QUALITATIVE RESEARCH FOR EDUCATION
An Intrudction to Theoris and Models
The two major types of qualitative research are (a). Participant observation (b). In depth interviewing
Five features of qualitative research
Naturalistic- when researcher go to a particular setting with either pad and pencil, or video/audio recording equipment.
Descriptive Data- the data in qualitative research takes the form of words of pictures rather than numbers. Often the descriptive data contains quotations said by informants to illustrate and substantiate the presenting findings.
Concern with process- Qualitative researchers are concerned with the process rather than simple outcomes.
Inductive- Qualitative research analyze their data inductively. Their theories come from the “bottom up” rather than “top down”. The qualitative researcher’s theory is grounded in the data.
Meaning- Focus questions as … what assumption do people make about their lives? What do they take for granted? Researcher can show their data in the form of transcript and recorded material to their informants to make sure their interpretations of what the informants said/did is accurate/true.
The Chicago School- a group of sociological researchers at the University of Chicago in the 1920s-1930s. They saw symbols and personalities emerging from social interaction. This was considered the “scientific mosaic” that greatly influents their informants.
European connection and social survey movement- in the late 1800s Frenchman Fredrick LePlay studied working class families using the observation method of study. He wrote Ouvriers European, Vol 1 was published in 1879, which described in detailed the life of working class family in Europe.
Henry Mayhew’s London labor and the London Poor, 1851-1862 Vol.1-4, reported the condition of workers and the unemployed.
Theory/paradigms- a loose collection of related assumption or concepts that orient thinking or research.
Phenomenological Approach- attempts to understand the meaning of events to ordinary people in particular situations. Phenomenological researchers believe that is possible to interpret events in many different ways, depending upon the “frame of reference”. They also believe that the term “reality” is a socially constructed one.
Symbolic Interaction- is compatible with the phenomenological approach to research. The meaning that individuals give to their experiences and their process of interpretation are essential, not accidental or secondary to the experience self.
Ethnography- is the attempt to describe a culture. A culture is acquired knowledge used to interpret experiences and generated behavior. The concept that acquired knowledge and symbolic interaction are somewhat related. However, for symbolic interactionalists, meaning has more to do with the particular situation at the moment than a collection of cultural responses.
Ethnomethodology- refers to the method that people use to create and understand their daily lives. Phrase often used in Ethnomethodology are “common sense understanding”, “everyday life”, “practical accomplishments”, routine grounds for social action and accounts”. Interest in this type of research fell off in the 1980s.
Method- are the techniques used for research. Survey, interview, observation, and case study are all different methods.
Some Question about Qualitative Research
A Qualitative finding generalizable?
The assumption is that human behavior is not random or idiosyncratic.
What about researcher opinion, prejudices and other biases and their effect on the data?
It is important to remember that most opinions and prejudices are superficial. The data collected in qualitative research is thick, rich and deep, which often override the preconceived attitudes of the researcher.
Doesn’t the presence of the researcher change the behavior of the people he/she is studying?
Yes… It’s called the Researcher Effect of the Heisenberg Effect.
Will two researchers independently studying the same setting or subjects come up with the same findings?
This refers to reliability and in educational qualitative research, there may be different human aspect being observed. Researcher may collect different types of data which focus on different human aspects. Therefore, the result/findings can indeed differ!
How do qualitative researchers differ from other people such as; teachers, reporters or artists?
Researchers are different because they are trained to use sets of procedures and data analyzing techniques that are not used in any other profession.
Can qualitative and quantitative be used together?
Yes, but this can be challenging because hybrid research may not always meet the criteria for “good research” in either approach.
Is qualitative research really scientific?
Scientific research involves rigorous and systematical empirical inquiry that is data based. Qualitative research does meet these requirements.
What is the goal of qualitative research?
Some researcher are actually looking for grounded theory, others… description, better understanding of human behavior and experience.
How does qualitative differ from quantitative?
See fig. 1.1
Which research approach is better?
It depends upon what you are looking for.