.




What are the two kinds of reflexivity?

Personal reflexivity: To reflect on how researcher’s bias, values, beliefs and experiences may have influenced the research.

Epistemological reflexivity: Thinking about the ways knowledge was generated (research methods that was used)



What is triangulation, and why is it used?


  • An approach to research that uses a combination of more than one research strategy in a single investigation.
  • a cross-checking of information and conclusions in research through the use of multiple procedures. 
  • It is used in order to increase credibility/trustworthiness.
  • Credibility can be supported as a general outcome of triangulation if separate methods, theories, different ways of collecting data or interpreting it by using more than one research result in fairly close agreement.




Describe the different kinds of triangulation

Method triangulation: Comparing data that comes from the use of different methods. This could involve qualitative and quantitative methods. This creates within-method – reliability and between-method – validity

Data triangulation: Comparing data that come from data gathered by other participants or other sources, for example collected by different qualitative methods (e.g. observations and interviews).

  • involves conducting research at different:- Time, cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, accounts for social change at one point in time or over time.
  • Space, parochialism (concerned with own local affairs and interests) and ethonocentrism (cultural).
  • Combined levels, the individual, the group, the collective. Studies combining different levels increaseing VALIDITY.

Researcher triangulation: Involves the use of several observers, interviewers or researchers to compare and check data collection and interpretation. This increases inter-rater reliability in research.

Theory triangulation: Involves looking at the data using different theoretical perspectives. Tests competing theories, gives confidence when drawing conclusions.


Multiple triangulation: involves a combination of these four basic types.



What are the strengths and limitations of triangulation?


  • By using multiple methods you can present a more complete interpretation of findings. Holistic view of the phenomenon
  •  If different methods result in similar findings you can claim higher validity of the findings.
  • Adds breadth, complexity, richness and depth to any enquiry.
  • It overcomes method-boundedness (relying on your favourite method)
  • Reduces the likelihood of bias from the researcher/s.
  • Can be used to check if the findings are trustworthy.
  • Can provide a new way of looking at the same data, and add to credibility if it confirms the conclusions.
  • Increase confidence that the research represents the meaning presented by the participant. 

  • Safety in controversial studies


  • Different methods and theories can not be merged and do not give rise to a single truth. (Silverman 2006)
  • The inaccuracy of one approach to the data can rarely complement the accuracies of another. (Fielding&Fielding)
  • Comparison between different method is difficult 
  • Could be too simplistic and/or confusing with many methods/theories/researchers/data.
  • Some qualitative researchers claim that it isn’t possible to create a criteria for trustworthiness and credibility, because qualitative research is based on subjective interpretations of the world. 



What is credibility and trustworthiness?

Credibility: This corresponds roughly to the concept of internal validity that is used in quantitative research. It is a measore of whether the research reflects the meanings as they are described by the participants. Checking whether other studies have come up with the same result or if a researcher uses multiple methods to gather data, could result in more credible research. Peer reviews, also enhance credibility.  

Trustworthiness: This corresponds roughly to the concept of reliability that is used in quantitative research. It is a measure of the believability of the research, after taking context and potential sources of bias into consideration. If a reasercher makes their reasons for conducting a study transperent, and open to scrutiny, then it can be considerd trustworthy.



What are some ethical considerations in qualitative research?

They are the same as those in quantitative research. However, qualitative research often has long-term, close personal contact with the participants, or issues with anonymity etc.

Informed Consent:

  • Participants are formally asked to indicate their agreement to participate. Participants should be informed about the purpose of the research and their rights.
  • In cases where it would be impossible to study a phenomenon with informed concent (e.g. gang fights), ethics committees may make an exception to the rule since the goal is to investigate a way to prevent violence.

Protecting participants from harm: 

  • In interviews,  many studies may touch on sensitive issues (abuse, alcoholism), and participants may disclose certain information and then feel upset and regretful once the researcher has left. This should be avoided by stopping an interview if the participant is uncomfertable,  and offering information about where to get help if it is needed. 
  • The participant should also be fully aware of any sensitive topics that will be brought up during an interview.

Anonimity and confidentiality

  • In cases where sampeling has made it so that a third party is aware of the participants identity (e.g. focuse group) the participant should be made aware of this and asked to give concent. 
  • In order to protect confidentiality, the researcher may need to change or ommit small details in the transcripts (name, number).
  • If participents were video or audio recorder, these recordings should be destroyed after transcription. If the interviewer doesn't want to do this they should gain the participant's concent.