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W1 - January 13 - Qualitative Research Methods.doc

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PSYC 3100
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January 13, 2014 [W1] Exercise 2: Observe an animal for 15 minutes What is Qualitative Research? Qualitative research is multimethod in focus, involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings that people bring to them. Qualitative research involves the studied use of an collection of a variety of empirical materials – case study, personal experience, introspective, life story, interview, observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts – that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individuals’ lives. Accordingly, qualitative researchers deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand. Qualitative Research Questions and Research Methods Question Strategy Methods Other Data Behavioural Observations Observation Interview PP observation Field notes Photos, Videos Descriptive Ethnography Unstructured Documents interviews Records PP oberservation Photos Field notes Thematic analysis Semi-structured interviews Meaning/ Phenomenology Taped Experience ‘conversations’ Written anecdotes of personal experiences Process Grounded theory Semi-structured Observation (Involve time) interviews Memoing Diaries Discourse Analyses – looks at the implications of how people talk and understand things because it affects our understanding Grounded Theory – a research strategy with various methods but the name is what you get out of it (a very popular method) Qualitative researchers are really interested in the meaning of things for people e.g. how a God-fearing individual would look at a gay man with AIDS vs. how a left-wing liberal looks at a gay man with AIDS - Meanings do more than simply package things, they are valued and used to justify things – they are very powerful - Meaning is socially constructed o We make meanings, it is not inherent to the objects. We make sense of things that is not intrinsic to the thing we are trying to make sense of. Making meanings, is a social phenomenon that involves stereotypes and norms. Qualitative research is general seen as an inductive method of research – we go from the bottom up. We start with specific cases and move towards a broader theory, aka. concrete to conceptual understanding In quantitative research uses ‘multiple methods’ which leads to ‘triangulation’ of method or measurement. We want to ensure that both methods lead to the same result – leading to a much higher internal validity that the conceptual IV is responsible for the observed changes on the DV. In qualitative research, we ‘triangulate’ in order to increase the breadth and depth of our understanding, by using multiple methods. Could do this by having multiple people analyzing the data because, different views on the data can develop a richer understanding of what is going on. - Each interview that we do is going to have a different style that will draw out different information o There are multiple views of reality Philosophies of Science Paradigm - a set of basic beliefs (or metaanalyses) that deals with ultimate or first principles. It represents a worldview that defines, for its holder, the nature of the “world,” the individual’s place in it, and the range of possible relationships to that world and its parts, as, for example, cosmologies and theologies do. The beliefs are basic in the sense that the must be accepted simply on faith. Each paradigm has its own: - Ontology – view of the nature of reality - Epistemology – ideas about how we can know reality Positivism - It’s view of ontology is, naive realism o They believe there is a knowable reality that exists, and it is governed by laws – the truth exists and it is out there - In terms of epistemology, their ideas are dualist and objectivist o Dualist – the people you are studying are totally independent phenomenon from the researchers, and they do not influence each other o Objectivist – you can be objective in the way that you come to know the world – e.g. use a blind experimenter - Different amount of methods are used – quantitative experiments Post Positivism – where psychology is today (Carleton’s psych department) - Similar to positivism but it is more traditional psychology - Critical realism – there is a reality out there (there is and approximate truth), but it is a more critical realism in the sense that it acknowledges that we can only get an approximate handle on that truth o Therefore, we have to replicate findings to get a little bit closer to the tr
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