Summary from Previous Class
There are two basic research paradigms we focused on:
We brainstormed lots of other words we associate with these two dimensions
of approach to questions, e.g., quantitative-qualitative, hard-soft,
numbers-words, objective-subjective, generalizable-specific, etc., and
discussed some of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. But,
really, I believe, ultimately the method should be driven by the question
itself. Early on in investigation about the question an approach is
likely to more qualitative, whereas on, when we're trying to come up with
precise answers to specific questions we tend to be more quantitative.
We also need to read to realise that these paradigms are not at war; they
are at peace, and can be blended together in the one study (mixed methods).
The main types of qualitative research are:
The main types of data collection are:
Rather than relying solely on people's self-reports of events, or
physiological or institutional data, many researchers prefer to make their
Observations can be made for both qualitative and quantitative research.
In observation, we are generally interested in individual behavior,
social behavior, and the material environment.
Naturalistic observation - Sechrest (1979) suggested that social
attitudes like prejudice are best studied through observation in natural,
real-life situations (e.g., observe seating patterns of black and white
students in college classes)
What % of time do teachers talk in class vs. students talking in class?
Observation is time-consuming, especially if using multiple observers (for
Data collection methods:
Optional Exam Task:
A Mini-Qualitative Observational Study
We will complete an observation and note-taking exercise in class, based on
watching two videos of experiential education programs:
Willing & Able (Outward Bound Australia), 10 minutes
Play for Peace, 12 minutes.
You are required to record your observations and notes. Remember, we
are making qualitative observations, so you may:
"I was utterly and completely disgusted.
I guess part of my problem was that I was disillusioned too - I thought
Janice and Patty were above it. I didn't initiate conversation with
Jenny because it would have targeted here more and I didn't reprimand the
girls in my group because it would possibly have been more embarrassing to
Jenny and I might as well witness what there is to witness, even if its
at any point in the process, you are free to shift the focus of your
observation to new phenomena as new research questions emerge
try to look at behavior and its environmental setting from a holistic
make notes about examples and evidence for or against emerging theories
or meanings of interest
Points of discussion:
What kind of qualitative study are we conducting?
Role of rich introduction, narrative, and contextualizing
What research question(s) are we asking?
What kind of data are you going to collect?
What questions would you like to ask me?
When the movies are over, we will share our notes (and how your
observational note-taking could be improved) and discuss how the data could
be analyzed and written.
You may write up this mini-qualitative study and submit it instead of one of
the three Qualitative Exam tasks.
M. D., Borg, W. R., Gall, J. P. (2003). Educational research: An
introduction. (7th Edition). White Plains, New York: Longman.
Recommended: Skim read:
Merriam, S. (1988).
Being a careful
observer. In S. Merriam. Case study research in education: A
(pp. 87-103). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.