2 Interviewing and sampling.docx

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Carleton University
Criminology and Criminal Justice
CRCJ 3002
Suzanne Cooper

Interviewing and sampling in qualitative research (Lecture 3) Sampling in qualitative research - Sample for meaning • Not about generalizability • We don't sample for numbers, we sample for meaning - Choose participants based on specific qualities - We approach sampling differently than quantitative research Different types of sampling - Theoretical (or purposeful) • Selection of participants based on needs of study:  Based on concepts that have relevance to evolving theory  Ex: concepts repeatedly present (or noticeably absent)  Ex: moderators • “.. enables the research to choose those avenues of sampling that can bring about the greatest theoretical return” (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 202) • Theoretical sampling is important because it allows you to choose the people who can tell you the most about your project/topic • In paper, mention HOW you selected your participants - Convenience sampling • Get people to participate because it is convenient • Usually used by new researchers • We will probably all be using convenience sampling • Problem: It is not a purposeful or strategic approach - Snowball sampling (nominated, network) • Can ask participants if they know someone who would be interested in talking about “problem X” • Good to get to population that is hard to reach • Problem: It is the participant nominating someone, so you don’t have as much control - Volunteer sampling • People from general public volunteering to be participants • Problem: Entire population is based on a volunteer - Total population sampling • Can only do this when the total population is very finite  Ex: women in the Joliet women’s prison. Manageable number • Problem: This type of sampling biases the research - In your paper, you will have to state what kinds of participants the people were Sample size - Appropriate sample size is one that adequately answers the research question - Rule of thumb: until reach theoretical saturation (usually occurs at around 5 to 10 interviews (at least for grounded theory)) - Theoretical saturation: you have your 5 interviews, if the same themes are coming out & you are getting the same information there is no real point in interviewing more people. Sampling and discourse analysis - Interest is language use rather than language users- units of analysis are text/parts of texts rather than participants What are qualitative interviews? - Similar to conversations in some ways: • Address a limited no. of topics • Smooth transitions from topic to topic • Partners indicate their understanding • Conversational repairs • Ask for clarification of ambiguities • Rephrase & re-ask misunderstood questions • Indicate when conversation is over - Different in some ways: • Interviewer guides discussion • Interviewer stimulates more in-depth answers • Arecord is kept • “Guided Conversations” (Rubin & Rubin) Various types of interviews - Life history/ autobiography - Learning about events/ activities - Yield a picture of a range of settings, situations or people Interview design - Flexible • You change the questions you ask as you go along:  Start with general questions and no assumptions, then focus questions on issues participants raise  Learn a better or alternative way of getting info  Learn about new issues  Tailor topics to the participants expertise  Keep process fresh  You can modify your research & questionnaires. You should be reporting to your group about asking questions & whether there was a bad question or the interviewee opened up something that you weren't going to explore. - Iterative • Gather broad information: pose general questions, don’t limit to your own assumptions • Analyzing, winnowing and testing: narrow and focus the topic • Sampling: people who are best able to answer your questions • Theoretical Saturation: no new themes/ no new concepts emerge with additional interviews - Continuous design • Change what you ask and who you ask as you learn Seven interview stages - Creating natural involvement - Encourage conversational competence • Don’t start off with really hard questions. Let them know that there is no right or wrong answer etc. Ex: could you tell me why you decided to participate in this study? - Showing cognitive and emotional understanding • Repeat what they say, makes it sound like you are listening.Attend to your body movement, facial expressions etc. Sometimes you can share your own experiences, but this is not a really good idea - Getting facts and basic descriptions • Talk about basic things (ex: where do you live, oh, you were a sex trade worker?) - Asking emotionally or intellectually hard questions • Pay attention to the participants' body language. If they look uncomfortable, try to rephrase the question etc. - Toning down the emotional level •
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