yFundamentals of Qualitative Research Jamye D. Jeter Cameron Submitted to Dr. Curtis Maybee University of Phoenix Fundamentals of Qualitative Research When a researcher sets out to begin a study, he or she must begin by asking questions of him or herself. These questions lead to the determination of the type of research study the researcher is going to conduct. The study may be based on qualitative research, quantitative research, or both. But, in order to determine the study method and design choice, the researcher needs to see what is fueling his or her research question.
Research questions based on quantitative research focuses on obtaining data that can be measured, usually in some form or numerical/statistical manner (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). Qualitative research is based more on why certain phenomenon take place and what can be done to better understand why the phenomenon took place at all (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). This paper will serve as a brief overview of the fundamentals of qualitative research.
Through this paper, the reader should be able to receive a basic understanding of the characteristics of a qualitative problem statement and purpose statement; formulation of qualitative research questions; and qualitative data collection and analysis procedures. Characteristics of a Qualitative Problem Statement According to Leedy & Ormrod (2010), “qualitative researchers often formulate general research problems, and ask only general questions about the phenomenon they are studying” (p. 136).
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By taking this approach, the problem statement in a qualitative study may come across somewhat vague. The problem statement will attempt to be as direct as possible, and will hopefully detail why the researcher selected qualitative over quantitative research. However, the fascinating thing about qualitative studies is there is always room to evolve and further develop the study based on the information and data collected (Rubin, 2007, Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). The problem statement guides the researcher’s interest from the stage of curiosity to the stage of being a specific statement.
The problem statement will also explain why the researcher feels their particular topic is important and what has already been researched in this particular area (Rubin, 2007). Characteristics of a Qualitative Purpose Statement The purpose statement of a qualitative research study, much like that of quantitative studies, gives an account of the purpose or intention of the study (Jenkins, 2009). The purpose statement is specific and addresses some information gaps that may exist in what is currently known from previous studies (Merriam, 2002).
Researchers may often time take on a study of a phenomenon merely because this is not an abundance of research material about the phenomenon (Merriam, 2002). This can lead to the researcher having the ability to build his or her hypothesis or theory as information is gathered. However, the purpose statement will need to identify the data collection methods chosen, and reveal the possible research questions that will be explored. Formulation of Qualitative Research Questions When trying to determine the research questions that will need to be asked, the researcher must understand what or whom, he or she is trying to research.
A means to make this determination, the researcher can select a sample from which he or she believes to be the most informative and beneficial to the research (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). This process is called a purposive or purposeful sample. When making a sample selection, the researcher must also make a determination of what the criteria of the sample will be; for example male or female; certain ages, ethnicity or heights; certain occupations; etc. Once the sample size and criteria is determined, the researcher will then be able to develop questions that can be posed to the sample group to get the information needed for the study.
Data Collection and Analysis The areas of data collection and analysis go hand and hand. In order to analyze the data, the researcher must first collect the data. According to Leedy & Ormrod, 2010, “there are three major sources of data for qualitative studies – interviews, observations, and documents” (p. 23). If is up to the researcher to determine what process of research is best for the study he or she is conducting. There are times when only one method is used, but then there are times when more than one method is used. However, the researcher may identify his or her primary method (Rubin, 2007).
It is also possible to utilize the internet and worldwide web to collect information for the study also. After the data is collected, the researcher must be able to analyze the data. The truth is the data analysis is usually simultaneous with the data collection stage (Rubin, 2007). From the time the first interview takes place or observation begins, the researcher should already be analyzing what he or she has learned. By doing so, the researcher can eliminate the possibility of being overwhelmed with information at the conclusion of the data collection process.
While analyzing, the information collected, the researcher can break up what he or she learns into categories (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). The use of these categories will help identify any patterns of behavior or occurrence that may exist. References Jenkins, L. (2009). Fundamentals of quantitative research: Considerations in research methodology. Retrieved from the website: www. academicwriting. suite101. com on July 18, 2010. Leedy, P. and Ormrod, E. (2010). Practical research: Planning and design, 9ed. Merrill. Pearson Education. Merriam, S. B. (2002).
Introduction to qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Rubin, A. (2007). Practitioner’s guide to using research for evidence-based practice. New York: Wiley Fundamentals of Qualitative Research Part 2 Based upon Prospectus II * How does the problem statement align with the approach communicated in the purpose section? The problem statement aligned with the outlined approach. The problem was determined to be that qualified teachers are turning down jobs at low performing schools. The approach was to take surveys and interviews to find out why this is occurring. How does the purpose of the study inform the way in which the research questions are written? The purpose statement tells that the researcher will use in-depth open-ended interviews and questionnaires given to 100 current teachers, who have at least turned down employment at one low performing school.
Do the research questions adequately address the problem as detailed by the researcher? Why or why not? In my opinion, the research question shown, while pertinent to the outcome, seems a little vague. Perhaps, if there was one than one research question posed, there may have been a little more clarity. Does the wording of the purpose statement and research question suggest the methodology used in the study? How? Yes, the wording in the purpose statement and research question suggest the methodology used in the study. In the purpose statement, it begins with in this qualitative study… That is telling the reader, this is definitely going to be a qualitative research study. In the research question, there is a lot of implication as to what and why. Typically, who, what, why and how are signs that the study is going to be centered on qualitative research methodology.
Does the methodology employed adequately address all aspects of the problem detailed by the researcher? Why or Why not? The use of interviews and questionnaires seemingly will produce the results the researcher is looking for. * Do all elements of the project’s design work together in a cohesive and logical manner? Why or Why not? Yes, the components presented for this project, did work together in a cohesive and logical manner. The information flowed well, and was very easy to read and understand what the project was focusing on, and how the researcher planned to get to that point.
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