Data Collection And Management Techniques For A Qualitative Research Plan Essay Sample
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Data collected can come from a number of sources. Consequently, there are a number of techniques in data collection depending on the information required and the type of study the researcher is handling. These data collection methods include; observations, interviews, focus groups, questioners, documents and records, ethnographies, case studies and oral history. Information gathering methods in qualitative research, usually comprises of; one on one interaction with the study group; or direct interaction with individuals in a group setting. This paper will look at the main types of qualitative data collection methodologies, namely: observations, interviews, and focus groups.
In a qualitative research, a scientist seeks to use a systematic predefined procedure to answer particular questions pertaining to the individual’s area of study. Further, the researcher finds answers to complex textual descriptions to research questions. For this reason, Observations become the best approaches for research methodologies (University of Surrey, n.d). An observation technique in research entails lengthy note taking as well as descriptive writing about events that are taking place in regards to the research question. In most cases, it is argued that problems with validity may arise due to the presence of the researcher in the test environment (University of Surrey n.d).
Further, arguments state that in natural set-ups, chances of limitation to observed situations are many (University of Surrey n.d). These limitations include, change in study group behavior, probability of judgment and value statement making by the researcher and lastly the researcher may snapshot the entire situation. However, the technique also has its merits in that; it offers the experience of what is happening to the researcher; demonstrates the sub-groups in the research; give a perfect picture of events. Further, observation technique has the capability to assist in the designing the research. There are a number of approaches used in data collection through observation. The methods are, descriptive writing, video recording, photographs, and artifacts (University of Surrey n.d).
Interviews are among the best techniques in qualitative data collection techniques. There are three types of interviews that are used as a technique in research, depending on the questions asked and the response or answer needed. These three interview styles include unstructured, semi-structured, and structured (Gill, Stewart, Treasure & Chadwick, 2008).
A structured interview has schedules that are used; at times, a limited number of answers are needed in responding to these questions the researcher determines the appropriateness of the questions asked. Finally, the same questions are given to different individuals (University of Surrey, n.d).
In unstructured or in-depth interviews, very little structure is used. Here, the researcher decides the topics to tackle or can change a question depending on the response of the interviewee’s previous response (University of Surrey, n.d). Further, the interviewer may allow discussions of further explanation of the response or answer given thus involving the researcher in knowing more about the study topic (Gill et al., 2008).
In semi-structured or focused interviews, there are open-ended questions depending on the researcher’s topics of interest. The interviewer to some extent provides prompts to help the interviewee in tackling questions asked (Thomas, Nelson & Thomas, 1990). The interviewee may elaborate his or her answers since the questions are open-ended thus providing more insight and detail to the topic in question. The interview style gives the interviewer the chance to probe the interviewee for elaboration of answers. Lastly, unstructured interviews work best when the researcher has a number of topics or study areas that he/she wants clarification (Gill et al., 2008).
When analyzing the qualitative data, an individual can use the Nvivo software. The software analyzes and organizes interviews, the textual source, as well as field notes. Nvivo reduces and diminishes the complexity by simplifying difficulty in data collection (Welsh, 2002). Because the software uses coding to analyze and organize data, Nvivo ensures that the information collected is checked thoroughly, methodically, and attentively. Additionally, the software gives the researcher the chance to notice tendencies, themes, and find conclusions from information. Nvivo can aid a researcher in several ways (AlYahmady & Al Abri, 2013).
Managing data: the software does so by organizing data example interviews, surveys, as well as observation notes.
Manage ideas make it easy for the researcher to understand the conceptual and theoretical issues generated in the study.
Query data: the software poses data questions and then answers them. Additionally, it saves the data for further interrogation.
Modeling visual: Nvivo creates graphs, which shows the connection between the theoretical and the conceptual data.
Reporting: the software formulates transcripts from data collected and the results found. (AlYahmady & Al Abri, 2013)
AlYahmady, H., & Al Abri, S. (2013). Using Nvivo for Data Analysis in Qualitative Research. International Interdisciplinary Journal of Education, 2(2), 181-186. Doi:10.12816/0002914
Gill, P., Stewart, K., Treasure, E., & Chadwick, B. (2008). Methods of Data Collection in Qualitative Research: Interviews and Focus groups. Br Dent J, 204(6), 291-295. Doi:10.1038/bdj.2008.192
Thomas, J., Nelson, J., & Thomas, J. (1990). Research Methods in Physical Activity. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics Publishers.
Welsh, E. (2002). Dealing with Data: Using NVivo in the Qualitative Data Analysis Process. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/865/1880
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