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CMST 2B03 Final: Qualitative Research exam notes
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Department
Communication Studies
Course
CMST 2B03
Professor
Philip Savage
Semester
Winter

Description
Qualitative Research- Exam Notes Nature of Qualitative research Bryman and Teavan- Qualitative research usually emphasizes words rather than quantification in its data analysis 4 aspects of qualitative research • Word v numbers • Induction verses deduction • Interpretation (as key epistemological approach) • Constructionist (as key ontological position) Qualitative Quantitative Inductive Deductive Rejects natural science/positivism Natural science/positivism Replaces with methodologies View of social reality External/objective reality Deduction vs Induction- relationship between theory and research • Theory can be: o Something that precedes reaserch (deductive theory) nd then is tested o Something that emerge out of first gathering data (inductive) and then building theory or explanations o Deductive: theoryobservations/findings o Inductive: observations/findings theory • Qualitative research approach tends to be inductive: building from observation to determine both interpretations and rich description Epistemology • Social researchers base their work on a number of epistemological assumptions o Answer the question of how knowledge is produced and what constitutes valid knowledge • Two contrasting positions: Positivism- everything can be scientifically verified or has logical/mathematical proof. Interpretivism- the idea of interpreting elements of study and integrates human interest into a study. Requires social scientists to grasp the subjective meanings people attach to actions/behavior. Interpretivist approach • Understanding the social worlds by examining the participants interpretations of their worlds • Rejection of natural science approach to human understanding • Emphasis on explanation of human action and empathetic understanding Phenomenology • Alfred Schutz’s concern with how humans make sense of the world around them • Subjective interpretation of the meanings of actions from the people’s point of view Symbolic interactionism • Margaret Mead’s concern with how one’s self concept emerges through appreciation of others • Research approach of “catching the process of interpretation through which actors construct their actions (social and cultural research: interpreting how other interpret their lives Ontology • Qualitative research is constructionist o Social life is an outcome of the interactions between individuals, rather than phenomenon “out there” and separate from those involved in its construction o Human construct their own reality that has to be constantly negotiated • Dimensions of Qualitative and Quantitative contrast o Objectivism vs. constructionist • Objectivism: existence independent of social actors or their perceptions • Social phenomena and their meanings are created by social actors • Theories such as the feminist theory in the past preferred a more qualitative approach but this is changing now - One’s values/beliefs do often affect the research process often leaving political dimensions on the research • Political dimensions: take sides, funding, gaining access, validity etc. - Political dimensions relates to exercise of power at different stages of an investigation - Practical considerations/ clear questions affect the decision of research methods and help ensure success Preoccupations of qualitative research 1. Seeing through eyes of those studied 2. Description 3. Emphasis on context 4. Emphasis on process 5. Flexibility (unstructured approach) Qual research methodologies • Ethnography/participant observation • In-depth interviewing • Focus group • Textual analysis Qualitative Research: More open ended, less rules to follow than quantitative • Inductive → theories come from research • Interpretivist → seek to understand through others interpretation • Constructionist → understand social life to be an outcome of interactions/negotiations between people • Naturalistic → Minimize disturbance to area of study Ethnography/Participant Observation • Qualitative interviewing • Focus groups • Conversation analysis • Analysis of texts → Important to use data to develop theoretical ideas Steps in Qualitative Research Model 1. General research question 2. Selecting relevant site(s) and subjects 3. Collection of relevant data 4. Interpretation of data → Collection of more data 5. Conceptual and theoretical work → Tighter specification of research question 6. Findings/conclusion NOTE: Steps 5A & 5B defining feature of ground theory → analysis of qualitative data which the goal is to use data to generate theory → Often not carried out (thats why its dashed data) Pros vs Cons of qualitative PRO CON Development of empathetic Excessive reliance on researchers values/opinions when understanding making decisions Rich description of context Difficulties with replication Emphasis on process Generalization Lack of transparency Reliability and Validity • Adopt most core ideas without making any adjustments • Reliability: whether the results of a study would be the same if the same study were repeated • Validity: whether a measure really reflects the concept it is supposed to deonate • Both critical concepts on quan. Research but used a little differently in qual research Types of validity • Measurement validity= whether a measure really reflects the concept it is supposed to denote (ex. IQ test) • Internal validity= in stating a causal relationship have you identified the true cause and effect (ex. Violent TV= Violent behavior) • External validity: are the research findings applicable to everyday, natural social settings (ex. Biased content analysis  larger balance) Qualitative and quantitative shared same truth goals • Empirical accounts of how people live must be plausible and credible and take into account the kind of evidence used in its development • We must judge the validity of claims on the basis of adequacy of the evidence Market research • Systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of data about peoples attitudes towards products/services offered in the market • Qualitative research has the same role: attempts to learn how people understand their consumption • Qualitative learning tends to be generalized and quantifiably tested Ethics “Categorical imperative: act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should be universal law” -kant • Quan is prone to objectifying respondents, qualitative does not Privacy and confidentiality • Anonymity • Confidentiality- info not revealed to others • Information not used for other purposed • Proper record storage and destruction • It is the law: PIPEDA (Personal information Protection and Electronics Document Act Consent and understanding Consent: participants have a right not to participate • Termination/withdrawl • No coercion • The impact of monetary incentives Understanding • Informed consent • What research is about • Sponsers • What will happen with the data • Nature of their involvement and possible harm, discomfort, disruption Milgram punishment study • Example in class of people being punished during a quiz/ interview if they get the answer wrong, they don’t nomrmally consent to it and it harmful Lincoin and Guba purpose 2 criteria to evaluate qualitative study: 1. Trustworthiness → Credibility → Transferability → Dependability → Confirmability 2. Authenticity • Viewed from the eyes of participants Ethnography • Research approach to understanding the culture of a group by immersing oneself in the activities of the specific group over a period of time and then writing up descriptive summary Key aspects of the ethnographic approach 1. Immersed in social setting for an extended period of time 2. Making regular observations 3. Listens to and engaged in conversations 4. Conducts further interviews with informants 5. Collects documents of the group 6. Develops an understanding of the group culture from within he context of the group 7. Write up a detailed account of that setting Open and closed settings • Open/ pubic setting: street corner, movie theater lobby, city council • Closed/ non-public setting: families, frims, cults, political parties • Both: street gangs on street corner • Gaining access in closed settings: uses your contacts, having a sponsorship wit the organization, offer something in return, explain research goals/plans, negotiate, be reasonable about requirements • Involvement: going native, detachment: underdeveloped understanding Overt and covert ethnography • Overt: you are openly there as an observer, you declare your role, more common, less risky • Covert: do not disclose role as a researcher (spy), risky if caught, makes note taking difficult, ethical issues Filed notes- serves 2 purposes 1. Aide-memoire: base data 2. Daily review for moving forward  record of learning • Notes as you go: Jotted notes- write down notes as fully as possibale • Write up fully at days end: Full field notes- amplify with location, people, fuller description, context • Tape recorders/cameras- uses cautiously of not at all • Vivid, clear and complete- if in doubt take a not • Keep noting your reactions Issues with “exiting the field • Not always easy • External pressures • Internal pressures • Managed exit Writing research Rhetoric of research • Rhetoric: a study of human communication fundamentally concerned with attempts to convince or persuade an audnece • No good doing it without communicating it • Audience must be persuaded (not manipulated) • Avoid: boredom and irrelevance Real research • Components: o Introduction o Literature review o Methods o Results o Discussion o Conclusion Rule of thirds 1/3 everything you know (lit review… not research) 2/3- drafting (outline- tighter or try free writing) 3/3- clean up (revising and re writing) In-depth interviewing Participant observation: walk a mile in their shoes In depth interviewing: get into their head • in depth interviewing is a qualitative research technique that involves conducting intensive individual interviews with a small number of respondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program or situation Unstructured/semi-structured • Unstructured: use of jotting/aide-memoire/ prompts for certain topics o Guide to conversation o Sometimes just one question • Semi-structured: list of questions with fairly specific topics o Order may change o Some questions may be added • Structured: responding to new directions encouraged, rich, detailed answers Interview guides • Filing in the blanks on the research question • Generating questions o Random thoughts in different contexts, discussions, what you read Elements in preparing the guide • Develop order • Formulate questions that address the research question/topics • Make language comprehensible • Avoid leading questions • Record face sheet Other preparation: study background, establish quiet, undisturbed setting, get good tape recorder Successful interviewing • Knowledgeable, structure, clear, gentle, sensitive, open, steering, critical, balanced Types of questions • Introducing, follow up, probing, specifying, direct, indirect, structuring, silence, interpreting • Flow of questions: initial open-endedintermediate questionsending questions • ALWAYS: “who else should I talk to?” • Don’t transcribe yourself Name 5 research question characteristics : • derive from a topic that interest you • they are clear • they are researchable • they have connection to established theory • will make an original contribution to existing knowledge on the topic Why are research questions important? • Guide literature research • Limit the scope of the project • Guide what data to collect • Guide the data analysis • Guide t
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