Qualitative Research Methods

Dr. N. Nakkeeran Assistant Professor Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar Ph: 91 79 40240444; Mobile – 91 9913388528 Fax: 91 79 40240445 E-mail – nnakkeeran@gmail.com

Communicating across cultures
An English lady decides to buy a house in Switzerland. So she visits Switzerland to see the house. On her return after seeing the house, she realizes that she forgot to see the toilet of her new house. So she writes to the real estate agent asking him about the details of the W.C. The estate agent has very little knowledge of the English language and so asks a parish priest to translate the letter to him. The only equivalent of W.C that the parish priest can think off is the way side chapel. This is the reply the English lady got from him.

Dear Madam, I take great pleasure in informing you that the W.C. is situated nine miles from the house in the center of beautiful pine groves surrounded by lovely grounds. It's capable of holding 250 people and is open only on Sundays and Thursdays. As there are a great number of people expected there during the summer months, I suggest that you come early. Although there is usually a standing room this is an unfortunate situation, especially if you are in the habit of going there regularly. It may be of some interest to you to note that my daughter got married there and it was there where she met her husband first. I can remember the rush for seats there. There were 10 people for each seat usually occupied by one. It will be really wonderful to see the expression on their faces.

It will be very interesting for you to note that a good number of people bring their lunch there and make a day of it while those who can afford to go by car arrive just in time. I would especially recommend you're ladyship to go there only on Thursday's when there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustic is very clear here and the most delicate sounds can be heard everywhere. The newest addition is a bell donated by a wealthy resident of the district. It rings every time a person enters. I shall most delighted to reserve the best possible seat for you where you can be seen by all. My wife is rather delicate and she cannot go there regularly and you will be surprised to note that it's one year since she went there last. Naturally, it pains her very much when the mention of W.C is made to her. Hoping to be of some service to you. Regards, Estate Agent


Qualitative Research Methods

In-depth Techniques
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Key Informant Interview Participant Observation Focus Group Discussion

Key-Informant Interview
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Unstructured –informal interview There is a total lack of structure or control (Everything is negotiable, an informant is free to treat a question as s/he likes) No written set of questions Conducted usually in natural settings No formal role of the interrogator As the study progress the interview may get a little more structured, controlled, and focused. Subsequently an interview guide or checklist may be used

It involves getting close to people and making them feel comfortable enough with your presence so that you can observe and record information about their lives. It involves establishing rapport in a new community Is always combined with informal interviews. Ethnographic work primarily depend on unstructured interview and participant interview

Participant Observation

Focus Group Discussion (FGD)

FGs usually have 6 to 12 members, preferably 8-10 members who are willing to talk on the issue under consideration, plus a moderator and a note-taker. Selection of members is by criteria or through random sampling Members should be homogenous with respect to our issue of our concern Group has to be supportive and nonjudgmental. Participants should ideally speak one at a time.

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Everyone should participate more or less equally. The entire discussions should be recorded - including the verbal and non-verbal communication taking place, speakers' identity, arrival and departure of participants as well as to back-up the moderator. Duration should not be too short or too long. An hour and a half are fine. More than one FGDs have to be conducted Role of moderator is very crucial

Strengths of In-depth Methods

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Very versatile and flexible – can be used with any group, for any situation Very high validity Excellent for establishing rapport To focus by exploring in greater depth the problems to be investigated Research definition & develop hypothesis

Strengths - II

To formulate appropriate questions for more structured survey instruments (or even appropriate messages for education modules) To orient oneself to a new field, to generate vocabularies To bring out variations in responses across groups and over time

Weakness / Situations where Qualitative Methods should not be preferred
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Requires longer time Cannot be used to test hypothesis Cannot be used for wider generalisation Where quantification is the intention

Data recording
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Field Jottings Field Diary Audio / Video tapes Photographs Transcripts Log

Data Reduction
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Coding Notes / Memos - Methodological Notes, Descriptive Notes, Analytic Notes Case Studies Life Histories

Pictorial Representations
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Timelines Flow diagrams Matrices Network diagrams (Classifications) Maps Other Schematic diagrams

Data Analysis

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Inextricably linked with Data collection, data reduction and theory building Concurrent Inductive Iterative Emergent Grounded

Data Analysis (II)
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Find out if an observation is an isolated event or more common / frequent. Look for it in a wide range of situations:
• • • Different Different Different groups areas / locations time

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Is it salient / central? Are there any variants of it? (Including negative cases) Is it indicative of a more basic / fundamental aspect? Content analysis

• Text Management Programs: Atlas Ti, Ethnograph • Quasi statistics

Rapid Assessment Procedures
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Transect (walk). Mapping (Social Mapping, Body Mapping) Seasonal Calendar. Venn/Institutional Diagram. Pie Chart/Histogram. Daily Routine Diagram. Flow/causal Diagram Timelines Indigenous Categories and Terms, Taxonomies, Ethnoclassification

Systematic Techniques
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Free Listing. Pile Sorts. Rating Scales. Rank Order Methods


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