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Qualitative Research

Maurice R. Villafranca RN, CNN, MA




Lecture on Qualitative Research

Research Questions
Data Collection Methods
Qualitative Data Analysis
Qualitative Research

Emphasize understanding of social phenomenon through

direct observation, communication with participants, analysis
of texts and may stress contextual subjective accuracy over

Atkinson (2007), qualitative research is an umbrella term of

all approaches and methodologies with a basic aim of
understanding social reality.
Qualitative Research
Answer Questions on:
Why people behave the way they do?

How opinions and attitudes are formed?

How people are affected by the events that go on around


How and why cultures have developed?

The difference between social groups.

Conventional Qualitative and
Quantitative Differences
Qualitative Quantitative
Detailed description, illustrate The aim is to classify features,
meanings count them, and construct
May only know roughly in advance statistical models in an attempt to
what he/she is looking for explain what is observed
Design emerges as the study Researcher knows clearly in
unfolds advance what he/she is looking for
Researcher is the data gathering All aspects of the study are
instrument carefully designed before data is
Data is in the form of words, collected
pictures or objects There are questionnaires or
Generally subjective individuals equipment to collect numerical
interpretation of events is data
important Data is numerical in nature
Qualitative data is rich, time Objective seeks measurement
consuming and not typically & analysis of target concepts
generalizable Quantitative data is able to test
Tends to be immersed in the hypotheses
subject matter Researcher tends to remain
separated from the subject matter
Types of Qualitative
Case Study
Attempts to shed light on a phenomenon by studying in-depth
a single case example of the phenomena. The case can be an
individual person, an event, a group, or an institution.

Grounded Theory
Theory is developed inductively from a corpus of data
acquired by a participant-observer.
Describes the structures of experience as they present
themselves to consciousness, without recourse to theory,
deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines

Focuses on the sociology of meaning through close
field observation of sociocultural phenomena.
Typically, the ethnographer focuses on a community.
Systematic collection and objective evaluation of data related
to past occurrences in order to test hypotheses concerning
causes, effects, or trends of these events that may help to
explain present events and anticipate future events.
Study of a phenomena describing something that exist as
part of the world.
Phenomena might be: an event, a situation, an experience or
a concept
It begins with the acknowledgement that there is a gap in our
It may not necessarily provide definitive explanations but it
does raise awareness and increase insight.
The term means portrait of people
A methodology for descriptive studies of cultures and peoples
It requires extensive fieldwork by the researchers
Results are expressed as they are expressed by the subjects
These studies might be problematic when researchers are not
familiar with social norms and language.

Pregnancy Among the Iraya Mangyans
Cultural Norms of the Badjao Tribe
Decision-Making Culture of Millenials
Grounded Theory
Development of a new theory through collection and analysis
of data about a phenomenon
It goes beyond phenomenology as the explanation are
genuinely new knowledge and are used to develop theories
Various data collection techniques are used:
Literature review
Documentary analysis

A Grounded Theory on Student Development
On Being and Becoming an Occupational Nurse
Case Study
Case studies might be qualitative or quantitative
In-depth analysis of a single or small number of units or cases
It is used to describe an entity that forms a single unit such as
a person, an organization, or an institution
It offers a rich and in-depth information which is not usually
offered by other methods.
It is highly versatile method and employs any or all methods of
data collection
It can be used for different purposes e.g. development of new
services, organizational changes in planning, purchasing or
delivery of health services, evaluation of a program
The Research Question
The Research Question
Qualitative research questions are open-ended and general
The can change and/or emerge during the study
Most of the time a few general questions are enough then
supported by sub-questions or specific questions
Value-free and exploratory language is used
INSTEAD OF affect, relate, compare, determine, cause
Central Question Script:
What does it mean to _________ (central phenomenon)?

Sub-Question Script
(What) ________________ (aspect) does ____________
(participant) engage in as a ___________ (central phenomenon)?

What are the experiences of mothers who are working as
commercial sex workers?

What are the child-rearing practices does the participant engage in

while working as a commercial sex worker?
Literature Review
Conducting the Literature
Literature review depends on the qualitative tradition the
researcher choses:
Phenomenology Literature review is shallow and delayed until
the central themes are identified.
Employs bracketing or briddling
Reflective Resonance

Ethnography Literature review is conducted prior to immersion

to the community. Focuses on linguistics, customs and traditions.

Grounded, Case Study and Historical Literature review is

conducted thoroughly and comprehensively from the start to the
end of the research process.

What is sampling?

How to sample?

What to sample?

How much to sample?

When in the research process to decide about sampling (a

priori vs ongoing)
Key terms for sampling for each tradition

Key informants
Grounded Theory: Sampling is where to go to obtain the
data (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 201)
Theoretical Sampling
Identifies manifestations of a theoretical construct of interest so as
to elaborate and examine the construct. For example, if you were
interested in studying the theory of resiliency in adults who were
physically abused as children, you would sample people who meet
theory-driven criteria for resiliency.
Phenomenology: Sampling is choosing informants (Cohen et
al., 2000, p. 45)
Case Study: Sampling applies to selecting cases and selecting
data sources that best help us understand the case (Stake,
1995, p. 56)
Sample Sizes in Qualitative
Ethnography and ethnoscience:
MORSE (1994, p.225) 30-50 interviews for both;
BERNARD (2000, p.178) states that most studies are based on
samples between 30-60 interviews for ethnoscience;
Grounded theory methodology:
CRESWELL (1998, p.64) 20-30;
MORSE (1994, p.225) 30-50 interviews.
CRESWELL (1998, p.64) five to 25;
MORSE (1994, p.225) at least six;
All qualitative research:
BERTAUX (1981, p.35) fifteen is the smallest acceptable sample
Saturation is an important topic because it is so widely
discussed in the general qualitative methods literature on
sampling (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Morse, 1994, 1995, 2007;
Sandelowski, 1995).
It usually refers to reaching a point of informational
redundancy where additional data collection contributes little
or nothing new to the study.
Saturation has also become widely recognized as a guide or
indicator that sufficient data collection has been achieved.
Homogeneity (statistics) and
Homogeneity (qualitative)?
Validity and
The issue of reliability and validity in qualitative research can
be addressed by trustworthiness
Trustworthiness no truth
(mapagkakatiwalaan kaysa makatotohanan)
Lincoln and Guba (1985) formulated four (4) criteria in
evaluating qualitative research work
Ethical Consideration
Data Collection Method
Qualitative Data Collection
1. Interviews
May vary based on who or how many will be involved
May vary on the structure
2. Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
6-12 participants
Group dynamic
3. Observation
Contemporary Methods in
Data Collection
Recontextualized Observational Methods
Observation as tentative, situational process
Visual Methodology
Visual sensibilities as source of data
Personal experience of the researcher/researched
Online Ethnography
Classical ethnography in the digital world
Analyzing Talk and Text
Conversational analysis
Indigenous Methodologies/ Data Collection

Metis (local knowledge)

Sikolohiyang Pilipino / SP Methods
Pakapa-kapa (groping, a field method)
Pagtatanong-tanong (asking questions)
Pakikiramdam (shared sensitivities)
Pakikialam (concerned interference)
Pakikilahok (participation)
Pakikisangkot (integral involvement)
Pagdalaw-dalaw (casual but repeated visits)
Qualitative Data
Qualitative Data Analysis
Content Analysis
Thematic Analysis
Content Analysis

Content Analysis is the study of the content with references to

the meanings, contexts, and intentions contained in any form
of material (Prasad, 2008)

It is a research technique that explores the content of various

media in order to discover how particular issues are presented
(Elo & Kyngas, 2008)
Content Analysis
Content Analysis conforms to three (3) basic
scientific principles (Krispendorff, 1990)

Rules must be explicitly established to be able to rule out
subjectivities and biases

Materials used must be collected in a manner that includes other
relevant contents

The results obtained can be applied or seen to other situations
Levels in Content Analysis

Knowledge explicitely presented

Knowledge that is underlying the manifest
How to do Content Analysis

There are many ways in doing content analysis.

Scholars and social thinkers are debating whether to

analyze the content in a quantitative or qualitative

The best way to do content analysis is to establish the

criteria of selection
Criteria of selection
What is the material?
Document, Song, Images, etc.

What is the unit of analysis?

Words, texts, paragraphs, stanza, musical note,
semantics, canvass, etc.

In what manner do we want to analyse the material?

Counting the frequency of words, emphasizing the
intensity of words used, relevance to the research
objective, etc.
The process of doing content

Cluster the Labeling

Open coding codes into these
these groups
groups categories
Tips in coding
Careful transcription (read the text at least 3
Be careful in using too much anecdotal
Consistent checking of codes
Codes must be coherent, consistent, and
Codes are just descriptions, they are not analysis
Look forpre-established criteria (e.g. specific word/s or
group of words)
You look for answers through words/group of words
that seems relevant in answering your research
Recurring words or group of words vs. the
magnitude/intensity of the word
The number of occurrence matters
Patterned meanings/meaningful statements/related
Pattern of reasoning or consistent line of thought
Example coding

Birds have an instinct to build nests and lions have

an instinct to defend their territory...but people eat
animals, thats part of evolution; its just the way
things are...
Sample coding
Birds have an instinct1 to build nests and lions have
an instinct1 to defend their territory...but people eat
animals, thats part of evolution; its just the way
things are2...

Instinct (1)
- its just the way things are/ Natural/Law (2)
Coding framework
Issues and debates in doing
Content Analysis
Content Analysis tends to essentialize everything; texts
have no objective qualities
Meanings are not inherent in a text or any form of media
Achieving reliability or common ground by subjecting
the codes
to review by someone is too ideal
Text or any form of communication is reflective of certain
contexts and power relations; without understanding the
latent meaning, content analysis cannot be achieved
Example Transcript from A Focus Group
Discussion: Research Study on Spirituality
Facilitator: The activity is intended for us to gather the concept of
spirituality. How do we understand spirituality? How comfortable are
you in talking about spirituality?
A: Got strong relationship from father because dad is involved in the
B: Parents go to church and do religious practices especially going to
church and before reciting the rosary
C: Family is very faithful to God since she is a child; they do prayers
every time even when dining
D: Since I was a kid, I was introduced to religious practices by the
family and the school.
E: Family is religious and do religious activities together.
F: Spirituality and religion comes from school.
G: Raised by good family, studied in a Catholic school. Understanding
about spirituality is sharing about what spirituality is for you and for
Codes Generated?
1. Parent Involvement
2. Religious Practices
3. Active Prayer life
4. Praying together
5. Upbringing
6. School influences
7. Strong will
8. School is Catholic
9. Church
10. Sharing spirituality