Understanding and Applying Research Design

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Selected type: Hardcover. Added to Your Shopping Cart. View on Wiley Online Library. This is a dummy description. A fresh approach to bridging research design with statistical analysis While good social science requires both research design and statistical analysis, most books treat these two areas separately. Three clearly organized sections move seamlessly from theoretical topics to statistical techniques at the heart of research procedures, and finally, to practical application of research design: Premises of Research introduces the research process and the capabilities of SPSS, with coverage of ethics, Empirical Generalization, and Chi Square and Contingency Table Analysis Procedures of Research explores key quantitative methods in research design including measurement, correlation, regression, and causation Designs of Research outlines various design frameworks, with discussion of survey research, aggregate research, and experiments Throughout the book, SPSS software is used to showcase the discussed techniques, and detailed appendices provide guidance on key statistical procedures and tips for data management.

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Qualitative methods are best for researching many of the why and how questions of human experience, [3] in making a decision for example not just what , where , when , or "who" ; and have a strong basis in the field of sociology to understand government and social programs. Qualitative research is widely used by political science, social work, and education researchers. In the conventional view of statisticians, qualitative methods produce explanations only of the particular cases studied e. In contrast, a qualitative researcher might argue that understanding of a phenomenon or situation or event, comes from exploring the totality of the situation e.

It may begin as a grounded theory approach with the researcher having no previous understanding of the phenomenon; or the study may commence with propositions and proceed in a 'scientific and empirical way' throughout the research process e.

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We can distinguish between those which follow the logic of quantitative methods in their rules and criteria and make generalizations in a numerical sense i. A popular method of qualitative research is the case study Stake , [8] Yin [9] , which examines in depth 'purposive samples' to better understand a phenomenon e.


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Qualitative methods are an integral component of the five angles of analysis fostered by the data percolation methodology. To help navigate the heterogeneous landscape of qualitative research, one can further think of qualitative inquiry in terms of 'means' and 'orientation'. Sociologist Earl Babbie notes that qualitative research is "at once very old and very new. Robert Bogdan in his advanced courses on qualitative research traces the history of the development of the fields, and their particular relevance to disability and including the work of his colleague Robert Edgerton and a founder of participant observation, Howard S.

In the early s, some researchers rejected positivism , the theoretical idea that there is an objective world which we can gather data from and "verify" this data through empiricism. These researchers embraced a qualitative research paradigm , attempting to make qualitative research as "rigorous" as quantitative research and creating myriad methods for qualitative research.

Such developments were necessary as qualitative researchers won national center awards, in collaboration with their research colleagues at other universities and departments; and university administrations funded Ph. Most theoretical constructs involve a process of qualitative analysis and understanding, and construction of these concepts e.

In the s and s, the increasing ubiquity of computers aided in qualitative analyses, several journals with a qualitative focus emerged, and postpositivism gained recognition in the academy. Also, during this time, researchers began to use mixed-method approaches, indicating a shift in thinking of qualitative and quantitative methods as intrinsically incompatible.

Selected publications

However, this history is not apolitical, as this has ushered in a politics of "evidence" e. Qualitative researchers face many choices for techniques to generate data ranging from grounded theory [17] development and practice, narratology , storytelling , transcript poetry , biographical narrative interviews , classical ethnography , state or governmental studies , research and service demonstrations , focus groups , case studies , participant observation , qualitative review of statistics in order to predict future happenings, or shadowing , among many others.

Qualitative methods are used in various methodological approaches, such as action research which has sociological basis, or actor-network theory. Other sources include focus groups, observation without a predefined theory like statistical theory in mind for example , reflective field notes, texts, pictures, photographs and other images, interactions and practice captured on audio or video recordings, public e.

To analyse qualitative data, the researcher seeks meaning from all of the data that is available. The data may be categorized and sorted into patterns i. The ways of participating and observing can vary widely from setting to setting as exemplified by Helen Schwartzman's primer on Ethnography in Organizations In participant observation [28] researchers typically become members of a culture, group, or setting, and adopt roles to conform to that setting. In doing so, the aim is for the researcher to gain a closer insight into the culture's practices, motivations, and emotions. It is argued that the researchers' ability to understand the experiences of the culture may be inhibited if they observe without participating.

The data that is obtained is streamlined texts of thousands of pages in length to a definite theme or pattern, or representation of a theory or systemic issue or approach. This step in a theoretical analysis or data analytic technique is further worked on e. An alternative research hypothesis is generated which finally provides the basis of the research statement for continuing work in the fields.

Some distinctive qualitative methods are the use of focus groups and key informant interviews , the latter often identified through sophisticated and sometimes, elitist, snowballing techniques. The focus group technique e. The research then must be "written up" into a report, book chapter, journal paper, thesis or dissertation, using descriptions, quotes from participants, charts and tables to demonstrate the trustworthiness of the study findings. In qualitative research, the idea of recursivity is expressed in terms of the nature of its research procedures, which may be contrasted with experimental forms of research design.

From the experimental perspective, its major stages of research data collection, data analysis, discussion of the data in context of the literature, and drawing conclusions should be each undertaken once or at most a small number of times in a research study. In qualitative research however, all of the four stages above may be undertaken repeatedly until one or more specific stopping conditions are met, reflecting a nonstatic attitude to the planning and design of research activities.

An example of this dynamicism might be when the qualitative researcher unexpectedly changes their research focus or design midway through a research study, based on their 1st interim data analysis, and then makes further unplanned changes again based on a 2nd interim data analysis; this would be a terrible thing to do from the perspective of an predefined experimental study of the same thing.

Research Design, Research Method, Research Methodology and Research Proposal - Key Differences

Qualitative researchers would argue that their recursivity in developing the relevant evidence and reasoning, enables the researcher to be more open to unexpected results, more open to the potential of building new constructs, and the possibility of integrating them with the explanations developed continuously throughout a study.

Qualitative methods are often part of survey methodology, including telephone surveys and consumer satisfaction surveys. In fields that study households, a much debated topic is whether interviews should be conducted individually or collectively e. One traditional and specialized form of qualitative research is called cognitive testing or pilot testing which is used in the development of quantitative survey items.

General Structure and Writing Style

Survey items are piloted on study participants to test the reliability and validity of the items. This approach is similar to psychological testing using an intelligence test like the WAIS Wechsler Adult Intelligence Survey in which the interviewer records "qualitative" i.

Qualitative research is often useful in a sociological lens. Although often ignored, qualitative research is of great value to sociological studies that can shed light on the intricacies in the functionality of society and human interaction. There are several different research approaches, or research designs, that qualitative researchers use.

As a form of qualitative inquiry, [3] students of interpretive inquiry interpretivists often disagree with the idea of theory-free observation or knowledge. Whilst this crucial philosophical realization is also held by researchers in other fields, interpretivists are often the most aggressive in taking this philosophical realization to its logical conclusions. For example, an interpretivist researcher might believe in the existence of an objective reality 'out there', but argue that the social and educational reality we act on the basis of never allows a single human subject to directly access the reality 'out there' in reality this is a view shared by constructivist philosophies.

To researchers outside the qualitative research field, the most common analysis of qualitative data is often perceived to be observer impression. That is, expert or bystander observers examine the data, interpret it via forming an impression and report their impression in a structured and sometimes quantitative form.

In general, coding refers to the act of associating meaningful ideas with the data of interest. In the context of qualitative research, interpretative aspects of the coding process are often explicitly recognized, articulated, and celebrated; producing specific words or short phrases believed to be useful abstractions over the data. As an act of sense making, most coding requires the qualitative analyst to read the data and demarcate segments within it, which may be done at multiple and different times throughout the data analysis process.

In contrast with more quantitative forms of coding, mathematical ideas and forms are usually under-developed in a 'pure' qualitative data analysis. Some qualitative data that is highly structured e.


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  7. Quantitative analysis based on codes from statistical theory is typically the capstone analytical step for this type of qualitative data. Contemporary qualitative data analyses are often supported by computer programs termed computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software used with or without the detailed hand coding and labeling of the past decades. These programs do not supplant the interpretive nature of coding, but rather are aimed at enhancing analysts' efficiency at applying, retrieving, and storing the codes generated from reading the data.


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    Many programs enhance efficiency in editing and revision of codes, which allow for more effective work sharing, peer review, recursive examination of data, and analysis of large datasets. A frequent criticism of quantitative coding approaches is against the transformation of qualitative data into predefined nomothetic data structures, underpinned by 'objective properties '; the variety, richness, and individual characteristics of the qualitative data is argued to be largely omitted from such data coding processes, rendering the original collection of qualitative data somewhat pointless.

    To defend against the criticism of too much subjective variability in the categories and relationships identified from data, qualitative analysts respond by thoroughly articulating their definitions of codes and linking those codes soundly to the underlying data, thereby preserving some of the richness that might be absent from a mere list of codes, whilst satisfying the need for repeatable procedure held by experimentally oriented researchers.

    As defined by Leshan , [40] [41] this is a method of qualitative data analysis where qualitative datasets are analyzed without coding. A common method here is recursive abstraction, where datasets are summarized; those summaries are therefore furthered into summary and so on. The end result is a more compact summary that would have been difficult to accurately discern without the preceding steps of distillation.

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    Understanding Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology - SAGE Research Methods

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