Published on February 20, 2014
Qualitative Research Approaches 1) Surveys/questionnaires/forms 1) Focus groups 1) Interviews 1) Content Analysis
Sampling strategy • Does your sample represent a subgroup of a larger population? 1) Random sampling 2) Systematic random sampling 3) Stratified random sampling 4) Convenience sampling 5) Snowball sampling
IRBs • The purpose is to be advised of both the potential risks from participation and the possible benefits. Risk/benefit ratio. • IRBs often decide if someone can or can not participate in a study. • Information pertained or reported can not identify the subject • The study does not put subject at risk of criminal or civil liability, damage employability, reputation, or financial standing • Need consent active or passive, informed or implied.
Data Storage, Retrieval and Analysis 1) DATA REDUCTION– data needs to be reduced and transformed in order to make them more readily accessible, understandable and to draw out various themes and patterns. Focuses and simplifies raw data into more manageable form. • Written summaries • Computer-based textual analysis • Coding • Identification of themes
Data Storage, Retrieval and Analysis 2) Data Display – represent data in an organized, compressed assembly of information • Tables of data • Tally sheets of themes • Proportions of statements, phrases, or terms
Data Storage, Retrieval and Analysis 3) Conclusions and Verification – throughout the research process, the investigator makes informed evaluations either based on existing literature or on data that is collected. Experienced researchers do not have preconceived notions. • Verification on conclusions can be made by retracing steps to this conclusion OR/AND • Enlisting an outside investigator to analyze the data.
Recruiting • Inadequate recruiting is often single most common source of problems • Telephone screening • Social media • Flyers • Targeted audience • Incentives
Focus Group • An interview style designed for small groups • Researchers goal is to learn through open discussion. • They are either guided or unguided discussions addressing a particular topic of interest or relevance to the group
Pros & Cons • Highly flexible • Permits observation of interactions • Allows researchers to access substantive content of views, opinions, & experiences • Can produce speedy results • Low cost • Places participants on even footing with each other and moderator • Doesn’t allow the depth of a face to face. • Not as much rich observational data as observing groups over weeks or days • More difficult to obtain a detailed pursuit of content
Thoughts on Focus groups • Will participants bias each other? • May invoke more of a discussion than one-on-one interview. • But participants voice may not be heard. • Can get a larger amount of data than one-on-one. • Will the PI moderate or a pillar in the community? • Who will participate? • How structured? – what level of moderation? • Size of the group, number of groups? • Set a time limit.
Rules of thumb • Homogenous strangers as participants • Rely on relatively structured interview with high moderator involvement • 6-10 participants per group • Total of 3 -5 groups per project *Reality, rarely are all 4 criteria met*
Level of structure • Less structured focus groups, often good for exploratory research. • Difficult to compare from group to group.
Effective focus group have: • Range – cover the maximum range of relevant topics • Specificity – provide specific data • Depth – fosters interactions that explore the participants’ feelings in some depth. • Personal context – take into account personal context in regard to participants response.
Getting started • Ice-breaker. • Want to have participant give a meaningful response to the first question. Therefore, it should be easy. • Want it to be a question that discourages “groupthink” • A good strategy is to have participants take a few minutes and write down some ideas and thoughts before they answer.
The site • Participants need to feel comfortable but research needs to be able to record session. • Most basic element needed is a table. • Consider how you will record session and how this can be done with the seating arrangement. • Do you want an assistant? • Added questionnaires can focus the group ahead of time and provide extra info, but might not work for late comers. • Questionnaires after the session may be biased by the session.
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