Auburn DELM 114 - Methods of Qualitative Research

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Subject: DELM 114 METHODS OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCHCourse: DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYMajor: EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENTQUALITATIVE RESEARCH: A REFLECTIONThis course provides an overview of qualitative methodology ineducational research and other fields. Discussions on different approaches toqualitative research, examine research studies, and engage in qualitativeresearch are expected to happen. After exploring the characteristics of qualitativeresearch, the course will investigate different approaches to qualitative research:ethnography, case study, phenomenological inquiry and narrative research,critical research, and postmodern research. Questions of epistemology,positionality, purpose, and ethics will be addressed, and the tensions surroundingthese in each approach will be considered. The course is meant to be anintroduction to qualitative research in education. Having studied the methods of qualitative research, I believe I have grownin my research capabilities and hope to apply what I have learned to mydissertation writing. What I have learned: Nature of Inquiry and Research. Qualitative Research and ItsImportance in Daily Life Learning from Others and Reviewing theLiterature Identifying the Inquiry and Stating the Problem. Learning fromOthers and Reviewing the Literature Understanding Data and Ways to Systematically Collect Data Analyzing the Meaning of the Data and Drawing Conclusions Reporting and Sharing FindingsBased on our discussions research refers to the systematic investigationof different situations to establish facts, solve new or any existing problems anddevelop new theories usually using a scientific method. Research can either bequalitative or quantitative. Qualitative work requires reflection on the part ofresearchers, both before and during the research process, as a way of providingcontext and understanding for readers.In this course, we analyzed the nature of qualitative research with aparticular focus on education, which provides a brief historical background on theevolution of qualitative research and some of the reasons why this approachrepresents a valid rigorous methodology to study social phenomena. Weanalyzed the role of qualitative researcher in terms of the complexity of theobservation process, subjectivity, and ethical issues. Qualitative data collectionand analysis techniques are discussed in relation to particular approaches to thestudy of social concerns, underlying the art of interpretation as a key componentof qualitative research and ethical procedures to guarantee the reliability ofresults.Qualitative research is a complex task therefore, this course provided usthe guidelines that will help understand what is involved in some of the key tasksthat are part of qualitative research like collecting data analyzing it, andinterpreting it, which are not an easy task, and can be done through differentmeans. Finally, the article explains the processes of transcriptions, condensingand processing data, making, and supporting convincing arguments to help thereader understand why this kind of research emerges and to be aware that thereare benefits and risks when applying qualitative research.Knowledge of the dynamics of a social phenomenon can lead to bothbenefits and risks. Considering the fact of dealing with human subjects, there arealways risks that come with findings and their publication. In this sense, Glesne(2015) considers that “voluntary, informed consent neither precludes the abuseof research findings nor creates a symmetrical relationship between researchersand researched, but it does invest research participants with control over theirinvolvement in the inquiry.” Researchers must ensure the confidentiality of thedata collected through observations and interviews, avoiding negativecomments or early conclusions. Dialogue and collaboration between theresearcher and the researched are pivotal before drawing conclusions andpublishing findings. Miles, Huberman, and Saldaña (2014) heighten theimportance of dialogue to guarantee confidentiality and advise researchers “to erron the side of protecting anonymity, if it has been promised, and to rely ondialogue and negotiation before the report is finalized.” This is a matter of justiceto avoid manipulation of vulnerable groups while creating a balance between thebenefits and the risks. An essential element of justice is reciprocity. In this sense,Glesne (2016) establishes that “qualitative researchers find a variety of ways toreciprocate, but whether what they give equals what they get is difficult, if notimpossible, to determine.”To begin qualitative research, researchers must be practical and think interms of time, complexity, and resources. The definition of the researchers fromGeertz is that a “researcher is a person who comes for a visit, a person who hascome to learn, a person who wants to know what it is like to be them.”Qualitative researchers seek to gather a more comprehensive understanding ofactivities related to human behavior and the attributes that rule such behavior.Therefore, researchers must gain their trust and make them feel comfortable;otherwise, investigators will not achieve their research goals. The researchersmust develop intellectual and social skills to accomplish their goals. They shoulddevelop skills in “listening, remembering, balancing talking and listening,observing, recording data and making field notes” (Mason, 2002).There are some key concepts that researchers must consider whencondensing and analyzing qualitative data (Miles, Huberman & Saldaña, 2014): 1. Clustering can be regarded as a way to group data and conceptualizepatterns; that is, to condense (not to reduce) data. It is recommended topay attention to the metaphors that participants use, and the differentmeanings embedded in these metaphors. 2. Counting refers to a technique to avoid biases by means of analyzing thereoccurrences of a phenomenon. This technique allows categorization,generation of

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