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Research Methodologies

Overview of Research
Qualitative Research
Ethnography, Case Study, Grounded Theory, Autobiography,
Participatory Action Research, Phenomenology (each grounded
in a specific discipline and philosophical assumptions)

Quantitative Research
Survey methods, Experiments

Mixed Methods
Draw from qualitative and quantitative methods

A quantitative approach is one in which the
investigator primarily uses post-positivist
claims for developing knowledge (i.e.
cause and effect thinking, reduction to
specific variables and hypotheses and
questions, use of measurement and
observation, and the test of theories).
(Creswell, 2003, p.19)

Qualitative - Definition
qualitative researchers study
things in their natural settings,
attempting to make sense of or
interpret phenomenon in terms
of the meanings people bring to
them. (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000, p.3).

Qualitative - Definition
A qualitative approach is one in which the
inquirer often makes knowledge claims based
primarily on constructivist perspectives (i.e. the
multiple meanings of individual experiences,
meanings socially and historically constructed,
with an intent of developing a theory or pattern)
or advocacy/participatory perspectives (i.e.
political, issue-oriented, collaborative or change
oriented) or both. (Creswell, 2003)

Ethno people or folk - refers to
human culture

Graphy means description of

describe something

= Ethnography: describing and

understanding another way of life from the
native point of view (Neuman, 2007)

Phenomenology: the early

roots of ethnography
Edmund Husserl
developed the
philosophical ideal
Finding meaning
through human

Hypotheses and questions
begin as a broad statement
about the purpose of the
research, then are allowed to
emerge more specifically as data
are amassed.

Data - verbal descriptions of
people, interactions, settings,
objects and phenomena within
the context being studies

Data Sources the people,
settings, and relevant objects
being observed

Data Collection done by the
researcher through
observation, sometimes
combined with interview

Data treatment and analysis
presentation of verbal
descriptions and/or logical
analysis of information to
discover salient patterns and

Data Analysis

Organize and prepare the data for analysis

Read all data, get a sense of the whole
Begin detailed analysis with coding process
Generate a description of the setting/people as
well as categories or themes for analysis
Represent themes (writing, visual, etc.)
Interpret and make meaning out of data
*iterative, non-linear process

The Process
A question or concern is identified
for study
A group to study is identified
Typically small
Typically purposively selected

The Process
The researcher analyzes the
notes, identifies themes, looks
for answers to research
questions, and makes logical

The Process
The final step is to write the
research paper describing the
process, observations, findings, and
Often rich descriptions are provided
so the readers can make their own

Criteria for Judging

Qualitative Research
Dependability the
researcher accurately
describes the context, setting
and changes that may have
occurred during the study.

Hawthorne Effect
Human subjects behave in special ways because they know they are
subjects of an investigation
Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Co. Cicero, Illinois
Different conditions (dimmed lights, increased rest periods) did not decrease
production, actually increased it
Motivated to increase their output because of their special status as research
Researchers cautioned to consider how they might affect informants behavior

As anonymity is usually not possible with
qualitative research methods, P.O.s must seek to
protect informants by adhering to strict
confidentiality standards.
Use of pseudonyms, removing identifying details
and employing careful record keeping

(Powell 181)