METRO High School: An Emerging STEM Community [Eugene]

Basically, the approach was an anthropological in nature. The research team focused on key informant open-ended interviews, written survey questionnaires, observations, guided discussions, interviews and demographic mapping. In the methodology included a multidisciplinary group of social science researchers and experts in education. The field base research approach was qualitative inquiry, utilized triangulation and iterative data analysis methods.

See the entire document here:

Lancy Chapter 7 highlights (Eugene)

Lancy Chapter 7 highlights (Eugene)

The first main point is that there is no one size fits all, no prescription, pre determined path or one way to do qualitative research. Each project is unique and the flow chart that is provided merely points you in the right direction and indicates where decisions may have to be made.

Lancy believes that if you are not willing to engage in a long arduous journey in your research topic, that will include mistakes, at least one major mis-step, and most importantly a lot of uncertainty.

Basically, qualitative research is more difficult than quantitative research in Lancy’s opinion. It requires that a person can write well, can live with a fluid project, want a project that is hundreds of pages and you must be able to write in narrative form. It also means hundreds of pages of notes, field notes, transcripts and much more.

His steps are what we are going to discuss:

1.  Finding a problem in the setting.

2.  Finding a setting for the problem.

3.  The Review of Literature

4.  The preliminary proposal

5.  Entering the field – you must find a way to illustrate the value of your work to people, stakeholders, subjects and people you will be bothering or affecting during your field work activities. They must feel like it is important or your investigators, participants, etc. may not see enough value to be involved.

6.  Data Collection – it is important to do norming, deciding when to take notes, video tape or record audio will all affect that outcome of your data in many different ways. Another important step is to decide when we have enough data. You will always find yourselves constantly referring back to your question in an effort to maintain the proper course.

7.  Refocusing the study

8.  Data Analysis

9.  Structuring the report – use major themes as points of division, use colleagues to get opinions from on your first draft and don’t get into “tug of wars.”

Morgan, D.L. (1997). Focus groups as qualitative research. (Jazmine,Noemi, Brandon

Morgan, D.L. (1997). Focus groups as qualitative research. California: Sage Publications.

Focus Groups as Qualitative Research: Second Edition

 Focus Groups as a Qualitative Method

•Qualitative Research
       •Participant Observation
        •Focus Groups
        •Open-Ended Interviews

Focus Groups versus Participant Observation

Main Advantage: Focus groups give the researcher the ability to observe a large amount of interaction on a topic in a limited period of time.

Main Disadvantage: Focus groups do not give the interviewer the same amount of control as individual interviews do. Additionally, focus groups limit the amount of information that each informant has time to share.

Focus Groups versus Individual Interviews

Main Advantage: Focus groups give the researcher the ability to observe interaction on a topic. Additionally, focus groups make it easier to conduct less structured interviews which are especially useful for exploratory research.

Main Disadvantage: The degree of naturalism is lower in focus groups as compared to participant observation (e.g. unnatural social settings).

The Uses of Focus Groups

Use of Focus Groups

Feature(s) and Benefit(s)

Self-Contained Focus Groups p. 18

Research results stand on their own

Linking Focus Groups and Individual Interviewing p. 22

May contribute to future methodology (e.g. unstructured focus group can inform later structured interviews; May assist with learning about the differences among potential interviewees; One method can be conducted as a follow-up to the other)

Linking Focus Groups and Participant Observations

p. 23

May provide concentrated insight into participants’ thinking on a given topic; May assist with the selection of a site for participant observation; May contribute to theoretical sampling

Linking Focus Groups and Surveys p. 25

May provide an a means to construct future surveys/questionnaires; focus group participants can the sources of the original item pool; focus groups may capture all the domains that need to be measured in survey; focus groups may determine the dimensions that make up each of these domains; focus groups may provide insight into appropriate item language; focus groups may of value in preliminary work by generating hypotheses

Linking Focus Groups and Experiments p. 28

Focus groups may help to define “manipulations” of independent variables in an experimental context; embraced in the experimental research of intervention programs; focus groups can be used to design media campaigns; useful in the selection of appropriate outcome measures; focus groups can “put a human face” on quantitative research

Saldana: Introduction to Codes and Coding p. 1-15 (Allison)

Codes are ways to discover, identify and label repeated evidence collected from qualitative data: surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, etc.

Saldana states, “The is no ‘best’ way to code…” and advocates a Pragmatist Paradigm of the “right tool for the right job” (Saldana, 2008 p. 2).

29 Coding methods: a few examples (states rarely are all used, even throughout a career).

Descriptive Code: summarizes the primary topic of an excerpt.

In Vivo Code: taken directly from the participant and is indicated by quotes.

Initial Coding: an open-ended process, where first impressions are recorded

Process Code: a word or phrase that captures action

Simultaneous Coding: two or more codes within a single datum


First Cycle: the first pass when reviewing data, a single word or phrase can be used

Second Cycle: revisit the passages and edit, reword, or regroup

Decoding: decipher the core meaning(s) from a passage

Encoding: labeling the passage

Recognizing patterns:

Patterns: have various forms







Filters: how one perceives, documents and codes the data

Codifying & Categorizing: creating a systematic arrangement, even if one category might be labeled “differences”

Recoding and recategorizing: Repeat first and second cycle, are they any changes? Codes, themes, groups and categories may change

Toward Theory

As the categories, subcategories and concepts become evident, they can begin to be related to theory. Layer upon layer can be found and built upon each other.

Code vs Theme: A theme is an outcome of a coding, categorizing, and analytic reflection.

What to code? Depends…

Life happens at four coordinates: participants, activities, time, and place


Units of social organization

  1. Cultural practices
  2. Episodes
  3. Encounters
  4. Roles
  5. Social and personal relationships
  6. Groups and Cliques
  7. Organizations
  8. Settlements and habitats
  9. Subcultures and lifestyles

Questions to consider:

  1. What coding method(s) is appropriate for your study?
  2. What method(s) have you used so far?
  3. What kinds of questions to ask that do not narrow the answer of the participant?
  4.  What is involved in the First cycle and when does one begin the Second Cycle?
  5. What is the rationale for recoding and recategorizing?
  6. How does the researcher find the emergent themes and connect them to a theory?

(Foster & Gibbons) Studying students- The Library Study (Presenter?)

(Foster & Gibbons) Studying students- The Library Study

Discussion Questions:
1. Chapter 1: The results of this piece of the study directly impacted practices at the Rochester Library. What do you think would be the next steps if this study were expanded to a full action research study?
2. Chapter 2: How can direct quotes of participants impact the reader’s understanding or the power of a qualitative study?
3. Chapter 4: Using arguments of Barley from last week (“For a Definition of What Ethnography is Not’ article), how is what is presenting in this chapter an ethnography and how is it not?
4. Chapter 6: How could this methodology aid a qualitative researcher in developing a thick description of an event?
5. Chapter 11 What would be the benefits of using archetypal examples to present qualitative findings?

Discussion Questions
1. The design of The Library Study was very interesting. How would you use this type of design at your school site? Is it feasible considering the human and time resources that would be required?
2. One of the most intriguing parts of the study was the use of cameras. What is an example of camera use at your school site and what would be the benefit of using this approach?
3. During the facilities discussion in the study, reference was made to the use of remodeling grant money to redesign a 23,000 square foot section of the library. Since it is not realistic that most of us will have access to this type of funding to leverage during a formal study, how might we focus on facilities issues without funding to change anything?
4. It seemed that the information the researchers gained from the study was far from earth-shattering or surprising. Why are formal research studies even necessary for this type of project? Why does it take a study to flush out information and mobilize stakeholders?

Lancy 2-6 (Presenter?)

Lancy, D. F. (2001). Studying children and schools: Qualitative research traditions. Prospect Heights, Ill: Waveland Press.

Executive Summary: The author’s intent is to introduce prospective qualitative researchers [anthropologists] to the broad base of empirical research literature that has yielded important results employing qualitative methods to portray or account for differences in the development and academic achievement of children from cultural, societal, and personal perspectives – within the larger arena of conversations of empirical, educational research on children and schools usually thought to be the sole provenance of quantitative psychologists and sociologists who are using more rigorous, experimental aka “quantitative” research methods for answering their theoretical, “cause-effect” questions.

In Chapter 1, Lancy first compares and contrasts the different ways of thinking about and conducting qualitative versus quantitative research studies. He characterizes qualitative studies as naturalistic, context-specific, non-invasive, descriptively-repeatable narratives, captured by observing and discovering phenomenological and subjective realities common to a small sample or group, that are important for the variables, hypotheses or early “natural history” stage of information they provide, either for others who may wish to emulate the particular cases in a similar context, study their generality in other contexts, test the hypotheses that follow from them more experimentally-independent of context. Finally, he notes that the understanding of whether something is or is not qualitative research depends upon whether one is discussing it as 1) a particular method such as the case study approach or a combination or “triangulation” of methods , 2) a particular technique and principal source of data, such as an open-ended interview, non-participatory or participatory observations, or artifacts collected in field work, or 3) a qualitative tradition or paradigm which may define itself as exclusively subjective, such as the phenomenological paradigm.

In Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Lancy discusses differences in the traditions and usefulness of qualitative research conducted in the fields of anthropology, sociology and psychology.

His goal in Chapter 2 is for the reader to come away with a feel for the accomplishments of qualitative research in education anthropology, with an emphasis on the theme of enculturation in schools as a major vehicle for transmitting cultural beliefs and practices from generation to generation, or as they affect the transitions of one culture into others. He notes that the principal method of anthropologists is ethnography, defined as a description of a particular culture (an historically developed and patterned way of life) of a particular group – an entity or integrated whole that is 1) derived and inferred from descriptions of their beliefs, established inter-relationships between persons and groups, their material goods and technologies, 2) described and documented in sufficient detail so as to be replicable, and yet 3) not sacrificing the validity of an accurate description of the culture in all of its nuances, “somehow [making] the familiar strange,” as in the difference between the web of a garden spider and that of a black widow.

In Chapter 3, he notes that the sociological tradition differs from that of anthropology by its concern with how the hierarchical levels of a known society come into being [with a broad base of sociological theories and evidence accounting for them], resulting in an interlocking set of investigative questions that blur distinctions between the qualitative and quantitative research methods that are needed. He elucidates representative examples of important research conducted in order to 1) quantitatively investigate predictions of sociological outcomes made by different models, 2) qualitatively and quantitatively investigate the interactions between multiple factors in producing sociological outcomes, or 3) qualitatively investigate the role that parents, students and teachers play in creating sociological or educational-significant outcomes within particular school settings.

In Chapter 4, the author notes that a major qualitative research method used within the field of psychology is ethology – the naturalistic study of certain animal behaviors, those that can be described and portrayed as having a proximal cause or trigger that elicits or releases it, have an identifiable function that evolved to help the animal survive and reproduce, and which develops over time in the life cycle of the animal. Side note: A major limitation of the ethological approach as defined by Lorenz and Tinbergen is its origins from descriptions of the biological function of behaviors that best represent the mostly hard-wired behaviors of animals ranging from ant, termite, or honey-bee colonies to the more reflexive “lower-brain” or easily “programmable” behaviors of imprinting or stimulus-response reinforcement in pigeons, rats, dogs and chimpanzees. It should be noted also that the case study method has been important in the development of Piaget’s theory of the stages of cognitive development in children, and in making cross-case comparisons of successes in school-improvement programs.

In Chapter 5, Lancy reviews important qualitative research results stemming from the use of different types of case study methods (single case, cross-case), making the point that case studies have been used more commonly in anthropological traditions, but advocating their greater use in the fields of sociology and educational psychology, along with more quantitative survey or experimental methods, or as evaluative information that may be vital in meeting professional responsibilities, such as altering educational policies, programs, and practices, or affecting school board, teacher, parent, and community decision-making.

In Chapter 6, he discusses personal accounts as being different from other types of qualitative research reports in the social sciences because of their phenomenological focus on a specific person’s personal life, views, or accomplishments, rather than for their generality as cases across persons, or as an instantiation of a more general conclusion or expected outcome.

Discussion Questions:

1. When a problem has been identified, the research must select a suitable tool or method to investigate it. Under what circumstances would it be appropriate to choose qualitative methods and how does this relate to your area of interest?
2. Some argue that there is significant difference between qualitative and quantitative data. After all, qualitative data typically consists of words while quantitative data consists of numbers. But, if all qualitative data can be coded as numbers, are they really all that different? No matter your answer, please explain why or how you arrived at that conclusion.
3. How does understanding human behavior relate to qualitative research?
4. What type of research question would best be answered through a case study approach?
5. Why study personal accounts? Why would one want to review such a body of literature in the first place? How should one go about conducting an analysis and synthesis of personal accounts?

Becker Epistemology (Cruz_Boone)

  Qualitative Quantitative
Collect more data than intended    
Collect the amount of data intended    
Historical or Ethnographic Cases    
Laws of Social Interaction    
an “explanation” of an act based on a logic of numerical difference between groups with different traits.


a description which makes sense of as much as possible of what they have seen as they observed: how, what, then—with an explanation of sequence    
Collecting raw data from facebook    
Conducting a survey on facebook    
Generates hypothesis    
Tests the hypothesis    
Empirical inquiry    













Discussion Questions:

The Actor’s Point of View: Accuracy

“Bruno Latour’s rule of method is: we should be as undecided as the actors we study. If they think a conclusion, a finding or a theory is shaky, controversial, or open to question, then we should too and should not regard it as something to be placed in a “black box” never to be opened again. And we should do that even if what we are studying is an historical controversy whose outcome we now know, even though the actors involved at the time couldn’t. Conversely, if the actors involved think the piece of science involved is beyond question, so should we.”

Many assertions are made about interaction with video games.  Do you think all studies that attribute social aggression and violence to video games are as undecided as the actors they study? Do either Blumer idea of attribution error or Latour’s rule of method apply to this example, explain?


The Everyday World: Making Room for the Unanticipated

Quotidia (Schutlz, 1962) is understandings people share or “shared understandings made manifest in act and artifact” (Redfield, 1941).   In the digital age how does Quotidia manifest?  Meaning what artifacts share or communicate what is valuable to people? What are those artifacts?  Who are those people?  How do you judge what is valuable?


Full Description, Thick Description: Watching the Margins

“Ethnographers pride themselves on providing dense, detailed descriptions of social life, the kind Geertz (1974) has taught us to recognize as “thick.” Their pride often implies that the fuller the description, the better, with no limit suggested. At an extreme, ethnographers talking of reproducing the “lived experience” of others.”

If we as ethnographers were trying to determine a “thick” description of dating patterns for kern county youth (10-13) how would data be collected (digital survey of parents, paper reflection of youth, interviews, other)?


Epistemology- is about searching for the “oughts” rather than the “is’s”

Empirical disciplines, in contrast, have concerned themselves with how things work rather than what they ought to be, and settled their questions empirically.

Epistemology has been a similarly negative discipline, mostly devoted to saying what you shouldn’t do if you want your activity to merit the title of science, and to keeping unworthy pretenders from successfully appropriating it. The sociology of science, the empirical descendant of epistemology, gives up trying to decide what should and shouldn’t count as science, and tells what people who claim to be doing science do, how the term is fought over, and what people who win the right to use it can get away with. (Latour 1987)


Thesis: this paper will not be another sermon on how we ought to do science, and what we shouldn’t be doing, and what evils will befall us if we do the forbidden things. Rather, it will talk about how ethnographers have produced credible, believable results, especially those results which have continued to command respect and belief.






Chapter 2-4 – Bailey (Xmas)

Eugene Christmas

June 29th, 2013

Chapter 2-4 – Bailey – Important Points – Quotes

Chp 2 – General – “Simply stated, field research is the systematic study of ordinary activities in the settings in which they occur. Its primary goal is to understand these activities and what they mean to those who engage in them. To gain this understanding, field researchers collect data by interacting with, listening to, and observing people during the course of their daily lives, usually in some self-contained setting, such as an elementary school classroom, a street corner, a car dealership, or a public housing community.”

“Specific – Field research* is the systematic study, primarily through long-term, faceto-face interactions and observations, of everyday life. A primary goal of field research is to understand daily life from the perspectives of people in a setting or social group of interest to the researcher. Field research is classified as a longitudinal research design because data collection can take a long time—usually months or years.”

“Naturalistic Setting, purpose of research and research questions, unstructured and semi structured interviews, conversational analysis, coding, paradigms, status characteristics or demographics.”

Chp 3 – Informed consent, deception, confidentiality, Code of Ethics, Institutional Review Boards, A guide to qualitative field research…(you should all review the aspects of it)

Chp 4 – Primary seven topics

Paradigms, Theory, Tradition of Inquiry, Methodology, Methods, Data Analysis, and Final Manuscript.

Reflexivity is, in part, critically thinking about how one’s status characteristics,

values, and history, as well as the numerous choices one has made during the research, affect the results. As a result of the reflections, sometimes the researcher takes action, such as asking for assistance with some parts of the research or changing some facet of the research design.

Reviewing Jigsaw Activity – Divide class into four groups to review the topics below (3-4 minutes) to discuss the major points and rank the 3 most important. Each group will then have one person report on the most important points from their group.

Positive Paradigm – page 50

Interpretive Paradigm – page 53

Critical Paradigm – page 55

Role of and What is Theory – page 57