Chapter 7 – Lancy (Hana)
Each qualitative research project is unique and the decisions that are made throughout the process direct the path that it follows.
I. The Importance of Self-Analysis
A. Why are we doing research?
1) If you uncomfortable with any degree of uncertainty → do quantitative research.
2) If you want to finish quickly and go back to the public sector→ quantitative research
Writing: qualitative research :: mathematics: quantitative research
B. Which qualitative research tradition do you want to follow?
1) By following a research tradition, you’ll know what to call it and how to talk about it.
II. Finding a Problem in the Setting
A. Negotiate entry and obtain tentative agreement.
1) The nature of the phenomenon will suggest a broader topic or issue.
B. Refine the selection of your tradition.
C. Start with a setting (usually where anthropologists begin).
III. The Review of the Literature
A. Review literature on the topic, setting, and research design; it is an ongoing process.
B. Begin an annotated bibliography as soon as possible.
C. Seek out technical reports.
D. Write to the authors for more information.
E. Attend training on specific areas of methodology.
IV. The Preliminary Proposal
A. Develop a preliminary proposal that includes reason for the study (rationale) and problem statement, background, and method and plan for data analysis.
B. Submit to the IRB, committee members, funding sources for constructive feedback.
C. Make decisions while in the process of developing a preliminary report that will answer some of these questions:
When will it start and end?
What is the unit of analysis?
How many of these units will be studied?
What will be the role of the investigator?
What will be the principal sources of data?
How will these sources be used?
How much data will be collected?
How will they be analyzed?
D. Cite a similar study to provide a partial rationale for you decisions.
E. Leave loopholes in the proposal in order to account for necessary changes.
F. Show mastery of your topic by providing a lengthy literature review that cites critical pieces of literature.
V. Entering the Field
A. Do not need to show that research has a direct benefit to participants.
B. Argue that it will benefit the researcher as well as contribute to solving a particular problem.
C. Establish trust.
You can get permission to be an observer, but you must be invited to become a participant.
D. Do not do research where you are an insider.
VI. Data Collection
A. Gather data unobtrusively.
B. Choose your method for data collection (i.e., videotaping, taking notes).
C. Refer back to your problem statement and literature review.
D. Include critical details (person, place, activity, date, class period) in your observation.
E. Take different kinds of notes (general description, detailed description, or explanatory description).
F. Interview multiple informants, include casual conversations, start with longer exploratory interviews and move towards to shorter confirmatory interviews.
G. Involve the collection of artifacts.
H. Decide when you have enough data.
VII. Refocusing the Study
A. Reassess your focus, methods, and purposes once data has been collected.
B. Continue to work on annotated bibliography.
C. Develop a theory or model to explain your findings.
D. Seek patterns in your data and begin preliminary analysis.
VIII. Data Analysis
A. Analyze and reduce what has been collected.
B. Identify major themes or develop coding form.
C. Look at published literature to gauge how much to reduce.
D. Prepare a preliminary report.
IX. Structuring the Report
A. Structure your report on natural divisions based on major themes.
B. Return to the model study for guidance.
C. Avoid writer’s block by starting on your methods section or lit review.
D. Share your draft of the final report with others.
E. Be prepared if informants are disappointed in report.
F. Select carefully your committee chair because he/she will need to referee any disagreements.
G. Join organizations in order to get your research published.
H. Get started!
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