Lecture 12 textbook and class notes
Qualitative methods: Meant to supplement, complement or replace quantitative data.
Emphasis is placed on the meaning, context, experiences and viewpoints from individuals. Data
is interpretive, not numerical.
• Inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry
that explore a special or human problem. Researcher builds complex holistic pictures
and conducts study in natural setting
When to use it: If the topic needs to be explored deeply. Also, look to how your research
question is being asked (ie. hows and whys). Researcher must also have time and resources
necessary to conduct the study
• Ex: how do breast cancer survivors adapt to their post mastectomy body? Why do
parents worry so much about their children’s temperature
Field research: ethnography- approach to qual research. Researchers directly observe and
participate in natural social settings. Usually conducted in small groups. Need to start with a
loosely formulated idea, then look for study group/site, and finally form detailed daily notes for
data over months/yrs.
• Choose a field site that is contained, suitable for observation, and lots of data available.
• 3 levels of involvement from the researcher: complete observer > researcher participant
> complete participant
Historical-comparative research: examine data on events/conditions in the past or across
different cultures. Can focus on one or several time periods/cultures. Combines theory w/data
collection. Mix of evidence.
• Design issues:
o Grounded Theory- Theory is built from the data, and allows for data to interact
with the theory
o Context- Researcher determines the sequence of events or focus of the study.
Same events can have diff meanings @ diff times and cultural contexts.
o Bricolage- Drawing on a range of different materials and using them creatively to
fill in knowledge gaps. Requires a deep understanding of the materials
o Case and Process- Cases are at