What do you think about qualitative research based on your experience gathering and doing initial analysis together?
The question that was asked in class concerning our understanding of qualitative research started a lengthy conversation. Based on my knowledge of quantitative and qualitative analysis it appears that qualitative analysis is much more involved and requires a very different approach than quantitative analysis. In the textbook entitled “Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016), there is a framework provided that show the “dynamic elements of qualitative research” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 2). The framework provides guidance in the processes to be considered when developing and implementing the research effort.
There are nine elements associated with the conceptual framework presented in chapter one (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 2):
- A question/problem/interest
- Theoretical framework/review of literature
- Development of research questions
- Methodology/research design
- Formative design
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- Validity strategies
- Dissemination conclusions/implications
Each of these elements serve to support the development of the other elements. However, there are “four key pillars of qualitative research: criticality, reflexivity, collaboration, and rigor” (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 1). At first glance it does appear that the development and implementation of a qualitative research project can be very complex. Having frameworks, checklists, and examples will be very helpful for those who are doing the first few research projects.
The discussions in class also introduced the requirements associated with ethical research methods utilizing the institutional review board (IRB) established at the university. In the class discussion there were five elements to consider when developing and engaging in the research. These include:
- Starting with an idea for the research
- Evaluating its feasibility
- Considering the ethics– should the research be done?
- Once the IRB has been approved – proceed with the research
- Perform an audience analysis – will/can anyone use the research?
When considering the content of the qualitative research, to be addressed prior to requesting approval from the IRB, the content development of those questions will require introspection to assure the contents meet stringent ethical requirements. As discussed in class, the dilemma faced by the researcher is the identification of their personal biases associated throughout the research process. To address these issues, it is suggested that the research questions and content be reviewed by others to see if there are areas of improvement and clarification of ideas, questions, and concepts. The primary focus of the research content is its impact on the “vulnerable populations” including (Ravitch & Carl, 2016, p. 347): pregnant women, prisoners, children, and people with disabilities. These populations require a higher level of scrutiny of the research goals, content, and objectives.
Similar to the complexity of developing a qualitative research study, the focus on the ethical content of the project requires careful analysis to assure that no harm is incurred by the study participants. These include the give-and-take of the reciprocity social behavior, informed consent of the study participants, the full transparency of the project, and the consideration of the confidentiality and anonymity of the research outcomes (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). Looking forward into the weeks ahead for the class, I hope there are easy to follow guidelines to help with simplifying this complex process.
Ravitch, S., Carl, N., (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.