The Research Process
Where will I be getting my source of information from?
Existing Information – Records, Reports, Logs and Journals
People – Participants, Parents and Teachers
Observations – Video, Photo’s and Artwork
Common Methods Used
- Case Study
- Group Assessment
- Portfolio Reviews
- Document Review
The quantitative methods most commonly include, surveys, questionaries”, tests and using existing databases. The qualitative methods include, focus groups, unstructured interviews and unstructured observations.
- Quantitative methods produce numbers
- Qualitative methods produce words
Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, often however it is good practise to you more than one research method at one time. This is called ‘Triangulation’. This is important if we want to have accurate and varied results.
Triangulation – The use of multiple sources and methods.
Recurring, reflecting, recording and authenticating
Recurring – We do not all take in or perceive the world in the same way. Therefore, different observes will see different things to yourself and see your research differently to yourself.
Reflecting – It is very difficult for researchers to be objective about their own work. Another difficulty is being unbiased when reflecting on your own expectations.
Recording – The recording of data will vary depending on the level of participation and structure of the observations.
Authenticating – It is important to implement credibility in my methodological plan. This should be done through thoroughness and confirmation.
- All data methods are capable of gathering quantitative and qualitative data.
- There is no single data method that can guarantee credible data.
Stages of Data Coding
Coding qualitative data.
Miles and Huberman (1994). “Codes are tags or labels for assigning units of meaning to the descriptive or inferential information complied during a study. Codes are usually attached to chairs of varying sizes, words, phrases, sentences or entire paragraphs.”
Codes should be:
- Mutually exclusive
The data is carefully read, all statements relating to the research question are identified. These codes are then noted, and each relevant statement is organised under its appropriate code.
Using the codes, the researcher records the qualitative data and searchers for statements that may fit into any of these categories. Further coding may also be developed in this stage.
Once these stages are complete, the researcher should be able to ask themselves these questions and become more analytical.
- Can I relate certain codes together under a more general code?
- Can I organise sequentially
- Can I identify any casual relationships
The forth stage is selective coding, this includes reading through the raw data that explain the concepts. The researcher should also look for data that is contradictory, as it is important not to be selective. I must avoid what is referred to as confirmation bias, or the tendency to seek evidence out that supports my own beliefs.
What to look for ?
- I should look for patterns and regulations that occur.
- Try to identify key words to help try and make sure of the data
- Look for statements that not only support my theories, but also refute them
- To build a comprehensive picture
Using raw data to support analysis
As a rule of thumb, I should use direct quotes from observations only when:
- They describe a phenomenon well
- Show cases or instances that are unusual
- To show data that is unexpected
Member Validation – As someone to critically comment upon the accuracy of my findings.
Triangulation – Combining the analysis with findings from different data sources is useful as a means to demonstrate trustworthiness is the analysis.
The Audit Trail – To ensure reliability, all research should have an audit trail by which others are able to judge the process through which the research has been conducted.
Reflexity – Means that researchers critically reflect on their own rule written the whole of the data collecting process.
- Although qualitative and quantitative are different in nature, but try to seek valid conclusions and avoid errors.
- There are a number of ways to approach qualitative analysis
- Three key stages.
- Data reduction
- Data display
- Data reduction takes place through a process of coding.