Methodology

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6. METHODOLOGY 6.1 Emphasis on Qualitative Research Methods The research described in this document is based solely on qualitative research methods. This permits (indeed requires) a flexible and iterative approach. During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This allows investigation of important new issues and questions as they arise, and allows the investigators to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan. 6.2 Sampling Unlike quantitative research which uses a random sample generalizable to a larger population, qualitative research uses a purposive sampling method. Purposive sampling involves selection of informants based on an important characteristic under study, such as where they live (rural or urban), position in society (for example, community leader or ordinary householder), or specific cultural knowledge (for example, caretakers of children, farmers, traditional healers). We select informants with the assistance of local leaders and other local persons. Unlike most quantitative studies, we interview informants repeatedly in order to explore issues in-depth. Before we began SC had already taken the first step; identifying the important subgroups or categories of people to be sampled. These were: (1) people who had remained on their traditional lands during most of the civil war; and (2) people who had fled their traditional lands to other communities or regions of Angola for extended periods, and who had only recently returned with the assistance of SC/Angola and others. Within their area of operations, SC/Angola selected six villages for the study: Three were composed of people from group 1 and the other three of people from group 2. All six communities belong to the same ethnic group (NGOIA-speaking) to minimize the influence of cultural differences. Descriptions of the study villages are presented in Section 7.2. 6.3 Types of Qualitative Methods Used Data gathering methods included key informant interviews, direct observations, illness narratives, and systematic data collection techniques (free listing and pile sorts). We used a variety of methods to achieve triangulation (confirmation of the same information by different methods or sources) to increase the validity of the results. A short description of each of the main methods used is presented below: Key informant interviewing proceeds much like a dialogue between informant and interviewer. Questions are open-ended and the interviewer makes an active effort at building rapport with the informant. The interviewer can use an interview guide (a general outline of the topics to be discussed), but does not need to follow it exactly. Usually, the interviewer explores relevant topics as the informant brings them up during the interview. In addition, the interviewer usually interviews the same informant several times to discuss certain issues in-depth.

Qualitative Study of Diarrhea Prevention & Management - Cuanza Sul, Angola

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Direct observation emphasizes observing and recording actual behavior, rather than reported or recalled behavior. Observations may focus on an individual (caretaker), a location (water collection site), or event (healing ceremony). The observer records as much behavior as possible, including actions, conversations, and descriptions of the locale and persons observed. An Illness narrative records actual events surrounding a case of an illness (in this study, childhood diarrhea). The interview focuses on the sequence of events such as when each symptom appeared and what decisions caretakers made in response. The interviewer refers to a list of topics as a guide but remains flexible as to the order of discussion of topics listed. Frequently, the initial interview is followed with another, to clarify and discuss decisions made during the illness. Free listing is a systematic data collection method where an informant is asked to list all the...
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