Describe the unique fundamentals of a qualtitative research study, addressing the following:
o Characteristics of a qualitative problem statement
o Characteristics of a qualitative purpose statement
o Formulation of qualitative research questions and hypotheses
o Qualitative data collection procedures
o Qualitative data analysis procedures
It is important to think about that it is not the data themselves which are intrinsically qualitative or quantitative - but how you look at them. Qualitative data is concerned with quality of a phenomenon (what it is like) rather than quantity of it (how much of it, or much difference there is). Qualitative research is employed in many situations and by many disciplines in order for us to gain an understanding of what something is like.
Qualitative methods can tell us:
What it is like to experience something (phenomenology).
e.g. What is it like to be angry? What makes people angry? (Tells us something about people and they experiences they have).
How something can be understood (phenomenology / discourse).
e.g. How do people explain their anger? What are its common features? What variations are there? (Tells us something about relationship between people and culture/society).
How something can be negotiated and constructed in social interaction (narrative / ethnomethodology).
e.g. How do accepted forms for meaningful exchange such as stories or conversations shape our understandings of anger? (Tells us something about relationship between people and culture/society).
How something must be understood (discourse / narrative).
e.g. what are the rules for doing anger? What is permissible, and what is not? (Tells us something about culture and about how different people within society are allowed/not allowed to experience or express anger).
o Characteristics of a qualitative problem statement & Characteristics of a qualitative purpose statement
What is a suitable research question for a qualitative project?
When thinking about what kinds of statements qualitative analysis may attempt to understand and the purpose of those statements the following should be taken into consideration:
? Open not closed research question/problem (as we want to find out about something - extend our understanding and awareness of the subject)
? Exploratory not explanatory (trying to find out what something is like for a person, rather than trying to explain a phenomenon. In this way qualitative research is bottom up, rather than top down - this means it is a starting point for thinking about a phenomenon and not trying to answer specific questions that have already been formulated).
? Focus on meaning (what something is like for someone)
? Answerable, and worth answering
The above concepts need to be taken into consideration when designing a research question and research procedures. The research question that you ask is important and needs to fulfil the criteria above. A good journal article to look at may be this one:
'You've got to have a positive state of mind', An interpretative phenomenological analysis of hope and first episode psychosis.' (Perry et al, 2007).
This article shows how the authors have used qualitative methods to help them to understand a complex phenomenon. They have not tried to answer a question, but rather are interested in what it is like for someone to have psychosis and how hope relates to people ...
The solution examines the fundamentals of qualitative research studies. The characteristics of a qualitative purpose statement is determined.
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