Research Paper: Spotlighting Samplings 4 Qualitative Research

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[. . .] Magilvy and Thomas (2009) explain that "qualitative research data are usually text data, narratives, and stories told by people about their experiences recorded digitally, on tape, on film, or in photographs, or in notes taken by the researcher" (¶ 4). After being analyzed, described and explained, the ensuring retrieved data may offer a detailed account of the experience "as lived."

As explained earlier in the study, research design illustrates the entire research process from the first notion of the research problem, to creating the data, analyzing and explaining the findings and ultimately publishing the results. In addition to the phenomenology method, the survey method, the ethnography method, and the case study method, the methods the current study examines, research designs also include, however, may not be limited to grounded theory, and narrative inquiry. Magilvy and Thomas (2009) explain that as some research designs prove to be somewhat complex, they may "require an understanding of the philosophical and disciplinary underpinnings and specific methods of data generation and analysis" (¶ 5). For some beginning researchers, qualitative descriptive design may prove more appropriate than others as it depicts a traditionally philosophic method of research which any of the key qualitative designs including ethnography, grounded theory, narrative inquiry, phenomenology, and case study methods of research can influence. One crucial element of any study that critically influences the process may be the primary research question. In a qualitative descriptive design study, the primary research question may typically be simple to generate answers within narrow margins that facilitate analysis and observation. At times, the answer may end up being one simple story in which the individual describes the experience they lived. Magilvy and Thomas (2009) explain that "the sample for a qualitative descriptive study is often smaller than in other qualitative designs and is conveniently and purposively selected" (Getting Down to…Section, ¶ 2). The individuals participating in this type of study may have a number of qualifications including:

Experience with the phenomenon being studied, ability to communicate properly with the researcher, and being prepared to communicate their story to the researcher (Magilvy & Thomas, 2009).

The sample size for a qualitative descriptive study can be as little as three to five individuals, but may extend up to 20 participants. Researchers may also choose to use one or more focus groups which may include four to six individuals for each group. Magilvy and Thomas (2009) state that "a small sample can give the novice researcher an opportunity to practice interviewing and recording skills, become a good listener, and generate a manageable amount of data" (Getting down to…Section, ¶ 2). For beginning researchers, a qualitative descriptive study can serve as a guide for research in the future or used to illustrate results of other research like a survey.

For any research design or method pertaining to a particular study, the process for gathering qualitative data, including the interview process, observation, viewing, and contemplating, may be considered, similar to the wrapping of a gift, the outer wrapping of the research process. The researcher should be trained to ask the appropriate questions and sincerely listen to the participants answer(s); one way to begin to carefully peel back the layers. Magilvy and Thomas (2009) state that "the box inside the box parallels the process of data analysis, making sense of a phenomenon and understanding it so to describe it from the other's perspective, and the results of the analysis do not reveal themselves easily or quickly" (Methods of Data…Section, ¶ 3). Over time, as the researcher reads and rereads the data, listens to audio recordings (if available), analyzes notes taken in the field, and clarifies the phenomenon being studied with participants, the findings "open up" to the researcher in the forms of groups, patterns and themes. Some consider the process of qualitative research to comprise a method where the researcher unveils a phenomenon to generate or reveal fresh understandings or proffer a better description of the phenomenon investigated.

The analogy of opening a present can help the researcher avoid being overwhelmed by the tasks of arranging, categorizing and organizing numerous pages of data. Beginning the study method by removing the initial layer of wrapping can replicate the terminology in qualitative research of coding. Magilvy and Thomas (2009) assert that "codes are the repeated words or phrases of the participants found within and across the individual texts. The next step in the analysis process involves 'opening the boxes'" (Methods of data…Section, ¶ 4). Boxes, also considered categories, may be regarded as code words or groups of words assembled, synonymous with a large box, and reassembled, as object inside a small box, to comprise related ideas.

The researcher should then search for relationships; combining similar categories at that point with other groups that possessing similar substance and significance. The last box depicts the theme for the study. The researcher classifies themes by examining and organizing the categories into collective topics. The findings and results from a descriptive study typically portray detailed descriptions; which the participants generally articulate. These in turn, may aid the researcher's comprehension of an individual's experience within the confines of his socio-cultural environment.

The Phenomenology Method

A basic challenge in developing qualitative case studies may be that the researcher must identify the case to be investigated as well as designate which limited system to study, as a number of credible candidates prove plausible for exemplary examinations. John W. Creswell (2007), a Professor of Educational Psychology at Teachers College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, asserts in the book, Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches, that the researcher must also decide whether he will study a single case or multiple ones. When Creswell contrasts phenomenology to narrative analysis, he explains that narrative analysis provides a general template for qualitative researchers. In contrast, phenomenology utilizes specific, structured methods of analysis. Creswell (2007) explains that phenomenology includes the following:

The researcher initially explains individual experiences relating to the phenomenon being examined. The researcher then fully describes his personal experience/s linking to the phenomenon. This potentially helps the researcher apportion his personal experience, and to some extent, helps align the focus spotlight the participants in the study.

The researcher generates a list of significant statements. From the data or interviews, the researcher gathers statements relating to the participants' experiences and lists these reports in order of significance. The researcher, albeit, treats each statement equally, and then works to create a list containing non-repetitive statements.

Next, the researcher groups larger collections of data, "meaning units" or subjects, together.

The researcher describes "what" the participants experienced in regard to the phenomenon. This may be called a "textural description" of the experience and includes what occurred during the experience; citing literal examples.

During the next step, the researcher notes "how" the experience occurred. This step may also be referred to as "structural description." The participant ponders the circumstance and setting where the phenomenon took place.

Ultimately, the researcher writes a combined account of the phenomenon; including textural and structural descriptions. This portion of the study may be considered the "essence" of the experience; representing the concluding portion of the phenomenological study. The final segment of the study may typically comprise an extended paragraph; explaining "what" and "how" the participants experienced the phenomenon. (Creswell, 2007).

Phenomenology research began as a philosophical act, centered on the nature of an experience from the individual experiencing the phenomenon, as know as a "lived experience." Dr. Lynne M. Connelly (2010), Director of Nursing, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas, explains in the journal article, "What is phenomenology?": A phenomenologist researcher analyzes and examines the character or fundamental nature of an experience by means of interviews, observations, or narratives with individuals living an experience that peaks the researcher's attention. Phenomenology centers on consciousness and the meaning of conscious experience, related to emotions, judgments, and perceptions.

Phenomenological research may also focus attention around human beings as embodied beings, conveying that these individuals experience life by means of their physical bodies. Connelly (2010) explains that the phenomenologist desires "to know what the experience was like to live it, not just the person's reaction to the experience. In addition to philosophy, phenomenology as a research method is used in psychology, education, and in health care" (¶ 2). The researcher may utilize two primary venues to conduct phenomenological research, descriptive and interpretive.

In descriptive phenomenology, the researcher needs to attempt to set aside or bracket prior assumptions or prejudice relating to the phenomenon to help ensure these previous perceptions do not affect the research. Interpretive phenomenology or hermeneutic phenomenology contends, albeit, that because particular preconceived ideas regarding the phenomenon comprise a part of it, they cannot be set aside.. The researcher can, however, be aware of the preconceived ideas and how they may affect the study. Before the researcher embarks on the study, he should acknowledge any presuppositions or ideas relating to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Spotlighting Samplings 4 Qualitative Research.  (2011, January 22).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/spotlighting-samplings-4-qualitative/3281706

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"Spotlighting Samplings 4 Qualitative Research."  Essaytown.com.  January 22, 2011.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/spotlighting-samplings-4-qualitative/3281706.