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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Pub!"at!ons.
• O#er#!e$
• %hen $e use the &hrase qualitative research and evaluation data !n
our field, $e 'enera( )ean ra$, des"r!&t!#e !n*or)at!on about:
• &ro'ra)s+&rodu"ts and the &eo&e $ho &art!"!&ate !n+use the) or
are a**e"ted b( the).
• &ro'ra)s+&rodu"ts and the &eo&e $ho de#eo& or use the).
• Three data 'ather!n' strate'!es t(&!"a( "hara"ter!,e -ua!tat!#e
)ethodoo'(: !, o&en.ended !nter#!e$s/ d!re"t obser#at!on/
and $r!tten do"u)ents (!n"ud!n' &ro'ra) re"ords, &ersona d!ar!es,
o's, et".).
• 0ata *ro) !nter#!e$s, obser#at!ons and do"u)ent re#!e$s are
or'an!,ed !nto )a1or the)es, "ate'or!es, and "ase e2a)&es. The
)ost "o))on strate'( *or ana(,!n' -ua!tat!#e data !s constant-
comparison, but there are )an( other te"hn!-ues *ro) $h!"h to
• There are a #ar!et( o* $a(s to re&ort the resuts o* -ua!tat!#e
resear"h+e#auat!on/ "o))on a)on' the) !s the sense o* stor( 3
$h!"h !n"udes: attent!on to deta!, des"r!&t!#e #o"abuar(, d!re"t
-uotes *ro) those obser#ed or !nter#!e$ed, and the)at!"
• Qua!tat!#e )ethods &er)!t the e#auator to stud( see"ted !ssues,
"ases, or e#ents !n de&th and deta!. 0ata "oe"t!on !s not "onstra!ned
b( &redeter)!ned "ate'or!es o* ana(s!s, ao$!n' *or a e#e o* de&th
and deta! that -uant!tat!#e strate'!es "an4t &ro#!de.
• Quant!tat!#e a&&roa"hes ao$ *or ar'e.s"ae )easure)ent o* !deas,
be!e*s, and att!tudes. 5ut 'enera(, the set o* -uest!ons !s !)!ted6
*a"!!tat!n' "o)&ar!son and stat!st!"a a''re'at!on o* the data. Th!s
ao$s *or de#eo&)ent o* a 'enera!,abe set o* *!nd!n's. 5( "ontrast,
-ua!tat!#e )ethods t(&!"a( &rodu"e a $eath o* deta!ed data about
a de*!ned nu)ber o* &eo&e and "ases6data that need not *!t !nto
&redeter)!ned res&onse "ho!"es that "hara"ter!,e )ost sur#e(s,
-uest!onna!res, or tests.
• A )!2 o* -ua!tat!#e and -uant!tat!#e data 'ather!n' enr!"hes
e#auat!on/ the o&en.ended "o))ents &ro#!de a $a( to eaborate and
"onte2tua!,e stat!st!"a 7*a"ts.7
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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary
• The)es !n -ua!tat!#e )ethods
• =atura!st!" !n-u!r(
Qua!tat!#e des!'ns are naturalistic to the e2tent that the e#auator
does not atte)&t to )an!&uate the &ro'ra) or !ts &art!"!&ants *or
&ur&oses o* the e#auat!on.
Naturalistic inquiry is particularly useful for studying variations
in program implementation be"ause $hat ha&&ens !n a &ro'ra)
o*ten #ar!es o#er t!)e as &art!"!&ants and "ond!t!ons "han'e. As
!)&ortant, &ro'ra)s or &rodu"ts !)&e)ented !n )an( d!**erent
o"at!ons $! )an!*est !)&ortant d!**eren"es. =atura!st!" !n-u!r( !s
$e su!ted to the resear"her !nterested !n *o"us!n' on unanticipated
or unintended outcomes s!n"e the resear"her !s not o"ked !nto
e2a)!nat!on o* &redeter)!ned #ar!abes.
The de"!s!on to use natura!st!" !n-u!r(6or an( other a&&roa"h *or that
)atter6!s a design !ssue. 0es!'n -uest!ons are, o* "ourse, se&arate
*ro) an( !ssues a resear"her *a"es !n ter)s o* $hat k!nd o* data to
"oe"t (-ua!tat!#e, -uant!tat!#e) and ho$ to "oe"t !t (!nter#!e$s,
sur#e(s, obser#at!ons).
• >ndu"t!#e !n-u!r(
Qua!tat!#e )ethods are &art!"uar( $!ted to e2&orat!on,
d!s"o#er( and inductive logic. An e#auat!on a&&roa"h !s !ndu"t!#e to
the e2tent that the e#auator atte)&ts to )ake sense o* the s!tuat!on
$!thout !)&os!n' &re.e2!st!n' e2&e"tat!ons on the sett!n'. >ndu"t!#e
des!'ns be'!n $!th s&e"!*!" obser#at!ons and bu!d to$ard 'enera
How does this approach differ from the traditional hypothetical-
deductive approach of experimental research?
0edu"t!#e reason!n' eads resear"hers to )easure reat!#e atta!n)ent
o* &redeter)!ned, "ear and s&e"!*!" 'oas. >ndu"t!#e reason!n' eads
resear"hers to *o"us )ore on &ro'ra) or &rodu"t !)&a"ts and e**e"ts.
On a &ra"t!"a e#e, ho$e#er, )ost e#auators *oo$ a s"he)e !n
$h!"h dedu"t!#e and !ndu"t!#e reason!n' are "o)b!ned.
• 9!ed$ork
9!ed$ork !s the "entra a"t!#!t( o* -ua!tat!#e data 'ather!n'. To be !n
the *!ed )eans to ha#e d!re"t, &ersona "onta"t $!th &eo&e !n the!r
o$n en#!ron)ents. >t !s the resear"her4s des!re to "onte2tua!,e
&ro'ra) or &rodu"t !)&e)entat!on that ao$s h!)+her to "a&ture
!)&ortant 7resuts7 (e**e"ts, out"o)es) that standard!,ed )easures
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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary
• The ho!st!" #!e$
Most -ua!tat!#e e#auators str!#e to understand &ro'ra)s and
s!tuat!ons as a $hoe/ there !s an on'o!n' sear"h *or tota!t( .. 7the
un!*(!n' nature o* &art!"uar sett!n's.7 A ho!st!" stan"e assu)es that
understand!n' o* a &ro'ra) or &rodu"t de&ends on a$areness o* !ts
&o!t!"a and so"!a "onte2ts. A ho!st!" outook ao$s the e#auator to
be attent!#e to nuan"e, sett!n', and !d!os(n"ras!es.
• %hen to use -ua!tat!#e )ethods
• Process studies ($h!"h are a!)ed at understand!n' the !nterna
d(na)!"s o* &ro'ra) o&erat!ons). A &ro"ess *o"us !)&!es e)&has!,!n'
how a &rodu"t or out"o)e !s &rodu"ed (rather than the &rodu"t or
out"o)e !tse*).
• Assessing individualized outcomes (ho$ $e a &ro'ra) or &rodu"t
)eets !nd!#!dua needs).
• Implementation (earn!n' ho$ and the e2tent to $h!"h a &rodu"t or
&ro'ra) $as a"tua( o&erat!ona!,ed+!)&e)ented).
• escri!ing diversity a"ross s!tes $here a &ro'ra) or &rodu"t !s 7used.7
• Quality issues (reat!#e -ua!t(/ -ua!t( assuran"e)
• "egislative monitoring
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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary
%e!ss, C. ?. (<@@A). #valuation methods for studying programs and policies
ed.). B&&er Sadde C!#er, =D: Prent!"e ?a.
Ad#anta'es o* -ua!tat!#e data ana(s!s:
• Greater a$areness o* the &ers&e"t!#es o* &ro'ra) &art!"!&ants (or
&rodu"t users)
• Ca&ab!!t( *or understand!n' d(na)!" de#eo&)ents !n a &ro'ra)
(&ro"ess) as !t e#o#es
• A$areness o* t!)e and h!stor(
• Sens!t!#!t( to the !n*uen"e o* "onte2t
• Ab!!t( to Eenter the &ro'ra) s"eneF $!thout "ontr!#ed &re"on"e&t!ons G
a )ore *u!d a&&roa"h to *!nd!n' out E$hat:s ha&&en!n'F
• Aertness to unant!"!&ated and un&anned e#ents
%e!ss re&orts on the $ork o* M!es and ?uber)an
$ho note se#era t(&es
o* sa)&!n' )ethods that )a( be a&&ro&r!ate:
• O&&ortun!st!" sa)&!n'
Tak!n' ad#anta'e o* o&&ortun!t!es that o&en u&.
• Con#en!en"e sa)&!n'
Go!n' to s!tes or $!tness!n' e#ents that are eas!er to 'et to (or arran'e)
G and $here &eo&e are )ost "oo&erat!#e.
• Sno$ba sa)&!n'
Start!n' $!th one s!te or e#ent, earn!n' *ro) &eo&e there $h!"h other
s!tes (or e#ents) )!'ht be ree#ant to the stud(, and then a"t!n' on th!s
!n*or)at!on to see"t other e#ents+s!tes throu'hout the !*e o* the &ro1e"t
(an a&&roa"h $e used $!th the BS> &ro*ess!ona de#eo&)ent
• E2e)&ar( "ases (an a&&roa"h $e4#e taken o#er t!)e $!th the
Tr!ton+Patterns e#auat!ons)
Other !ssues:
• 0e"!d!n' $!th $ho) to s&eak and $ho to obser#e
M!es, M.5., H ?uber)an, A. M. (<@@;). Qualitative data analysis$ An expanded
source!oo% (2
ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Pub!"at!ons.
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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary
• 0eter)!n!n' t!)e *ra)es *or obser#at!on and !nter#!e$!n' (ho$ on',
ho$ o*ten, $hat to e2"ude6ho!da(s &er!ods, *or e2a)&e)
0ata t(&es:
• Ethno'ra&h(: The a&&roa"h anthro&oo'!sts use !n stud(!n' a "uture.
Ethno'ra&h( "as *or tota !))ers!on and !))ense "o))!t)ent.
• Part!"!&ant.obser#er: Obser#at!on o* a Es"eneF b( a resear"her $ho takes
&art !n &ro'ra) a"t!#!t!es and e#ents. (The durat!on )a( be on'. or
short.ter), but de*!n!te( CA==OT be h!
• Obser#er on(: =on&art!"!&at!on on the &art o* the resear"hers. ?e or she
has no !ntent!on o* tak!n' &art !n &ro'ra) a"t!#!t!es or e#ents. A'a!n,
obser#at!on )a( be short or on'.ter) (de&end!n' on the
s!tuat!on+sett!n' and the t(&e o* data des!red), but !t !s not ha&ha,ard.
• >n*or)a !nter#!e$!n'
• 0o"u)ent 'ather!n' and re#!e$
• Ph(s!"a e#!den"e
• Case stud(: Part!"uar( use*u $hen one needs to understand so)e
&art!"uar &ro'ra) or s!tuat!on !n 'reat de&th. Cases that are $e.
see"ted are !n*or)at!on.r!"h .. !n essen"e )a1or !)&a"ts+e**e"ts )a( be
'eaned *ro) 1ust a *e$ e2e)&ars o* a &heno)ena.
Fraenkel and Wallen (see course website for citation
The authors o* th!s resear"h te2t s&eak to *!#e )a1or *eatures o* -ua!tat!#e
• The natura sett!n' !s the d!re"t sour"e o* data, and the resear"her !s the
ke( !nstru)ent
• Qua!tat!#e data are "oe"ted !n the *or) o* $ords or &!"tures rather than
• Qua!tat!#e resear"hers are "on"erned $!th &ro"ess as $e as &rodu"t
• Qua!tat!#e resear"hers tend to ana(,e the!r data !ndu"t!#e( 3
"onstru"t!n' a &!"ture that takes sha&e as the( "oe"t and e2a)!ne the
• ?o$ &eo&e )ake sense o* the!r !#es !s a )a1or resear"h "on"ern
Take the t!)e needed to "are*u( re#!e$ the resour"es $e:#e &ro#!ded on
-ua!tat!#e resear"h+e#auat!on. Athou'h -ua!tat!#e te"hn!-ues )a( not
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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary
str!ke (ou as *eas!be+&ra"t!"a r!'ht no$, the )ater!a !tse* !s #er( use*u
and -u!te readabe.
Data gathering strategies
• 9o"us 'rou& *ro) Patton4s &ers&e"t!#e
The *o"us 'rou& !nter#!e$ !s an !nter#!e$ $!th a s)a 'rou& o* &eo&e
on a s&e"!*!" to&!". A 'rou& !s t(&!"a( "o)&osed o* J to A &eo&e $ho
&art!"!&ate !n the !nter#!e$ *or one.ha* to t$o hours.
The *o"us 'rou& !nter#!e$ !s !ndeed an interview. >t !s not a d!s"uss!on.
>t !s not a &robe).so#!n' sess!on. >t !s not a de"!s!on.)ak!n' 'rou&.
T(&!"a(, &art!"!&ants are a reat!#e( ho)o'eneous 'rou& o* &eo&e
$ho are asked to re*e"t on the -uest!ons that the !nter#!e$er &oses.
Part!"!&ants 'et to hear ea"h other:s res&onses and to )ake add!t!ona
"o))ents be(ond the!r o$n or!'!na res&onses as the( hear $hat other
&eo&e ha#e to sa(. KTe"hn!-ues $!th $h!"h the *o"us 'rou& )a( be
"o)&ared are the 0e&h! or the no)!na 'rou&.L >t !s not ne"essar( *or
the 'rou& to rea"h "onsensus, nor !s !t ne"essar( *or &eo&e to
d!sa'ree. &he o!'ective is to get high-quality data in a social context
where people can consider their own views in light of the views of
• Case stud(
%e!ss: A "ase stud( !s a $a( o* or'an!,!n' data so as to kee& the *o"us
on totality. One $ho "ondu"ts "ase stud!es tr!es to "ons!der the
!nterreat!onsh!&s a)on' &eo&e, !nst!tut!ons, e#ents, and be!e*s.
Cather than break!n' the) do$n !nto se&arate !te)s *or ana(s!s, the
resear"her seeks to kee& a ee)ents o* the s!tuat!on !n s!'ht at on"e.
The $at"h$ord !s holistic.
M!n (<@@;) de*!nes the "ase stud( as e)&!r!"a !n-u!r(
that !n#est!'ates
a &heno)enon !n a natura sett!n' $hen the boundar!es bet$een the
&heno)enon and !ts "onte2t are not "ear, us!n' )ut!&e sour"es o*
e#!den"e. The de*!n!n' *eature !s the e2&orat!on o* "o)&e2 rea.!*e
!ntera"t!ons as a "o)&os!te $hoe.
Cohen and Man!on
: Bn!ke the e2&er!)enter $ho )an!&uates #ar!abes
to deter)!ne the!r "ausa s!'n!*!"an"e or the sur#e(or $ho asks
standard!,ed -uest!ons o* ar'e, re&resentat!#e sa)&es o* !nd!#!duas,
the "ase stud( resear"her t(&!"a( obser#es the "hara"ter!st!"s o* an
!nd!#!dua un!t..a "h!d, a "ass, a s"hoo, a "o))un!t( G
5ased on obser#abe e#!den"e
Cohen, N., Man!on, N., H Morr!son, O. (2000). )esearch methods in education( (I
=e$ Mork: 9a)!n'o Press.
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Qualitative Data Gathering: A Summary
The &ur&ose o* su"h obser#at!on !s to &robe dee&( and to ana(,e
!ntens!#e( the E)ut!*ar!ous &heno)enaF that "onst!tute the !*e "("e
o* the un!t $!th a #!e$ to estab!sh!n' 'enera!,at!ons about the $!der
&o&uat!on to $h!"h that un!t beon's.
The "ase stud( 'enera( e)&o(s both participant and nonparticipant
Case stud!es ao$ #ar!at!on+!nd!#!dua d!**eren"es to be *u( re"o'n!,ed
and "hara"ter!,ed. The unit of analysis )a( be a &erson, an e#ent, a
&ro'ra), a t!)e &er!od, a "assroo), a "r!t!"a !n"!dent, a "o))un!t( 3
the &oss!b!!t!es are endess. Ce'ardess o* the un!t o* ana(s!s, a "ase
stud( seeks to des"r!be that un!t !n de&th 3 !n deta! 3 !n "onte2t 3
ho!st!"a(. The )ore a &ro'ra) or &rodu"t a!)s *or !nd!#!dua!,ed
out"o)es, the 'reater the a&&ro&r!ateness o* -ua!tat!#e "ase )ethods.
• Tr!an'uat!on 3 VERY critical to understand
Patton: There are se#era t(&es o* tr!an'uat!on. The *our )ost
"o))on( re"o'n!,ed !n"ude:
ata triangulation 3 the use o* a #ar!et( o* data sour"es !n a stud(, *or
e2a)&e, !nter#!e$!n' &eo&e !n d!**erent status &os!t!ons or $!th
d!**erent &o!nts o* #!e$
Investigator triangulation 3 the use o* se#era d!**erent e#auators or
so"!a s"!ent!sts
&heory triangulation 3 the use o* )ut!&e &ers&e"t!#es to !nter&ret a
s!n'e set o* data
*ethodological triangulation 3 the use o* )ut!&e )ethods to stud( a
s!n'e &robe) or &ro'ra) (e.'., !nter#!e$s, obser#at!ons,
-uest!onna!res, do"u)ents).
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