Qualitative research is a generic term for investigative methodologies described as ethnographic, naturalistic, anthropological, field, or participant observer research. It emphasizes the importance of looking at variables in the natural setting in which they are found. Interaction between variables is important.
Detailed data is gathered through open ended questions.
The interviewer is an integral part of the investigation (Jacob 1988). This differs from quantitative research which attempts to gather data by objective methods to provide information about relations, comparisons, and predictions and attempts to remove the investigator from the investigation (Smith 1983). Characteristics
Purpose: Understanding - Seeks to understand people’s interpretations. Reality: Dynamic - Reality changes with changes in people’s perceptions. Viewpoint: Insider - Reality is what people perceive it to be. Values: Value bound - Values will have an impact and should be understood and taken into account when conducting and reporting research. Focus: Holistic - A total or complete picture is sought.
Orientation: Discovery - Theories and hypotheses are evolved from data as collected. Data: Subjective - Data are perceptions of the people in the environment. Instrumentation: Human - The human person is the primary collection instrument. Conditions: Naturalistic - Investigations are conducted under natural conditions. Results: Valid - The focus is on design and procedures to gain "real," "rich," and "deep" data.
Produces more in-depth, comprehensive information.
Uses subjective information and participant observation to describe the context, or natural setting, of the variables under consideration, as well as the interactions of the different variables in the context. •
It seeks a wide understanding of the entire situation.
The very subjectivity of the inquiry leads to difficulties in establishing the reliability and validity of the approaches and information. •
It is very difficult to prevent or detect researcher induced bias. •
Its scope is limited due to the in-depth, comprehensive data gathering approaches required.
When conducting qualitative research, the investigator seeks to gain a total or complete picture. •
A holistic description of events, procedures, and philosophies occurring in natural settings is often needed to make accurate situational decisions (Stainback and Stainback 1988). •
This differs from quantitative research in which selected, pre-defined variables are studied.
The purpose of corroboration is not to confirm whether people’s perceptions are accurate or true reflections of a situation but rather to ensure that the research findings accurately reflect people’s perceptions, whatever they may be. •
The purpose of corroboration is to help researchers increase their understanding of the probability that their findings will be seen as credible or worthy of consideration by others (Stainback & Stainback 1988).
One process involved in corroboration is triangulation. •
Denzin (1978) has identified several types of triangulation. 1.
One type involves the convergence of multiple data sources. 2.
Another type is methodological triangulation, which involves the convergence of data from multiple data collection sources. 3.
A third triangulation procedure is investigator triangulation, in which multiple researchers are involved in an investigation. •
Related to investigator triangulation is researcher-participant corroboration, which has also been referred to as cross-examination. •
Other procedures can be used to improve understanding and/or the credibility of a study. o
research or inquiry audit
seeking of negative cases in the field that might disconfirm interpretations
Systematically seeks out and organizes data concerning what is being studied based...
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