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❶Within any research area, different participants can have diverse opinions. Choosing among five traditions.

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Unstructured Interviewing
Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research
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Second, direct observation suggests a more detached perspective. The researcher is watching rather than taking part.

Consequently, technology can be a useful part of direct observation. For instance, one can videotape the phenomenon or observe from behind one-way mirrors. Third, direct observation tends to be more focused than participant observation. The researcher is observing certain sampled situations or people rather than trying to become immersed in the entire context.

Finally, direct observation tends not to take as long as participant observation. For instance, one might observe child-mother interactions under specific circumstances in a laboratory setting from behind a one-way mirror, looking especially for the nonverbal cues being used. Unstructured interviewing involves direct interaction between the researcher and a respondent or group.

Of the 26 qualitative approaches, nine returned more than 10 studies eight after the inclusion criteria were applied. The most popular approaches used in PhD studies for this analysis were: The approach utilising interviews most frequently were case study projects 1, This is followed by grounded theory studies However, these means are achieved from comparatively few studies.

The more studies returned into the sample for this analysis, the lower the mean tended to become. Perhaps more worthy of note is the fact that of the major approaches i. Finally, the data were compared to the guidelines given by various authors for achieving saturation in qualitative interviews see page 3. The number of studies used in this analysis is shown below as a proportion of the whole for that approach:. No ethnoscience studies were found that fitted the inclusion criteria.

A wide range of sample sizes was observed in the PhD studies used for this analysis. The smallest sample used was a single participant used in a life history study, which might be expected due to the in-depth, detailed nature of the approach, while the largest sample used was 95 which was a study utilising a case study approach. The median, and mean were 28 and 31 respectively, which suggests a generally clustered distribution. However, the standard deviation at The most common sample sizes were 20 and 30 followed by 40, 10 and The significantly high proportion of studies utilising multiples of ten as their sample is the most important finding from this analysis.

There is no logical or theory driven reason why samples ending in any one integer would be any more prevalent than any other in qualitative PhD studies using interviews. If saturation is the guiding principle of qualitative studies it is likely to be achieved at any point, and is certainly no more likely to be achieved with a sample ending in a zero, as any other number.

However, the analysis carried out here suggests that this is the case. Of the samples achieved in this study there does not seem to be any real pattern as to how far PhD researchers are adhering to the guidelines for saturation, established by previous researchers.

However, there were a proportion of studies that used more than 50 as their sample—these larger qualitative studies are perhaps the hardest to explain. While none of the guidelines presented here are intended to be faultless reference tools for selecting qualitative samples sizes, all authors agree that saturation is achieved at a comparatively low level e. Without more detail of the studies it is not possible to conclude whether these larger samples were truly inappropriate.

They constructed a sample of 60 participants: Their study was longitudinal and utilised over participants in eight different organisations. There is no way of knowing that the samples analysed in this study were similarly arranged. LEECH suggests that it is a mistake to presume that all qualitative research must inevitably use small samples.

She feels that this ignores what she calls a growing body of research studies that utilise text-mining 18 e. Text-mining was not identified by TESCH as a separate methodological approach and as a result was not used in this analysis. Further analysis might examine samples from these studies in more detail. This highlights a potential weakness of this study—the interpretation of methodological approach.

While it is believed that PhD researchers own descriptions of their work are likely to be accurate, it may place studies into certain categories when they might be better suited to others. Further research might also seek to quantify the other issues that affect sample size and undertake regression analysis to see what percentage of variance in the sample size can be explained by these factors.

This would require a larger sample than that achieved in this paper as the unit of analysis would be the methodological approach or the existence of supplementary methods for example. Finally, this paper has sought to examine the use of personal interviewing in PhD studies for the reasons already given. Further research could feasibly examine whether these patterns exist in published research. Ultimately, qualitative samples are drawn to reflect the purpose and aims of the study. A study schedule is then designed, the study is carried out and analysed by researchers with varying levels of skill and experience.

This is as a result of an interaction between the interviewer and the participant. There could be an argument, for example, which suggests that ten interviews, conducted by an experienced interviewer will elicit richer data than 50 interviews by an inexperienced or novice interviewer. Any of these factors along the qualitative journey can affect how and when saturation is reached and when researchers feel they have enough data.

However, while it is clear that these issues can affect saturation, they should not dictate it. Results from this analysis suggest that researchers are not working with saturation in mind, but instead a quota that will allow them to call their research "finished".

Further research to shed light on this might explore whether the number of methods used might affect saturation. MORSE also supports this by saying that "the number of participants required in a study is one area in which it is clear that too many factors are involved and conditions of each study vary too greatly to produce tight recommendation's" p. However, to have too detailed a discussion of the flexible nature of saturation and whether the sample sizes in this analysis are appropriate or not is to lose sight of the most important findings of this study.

The over-representation of certain sample sizes in qualitative PhD studies suggests a potential deficiency in the teaching and supervision of qualitative methods. As external criteria often impinge on sample sizes such as ethics committee requirements to state numbers at the outset, where guestimates are likely to be round numbers , it is obviously easier for a student to defend the approach they cited, rather than stop data collection apparently early, when compared to their proposal.

On closer examination however, perhaps this should not be surprising. Nearly all of the examples of sample guidelines presented here by previous researcher are in multiples of five. This is all the more curious when empirical examples presenting guidelines for saturation e. So to conclude then, there is a range of potential conclusions that might be drawn as a result of this analysis:.

This ensures that their sample sizes, and therefore their data, are defensible. Alternatively PhD researchers do understand the concept of saturation but they find it easier to submit theses based on larger samples than are needed "just to be on the safe side" and therefore feel more confident when it comes to their examination. Irrespective of their understanding of saturation, PhD researchers are using samples in line with their proposal to suit an independent quality assurance process i.

Whatever the appropriate reason there are clear implications for research students using qualitative interviews. SIBLEY suggests that in her experience the teaching of qualitative research is often not as rigorous as other forms of social research, and many assumptions about its teaching are taken for granted.

It is therefore more important than ever to make qualitative methods as robust and defensible as possible. So what does this all mean? The common sample sizes and the preference for a certain "type" of approach suggest something preconceived about the nature of the PhD studies analysed here. Are students completing their samples based on what they feel they can defend, and what their supervisors and institutions require, rather than when they feel their work is actually complete?

Interviewing 38 or 57 people potentially risks triggering awkward questions from readers less familiar with the concept of saturation. However, we might expect PhD students to be predominantly orientated towards their discipline, and less concerned by challenge.

Sample sizes of round numbers suggest, perhaps, an insufficient grounding in the concept of saturation. The point of saturation is, as noted here, a rather difficult point to identify and of course a rather elastic notion. New data especially if theoretically sampled will always add something new, but there are diminishing returns, and the cut off between adding to emerging findings and not adding, might be considered inevitably arbitrary. Whether this reflects an arbitrary approach to qualitative research by students, or an overly prescriptive approach by institutions, supervisors, or a combination of both, is beyond the scope of this study.

However this author firmly believes that it should be the guiding principle for qualitative data collection, at the very least. However, what is apparent is that there appears to be something pre-meditated about the samples in these studies.

With the development of sophisticated qualitative software packages, it is now much easier to present screenshots of coding frameworks and analytical models, which can help to illustrate this more fully.

What is clear from this analysis is that there are issues prevalent in the studies that are not wholly congruent with the principles of qualitative research. This has clear implications for students who should ensure that they, at the very least, understand the concept of saturation, and the issues that affect it, in relation to their study even if it is not the aim of the study.

Once they are fully aware of this, they, and their supervisors, can make properly informed decisions about guiding their fieldwork and eventually closing their analysis. Alternatively, if this has to be done before saturation is achieved, they are better able to understand the limitations and scope of their work. Either way, this will contribute to a fuller and more rigorous defence of the appropriateness in their sample, during the examination process.

Industry, Business, Finance and Management. August 15, , May 2, , November 28, , Statistics of any distribution can be calculated which indicates how randomly distributed the variable is. The closer to zero the final skewness statistic is the more randomly distributed it is felt to be. However the further away from zero either positively or negatively the more likely there is to be some underlying uniformity to the distribution.

Statistics of any distribution can be calculated which indicates how "peaked" distributed the variable is. The higher the kurtosis statistic is the more likely there will be infrequent, and extreme deviations in the data. It can indicate whether there is a normal level of randomness which might be expected under normal conditions or whether there is some underlying pattern at work.

This also influences the type of research question we select. In this section, I draw on the writings by John Dewey ] , another influential author. Very reassuring for beginning researchers, he states that research follows a uniform structure, which applies to our everyday life as well as to science.

In other words, there are familiar elements in conducting research and we can draw on knowledge that we already have gained in our everyday life. Dewey describes the research process as follows:. It is a situation that makes us fell disturbed, troubled, confused; it is ambiguous and contradictory. This leads us to formulate a problem statement and to determine a way to solve this problem. Dewey puts it very simply: In consequence, research is and should be based on real life problems and should not contain fictitious elements.

Often questions are derived from the personal biography or social context of the researcher. The connection between social context and personal biography is for example obvious in the following student projects I supervised in the past:. After having come across an uncertain situation, the next step is to clearly identify and formulate the problem.

This is very important as the problem statement is like a lens through which you look at reality, it reduces the complexity of reality and structures the research field. Further, you derive more detailed research questions and hypothesis from it and this can only work successfully when the point of departure, the stated problem, is comprehensible and unambiguously spelled out. See also the chapter on research design for computer-assisted analysis in di Gregorio and Davidson Once you have an idea what you want to study, you should spend a number of hours or days in the library.

Maybe someone else has already solved your problem or there are existing studies that have looked at the same or similar issues you are interested in.

This does not mean that you have to start all over again and think of a new topic for your research project. Maybe other researchers before you have looked at different aspects, or maybe the study was conducted a long time ago and repeating it would be fruitful. Or it can be the case that in previous studies a quantitative instead of qualitative approach was chosen; you could add to it by approaching the topic from a qualitative perspective.

In the main, it is essential to know on what kind of information you can build on and how you can contextualize your study. If you cannot find anything in your first search for literature, look for comparable topics. Others may not have exactly researched the issue you are interested in but something very similar, e.

Look a bit to the left and to the right of the topic you are interested in when searching for key words in library catalogues. Another issue is type of literature.

Often my students come back from a first visit to the library and tell me that they found a few books but two out of the three are loaned for the next three months. Books are okay to look at, but for other reasons than finding up-to-date research results. The first places where new findings are disseminated are at conferences. The resulting papers are often published in conference proceedings. The next steps are journal publication, followed by chapters in edited volumes and possibly single authored books.

Look at books for classical research studies, for gaining an overview of the research field, the major theoretical frameworks used and for definition of established terms. Words used in everyday language like stress, motivation, violence, emotions, employment, unemployment, nationalism and so on, may have specific meanings in a scientific context different from everyday practice. In order to formulate good research questions, you need to define your major terms.

Rather than inventing your own definitions, it is better to look at the various alternatives offered in the existing literature. Then make an informed decision. After a while, you will know the major journals in your field and it becomes much easier to find relevant articles. Besides, the authors of such articles have done a literature search themselves.

Once you have found a handful of good articles, begin to read. Most likely, you find interesting articles referenced in these papers and thus the bibliographies put together by other authors are another good source when looking for relevant literature. For further information see for example: With this background knowledge you are ready to formulate your own research question s.

In qualitative research we ask things like: What is done, what kind of steps are followed in what kind of order, what kind of strategies are used, what are the consequences of doing or not doing something, why is this like this, wherefore is it done and why?

Below you find a selection of qualitative research question based on my teaching practice that present good and not so good examples:. How do elderly people living in a retirement home perceive their situation and how are they dealing with it?

Direct Observation

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Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research. FQS is a peer-reviewed multilingual online journal for qualitative research. FQS issues are published tri-annually. Selected single contributions and contributions to the journal's regular features FQS Reviews.

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Jul 02,  · While studying qualitative research software TESCH found 26 different types of qualitative methodological tradition and categorised them into four groups: the characteristics of language, the discovery of regularities, the comprehension of the meaning of text or action, and reflection.

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Qualitative Research Definition: Qualitative research is a market research method that focuses on obtaining data through open-ended and conversational communication. This method is not only about “what” people think but also “why” they think so. The qualitative research method allows for in. Quantitative research methods describe and measure the level of occurrences on the basis of numbers and calculations. Quantitative data collection methods are based on random sampling and structured data collection instruments. summarize, compare and generalize. Qualitative studies, on the contrary, are usually based on non-random.

Cookie Info is tracked by us since April, Over the time it has been ranked as high as in the world, while most of its traffic comes from USA, where it reached as high as 69 position. Popular qualitative data collection methods used in business studies include interviews, focus groups, observation and action research. Moreover, grounded theory and document analysis can be also used as data collection method in qualitative studies.