Many researchers, particularly those from the hard sciences like mathematics or physics, consider quantitative research, with the ability to determine “statistical significance,” as more rigorous than qualitative research. Qualitative research does not lend itself to such mathematical determination of validity, rather it is highly focused on providing descriptive and/or exploratory results. However, this does not relieve the qualitative researcher from designing studies that are rigorous and high in “trustworthiness,” often the word used to describe validity in a qualitative study. There is no agreed upon set of criteria for ensuring a quality qualitative study, but there are a number of models of quality criteria. After reading the assigned articles by Shenton (2004) and Freeman, deMarrais, Preissle, Roulston, and St. Pierre (2007), discuss at least three things a qualitative researcher can consider to increase the validity of a study’s results. Give at least one example, from one of the qualitative study articles you have found on your own topic, of how a claim (reported result) is supported. How does that article report on the validity of the study’s results?
In Week Two, you will be reading about various methodologies that fall under the category of qualitative research. Basic qualitative research involves collecting and analyzing non-numerical data, such as data collected through interviews or observations. One of your assigned articles (Polkinghorne, 2005) gives a good introduction to generalized qualitative methods. Many times, but not often, a qualitative researcher uses a particular research design such as ethnography, phenomenology, or grounded theory. It can be frustrating to try to define particular qualitative methods because working with non-numerical data is much less prescriptive than what can be done to analyze numeric data in a quantitative design. In this week, you will review and search out studies from a variety of qualitative methodologies. We will also be looking at various qualitative and quantitative research articles.
You should consider the following questions before and during the reading and assignments this week:
What is the same and what is different about the various qualitative methodologies.
What makes up validity in a qualitative study?
What sorts of research questions can be answered in a qualitative study?
What differentiates qualitative research methods from quantitative research methods?
Note: The online classroom is designed to time students out after 90 minutes of inactivity. Because of this, we strongly suggest that you compose your work in a word processing program and copy and paste it into the discussion post when you are ready to submit it.
Malec, T. & Newman, M. (2013). Research methods: Building a knowledge base. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Section 1.6 Writing a Research Proposal
Chapter 3: Qualitative and Descriptive Designs – Observing Behavior
Section 5.3: Experimental Validity: A Note on Qualitative Research Validity and Reliability
Appendix: Example of a Research Proposal
Frank, G., &Polkinghorne, D. (2010). Qualitative research in occupational therapy: From the first to the second generation. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 30(2), 51-57.
Freeman, M., deMarrais, K., Preissle, J., Roulston, K., & St Pierre, E. A. (2007). Standards of evidence in qualitative research: An incitement to discourse. Educational Researcher, 36(1), 25-32. (ProQuest Document ID: 1256046611).
Polkinghorne, D. E. (2005). Language and meaning: Data collection in qualitative research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(2), 137-145. doi:10.1037/0022-0184.108.40.206 [Retrieved from EBSCOhost]
Shenton, A.K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information, 22 (2), 63-75. [Retrieved from EBSCOhost]
Houser, R. (2009). Counseling and educational research: Evaluation and application (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN#: 9781412956611.
Anderson, J. D. (2006). Qualitative and quantitative research. Available: http://www.icoe.org/webfm_send/1936
Lee, J. S. K. (1992). Quantitative versus qualitative research methods—Two approaches to organization studies