Qualitative Research Considerations

Currently, my neonatal kitten simulation research project is being design using a quantitative research model.  I chose quantitative because I wanted empirical data to support statements of my neonatal kitten simulation aiding in efficiency, effectiveness, and ease in training neonatal kitten foster parents at animal shelters and rescue groups or as Good Samaritan citizens.  However, I might use a mixed-method approach and used some qualitative research methods with my research design to support some of the statements of ease and efficiency from the point-of-view of the learner.

In qualitative research, I must always consider the trustworthiness of my sources and collection methods.  While naturalist settings may present different opportunities for data than quantitative assessment scores (by removing test anxiety for the learner, especially if the researcher can blend in during unscheduled observational visits (J. Stefaniak, personal communication, April 6, 2017)), they present issues of credibility, transferability, and dependability/confirmability (J. Baaki, personal communication, March 30, 2017) which play into the validity and reliability of the study as a whole.

The validity and reliability of a qualitative research study can be improved upon through a system of checks and balances built into the study by advanced planning with:

  • a priori questions/scales
  • a priori coding/themes
  • pre-determined milestones for comparison
  • member checking with the participants
    • scheduled reflections by the participants
    • phone calls to confirm data interpretation
    • interviewing with purpose: past, present, future (J. Baaki, personal communication, March 30, 2017)
  • decide on units of analysis (Luo, 2017)
  • triangulation

Two books that were suggested this week for qualitative research were:

 

 

 

 

Some of the discussion topics I found to be most helpful this week were about general focus is the research project since my project would be at most mixed-methods and not qualitative:

  1. Is the data addressing the research questions? (J. Stefaniak, personal communication, April 6, 2017).
    1. I know that my ultimate heart’s goal is to reduce the rate of neonatal kitten mortality rates through an instructional intervention. That is quantitative information.  But, as an instructional designer, I want to address efficiency, effectiveness, and ease because that is what good instructional design is.  My research questions have been shifting during this semester as I continue to read existing literature – this means my entire data collection may need to shift in order to maintain data that accurately meets the demands of my research questions.  So far, I’ve made very few changes to my research design and most of my changes to my research questions.

2. Tell a story from the raw data. Describe it critically.  (Luo, 2017).

Don’t interpret it; that is for the reader to do.

    1. All of my marketing training rebels against this statement, but I know that it is not the job of the researcher to sell a product, only to present findings in an unbiased way. I want to hang a sign with this statement over my computer.  J  In any paid job, my job would have been to pull research data and interpret it for the reader because I would have been dealing with a layperson not an academic.
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2 Replies to “Qualitative Research Considerations”

  1. Please be careful of citing me here – “2. Tell a story from the raw data. Describe it critically. Don’t interpret it; that is for the reader to do (Luo, 2017).” – that is not what I meant!
    The slide is titled “Common problems with analysis within qualitative studies” and the first item is: A lack of analysis – paraphrasing it, rather than interpreting it.
    A lack of analysis which means only paraphrasing it, rather than interpreting it is a common problem in qualitative analysis; it is NOT something that you should do. Though a researcher needs to try to take control of his/her own position, a qualitative study is essentially based off a critical interpretation of the data that carries a level of inevitable subjectivity. That’s also why the researchers’ positions and assumptions need to be made clear and shown to the readers how interpretations of data have been checked and inferences drawn. Take a look at the article “Twining17Some guidance on conducting and reporting qualitative studies.pdf” which is the original source of my PPT slide.

    • Thank you for clarifying. The slide you are referring to was the class after I posted this, but I can see that I did get off-track from the previous class. When I *thought* I heard this in class, I wrote it down frantically thinking I’d been writing with the wrong strategy.

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