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of Research Why Bother with Philosophy? “Every Research tool or procedure is inextricably embedded to commitments to particular visions of the world and to knowing that world….No technique or method of investigation is self validating…they operate only within a given set of assumptions about the nature of society, the nature of human beings, the relationship between the two and how they may be known.” Hughes Research Methodology refers to the procedural framework within which the research is conducted. Research Methodology is an operational framework within which the facts are placed so that their meaning is seen more clearly (Leedy) Empirical research and Theoretical research Empirical research is based on and guided by the results of observation and experiment. Evidence as opposed to thought or discourse is able to make a satisfactory claim to have added to the body of knowledge. The Theorist studies the subject through available writings and through discourse with learned individuals. He or she then reflects on ideas and using his or her intellect constructs a new set of ideas or a different perspective of the situation. The Positivist Approach The researcher is an Objective analyst of a tangible social reality. The researcher is independent of and neither affects nor is affected by what is being observed. It is assumed that in a situation there are Causes that lead to Effects. These causes are independent of the people in the situation. The aim of the study is to understand these laws of Cause and Effect which are considered universal. The aim of the study is to identify variables involved in a phenomenon and construct a model or a theory which explains the linkage between Cause and Effect. These theories are tested against empirical evidence through observation and experimentation. Modern Science is predominantly Positivist. Research in the Positivist tradition would mean uncovering objective and universally valid facts by following clear procedures and rules, which include carefully controlled observations of empirical phenomena, impartial and logical argumentation, and objective analysis, i.e. the elimination of interpretation by the researcher. This approach assumes that Reality is “out there” and can be uncovered. Nature will reveal its secrets in an unambiguous way to those who accurately follow the methods of natural science. These methods emphasise measurement and quantification.
Positivism makes explanatory statements about the world and not normative ones; it distinguishes between “what is” and “what should be”. Eg Science is considered value free. Modern Science assumes that: Humans have powers of reasoning Application of reason results in discovery of Universal Laws of Cause and Effect Universality means that there is order / regularity Order / regularity means that phenomena can be predicted and or controlled. The Phenomenological Approach Phenomenology is a theoretical viewpoint that advocates the study of direct experience taken at face value: and one which sees behaviour as determined by the phenomena of experience rather than by external, objective and physically described reality. (Cohen and Manion) Phenomenology focuses on the primacy of subjective consciousness. Each situation is unique and its meaning is a function of the circumstances and the individuals involved. Humans always make meanings of their experience of the world; phenomenology seeks to understand the “meaning” that is important to human beings in a situation or context. It is primarily interested in how groups of people construct, express, and communicate meaning as they engage with the world and with one another. Phenomenology involves the study of the lived experience or life world of actors in the settings under analysis in terms of the meanings that the actors have constructed of their experiences. Human beings do not simply grasp the world; they instead make meaning from the chaotic flow of experience. Human beings are Sense Makers. These meanings are not present “in” the world to be revealed, but rather are constructed from our interactions. Human beings bring with them A Priori knowledge of the world to a situation; this knowledge shapes and filters perception. This knowledge intercedes between what is sensed and ‘sense data”, the thing that is perceived or the phenomenon. A Priori knowledge consists of all our experiences from the past, our class, caste, community, gender etc. This lived experience shapes all our future experience which in turn reshapes our past lived experience. This lived experience can be understood as the Self. Thus all knowledge is an interpretation of the world, a sense making process rather than just simple “grasping”. Human actions and artifacts are projections and embodiments of meaning. Social realities are different for different people, multiple meanings and multiple realities exist. The researcher is not independent of what is being studied, but is an intrinsic part of it. The researcher seeks to understand phenomena in depth, in terms of the meaning held by actors in the situation under study. The researcher seeks answers to questions of What, Why, and How. People cannot be understood outside of the context of their ongoing relationships with other people or separate from their interconnectedness with the world – Clarkson. The researcher understands that his or her A priori knowledge is used to interpret the phenomenon under study. Researchers are subject to cultural and social prejudices as well as
values and beliefs. Phenomenological study requires the researcher to understand his or her “world view”. Positivism vs. Phenomenology Basic Beliefs Positivist World is external and objective Observer is independent Science is value free Researchers should Focus on facts Look for Fundamental Laws Reduce phenomena to simplest elements Formulate and test hypotheses Preferred Methods Operationalise concepts so that they can be measured Take large samples Phenomenology World is socially constructed and subjective Observer is part of what is observed Science is driven by human interest Focus on meanings Try to understand what is happening Look at totality of each situation Develop ideas through induction from evidence Small samples investigated in depth over time
What we need to pay Serious Attention to! Any “fact” has already been interpreted, at least in the sense that meaning has been assigned to an empirical observation. To understand is to interpret. When we make “sense” of empirical observations by attributing meanings to them, two interconnected frames of meaning making interact, the political, historical, and socio cultural context of the observed data and the political, historical, socio cultural context of the researcher. We capture “Reality” through observation, i.e. translate bits of information from an unknowable “reality” into subjectively interpreted and context bound, yet knowable realities. The Researcher has to be clear about his research tradition. Researchers have a priori knowledge based on their theoretical stances. This guides the formulation of the research topic, and also aspects of the topic to be studied. Data is what we can observe. Data is what we think is relevant to answering the research question. Data collection is the process of selectively choosing empirical phenomena and attributing relevance to them with respect to our research question. Therefore data is nothing but interpreted observations. Our findings depend on what we call “data”. Data is always selected.
and Logical Argument. The act of categorization imbues what is observed with meaning. Categorization is dependent on socio cultural and political contexts. Classification is the rule / rules by which such allocation is made. This interpretive process is totally dependent on pre existing interpretations. All categories are active interpretations constructed by us. A category is an idea (word or phrase) that stands for a set of objects or events with similar characteristics. Categorization is fundamental to human understanding.Data Selection is justified by Authority arguments. Theory. Categories pre exist and emerge from the sorting process. Categories help us sort data. Unobserved Empirical phenomena Unobservable Empirical Phenomena All Empirical phenomena relating to a particular Research question Observable but unobserved Empirical Phenomena Observed Empirical phenomena Observed but not selected Empirical phenomena Research data Data analysis is about Categorization and Classification. Categorization is putting a number of things into a smaller number of groups. Knowledge and meaning is understood and communicated through categories. Things or events or phenomena do not produce categories “in themselves”. 4 . Research findings are human constructions and not objective Truth. There are no “natural” categories. Positivist research assumes that attainment of objective Truth is both possible and desirable. prior empirical studies. Categories are never exhaustive. Interpretation of things / events / phenomena produces categories.
Logic is the reasoning used to reach a conclusion from a set of assumptions. What is Science? Science is both a process of gaining knowledge and the organized body of knowledge gained by the process. which was first originally elaborated by Aristotle.Science and the Scientific Method 1.g. E. Conclusion: All Swans are white. The Scientific Method: The Scientific method rests on logic. Science is also commonly understood to be the activities carried out by “scientific institutions”. There are two ways in which one can reason. The Scientific method is the iterations and recursions of the following steps: Hypothesis Experiment Laws Theory 5 . E. and infers to a general rule claiming that these results can be observed in all cases of a class to which the observed cases belong to. Logic is concerned with inference. Inductive logic. Deductive logic then infers specific instances from the general premises. The organized body of knowledge that science generates consists of a set of facts and the theories that explain the facts. Let us say 50 such observations have been made). and all the swans that have been seen have been white. the process whereby new assertions are produced from already established ones. In Deductive Logic. Conclusions about future events are drawn from past observations. Premise 1 – All men are mortal Premise 2 – Socrates is a man Inference: Socrates is a mortal In. one generalizes from a number of cases where a certain result is observed. The process that science uses to gain knowledge is called the Scientific method. or the evidence provided must be a set about which everything is known before the conclusion can be drawn. Inductive Logic and Deductive Logic. this swan is white (I have made repeated observations. The premises are assumed to be true.g. premises are postulated and then rules of logical deduction are used to derive inferences or consequences implicit in the premises.
The hypothesis is tested by designing a controlled experiment. and the effects are compared. The Scientific Method also includes the Verifiability of Claims. scientists in the same field of study. All the other factors are controlled.g. The Verifiability of claims is tested by Repeatability of experiments and by the process of Refereeing. In the refereeing process. Testing hypotheses with these data 4. A Hypothesis may denote an empirically testable statement about the exact relation of two defined variables or the term may stand for a tentative and imprecise conjecture about possible relationships between two domains of interest. Either rejecting or failing to reject the hypotheses or adequately answering research questions. to identify whether a drug causes a particular reaction. a thermometer to measure temperature.g. Forming hypotheses or research questions 2. the law could be that Drug A when administered to healthy individuals produces a certain skin infection. A Theory then offers a means of relating the laws describing a class of events to a framework and a set of principles described in terms differing from those used in the laws. They are supported by a large number of experimental data. To Sum Up Scientific Method generally consists of four stages: 1. It will generally provide a causal explanation or propose some correlation.g. Laws are then defined which state the relationship and this law enables us to summarize a large number of individual facts. From the example given above. For e. the above law may be explained by a theory that would explicate the impact of different chemical molecules on the cellular components of the human body. in only one of which the factor being tested is varied.Observation demands careful measurement of variables and the use of Operational definitions – special processes by which measurements are made. E. Laws are about kinds of events and show a functional relationship between two or more kinds of events. two sets of people are chosen who are identical. Increased humidity in the air leads to increased sweating. and also attempt to understand the results in the light of its impact on the existing field of knowledge.g. In a controlled experiment two virtually identical experiments are run. Then one group is given the drug and the other given a placebo. E. E. review the experimental data. 6 . Gathering data relevant to the hypotheses or research questions 3.
The Ladder of Inference I take Actions based on my beliefs I adopt beliefs I draw Conclusions I make Assumptions – based on meanings I add Meanings – Cultural and Personal I Select data Observable data and experiences 7 .
Definitions “The systematic description of events. make accessible. situations. It builds theories grounded in concrete human realities.Participant Observation What is Participant Observation? Direct involvement in the here and now of people’s daily lives. refine. the “outsider” view Phenomenon is obscured from view of “outsiders” The phenomenon is observable within an everyday life setting One wishes to develop a holistic understanding of the phenomena under study Participant observation aims to uncover. The researcher participates in the here and now everyday life to study the phenomenon. The researcher aims to generate richly detailed descriptions that describe the behaviours. this involvement is a process and the logic behind participant observation. intentions. This interpretation or interpretive theory does not generate explanations which contain law like propositions providing causal explanations. Basic concepts are defined phenomenologically. and events as understood by the participants. in contrast to lab settings. Generates knowledge about human meaning and interaction as viewed from the “insider” perspective.Fine Getting Started The researcher starts with some idea or abstraction as the focus of the study. It is appropriate when Little is known about the phenomenon There are differences between “insider” view vs. and reveal the meanings people use to make sense of their everyday experience. but must remain open to “ground realities” and modify. This theory / theories provides a perspective or a way of seeing aimed at understanding the phenomenon under study. and artifacts in the social setting chosen for study” – Marshall and Rossman “The process of learning through exposure to or involvement in the day to day or routine activities of participants” – LeCompte “Exploration of the organised routines of behaviour” . Develops a form of theory and theorizing stressing interpretation and understanding of human existence. behaviours. The research question or problem may have to be defined and redefined as per the initial observations and conceptualizations. that is in terms of what they mean to people in specific situations. 8 . Participant observation does not begin with preconceived concepts or hypothesis about the phenomenon of study. and or expand concepts by providing detailed qualitative descriptions based on his or her observations of what people do and say in their natural settings.
exceptions. The selection of a setting depends on Whether the researcher can gain access to the setting The range of possible participant roles that the researcher can assume in the setting Whether or not the role / roles will provide sufficient access to the phenomena under study Settings are more or less open if access to it requires little negotiation. If access to a setting requires considerable negotiation. then it is more or less closed.The research question helps the researcher decide what to observe. A visible setting is one where information about it is available to the general public. in terms of important words and phrases and their associated meanings. and “negative activities and or behaviours”. or excluding the researcher from social events. Here the researcher is a member of the group and his or her participation is a given. The researcher focuses on what is happening and why. A complete participant – “immersion in the field. Four roles can be distinguished: 1. The Researcher’s Role The researcher has to be directly involved as a participant in peoples’ daily lives. The researcher’s role may be conceptualised on a continuum from a complete insider to a complete outsider. It is not possible to study all settings and all phenomena in a setting. The researcher is a member of the group who conceals his or her role as a researcher to avoid disrupting ‘normal’ activity in the group. The researcher has to assume a role readily available in the setting to carry out participant observations. The Setting The researcher has to gain access to the “insider” setting. changing the subject. subjective”. and looks for variations. 2. regular vs. . 9 . as to how participants exclude the researcher from their interactions. Participant as observer – researcher is a participant in the group who is observing others and who is more interested in observing than in participating. The Researcher must also be aware of exclusion processes. irregular activities. The setting is the physical location where the people under study carry out their everyday activities. The first thing is to pay attention to the language used. moving away to talk out of ear shot. The researcher has to work out a logic of observation and make a systematic plan based on his or her initial groundwork. this is an essential prerequisite for Participant Observation. The researcher will have to participate in multiple settings to carry out his or her participant observations. The researcher must know or learn the language of the participants. Eg changing the language in front of the researcher.
Participating as an insider requires the researcher to select from the roles already available in the setting. Dignity. 10 . but at the same time the researcher may lose “objectivity”. This helps the researcher penetrate to the heart of the experience existentially. In fact. values. The researcher soon becomes involved with people and progressively gains acceptance. A complete observer – “objective. and experimented with. neutral. The researcher must be aware of his or her “biases” and must first practice making detailed observations with out imposing preconceived categories from the researcher’s interpretive framework. and confidentiality have to be maintained. and this enables him or her to become familiar with the setting / settings noting major features. Initially the researcher is an outsider. People in the group or community or at least some of them are aware of the researcher and his or her agenda. The researcher becomes a complete participant when he or she “goes native” or becomes the phenomenon. The researcher’s presence will definitely influence the situation. manipulated. and Ethnicity of the researcher. anonymity. scientific”. its expected outcomes. Most people think that the more one participates the less one is able to observe. and beliefs that would impinge on his or her study. Observer as participant – enables the researcher to participate in the group activities. By sociological “location”. The researcher’s role may be Overt or Covert. That is because simply observing may not lend itself to a complete understanding of the phenomena under study. the researcher’s “location” determines the phenomenon of interest. Covert roles are much trickier to manage: should the researcher deceive participants? The researcher has to be aware that he or she is not there to manipulate and control participants. Here the researcher is an observer who is not a member of the group but is interested in participating as a means of understanding the group’s activities. Everything is New. neither are they respondents. and the possible ethical and political issues that might arise. The “location” of the researcher determines what is observed with respect to the phenomenon of interest. relationships. A so called conflict arises between Participation and Observation. The researcher has to be aware of his or her own socio cultural context. but paradoxically this viewpoint is not valid. The researcher’s social and psychological “locations” are extremely important. An Overt role would require the researcher to submit a proposal to the concerned authorities stating the aims and methodology of the study. Class. and events. This is a “peripheral membership” role. Gender. The researcher may not get to participate in the core activities of the group. 4. processes. but the important point is whether the researcher can account for those effects in explaining the data. The researcher has to be aware that the people he or she interacts with or not “objects” to be examined. yet the main role is to collect data. The researcher’s interpretation of the phenomenon will also be influenced by his / her “location”. the researcher is completely hidden from view and or the group may be unaware that they are being studied. what one means is the influence of factors such as Age.3.
Building a rapport requires positive feelings towards one another. and also question participants to gain clarity of meaning. In the “hanging out” process. engaging in joint activities. To blend into the setting. the researcher becomes familiar with the language and has understood some of the rules of interaction. the researcher has established relationships with the participants to the extent that he or she does not have to think about what to say but is as comfortable with the participants as they are with him / her. What is Observed? Physical Space Appearance Verbal behavior and interactions Physical behaviour and interactions Content of conversation Researcher’s impact Personal Space Human traffic People who stand out (For starters) 11 . Mutual interests. Knowledge of a person’s social identity provides grounds for trust and cooperation. “Hanging out” is a process whereby the researcher gains trust and establishes rapport. In the “intimate’ stage. take notes. Being sincere and respectful might help. The researcher has to gain acceptance. The Researcher needs to be aware of his or her own strategies of building rapport from his or her life experience. all of these may help in building rapport. In the “acquaintance” stage. and not call attention to oneself is very useful. and finally an “intimate”.The first step in the research is to learn about the insider’s way of life as defined. to be unobtrusive. sharing of common life experiences. Field work requires more than “hanging out”. The researcher should get hold of “gatekeepers” who would facilitate entry into the setting. and made meaningful by him or her. willingness to listen. Key informants and “gate keepers” need to be people who are respected by other group members and who enable the researcher to meet people throughout the group. the researcher would work with and participate in every day activities. Relationships have to be built to access settings and gather accurate information. expressions of concern. Key informants can later be identified and the researcher needs to build rapport with them. Relationships depend on reciprocity and exchange. In the Field The researcher needs to develop trust and cooperation in order to improve the quality of data collected. self revelation. understood. the researcher moves from being an ignorant outsider to that of “acquaintance”. In the first stage the researcher learns the rules with respect to appropriate behaviour and language of the group.
g. Try and capture participants' perceptions of their experiences. Also mentally replay scenes / situations in your mind during observation breaks to help your recall. Observations do not become data unless they are written down 3. represent program participants in their own words to the greatest extent possible. etc. Start with physical surroundings in any setting. casual conversations. Transcribe and write up your field notes within 24 hours. travel slowly up the Ladder of Inference. Look for key words in a conversation to help you remember. behaviour. Prolonged engagement leads to increased number of observations. Be descriptive. Make as accurate and detailed notes of your observations as possible. Dates. places. Use quotations. in taking field notes. guesses. Maintain a field journal too. time. Select key informants wisely and use them carefully. and then the observations. and actions Once you are familiar with the setting then focus on specific phenomena. Draw upon the wisdom of their "cultural insider" informed perspectives. rather than interpretive. 6. Documentation Extensive field notes are to be maintained. feelings. Validity Internal validity is about checking the data collected and interpretations with the relevant participants. they would include actions. in their own words. Personal Experience is a very important part of the observation. including your hunches. thoughts. 4. 12 . Researcher’s thoughts. Do not describe using “meaningless” adjectives. Your thoughts and feelings as you observe and or participate are very important.. but keep in mind that those perspectives could be limited. the people involved. speech. 2. Maintain a daily logbook of happenings / activities. are to be recorded. and speculations. and also “better” access to participants. 5. The researcher has to have a prolonged engagement with the participants. Make notes as soon as you can and transcribe them at the end of the day. Gather a variety of information from different perspectives. Clearly separate description from interpretation and judgment. feelings. especially when you assume a role in a setting. validity of the data is enhanced if the researcher has spent a considerable amount of time in the setting. and activities. emotions. Organise data into narrative sets. External validity is about trying to generalize the findings to a larger group. A day in the life for e. Remember 1.
13 . too. The researcher should review his or her notes constantly in terms of what he or she is looking for. setting. 9.e. The researcher should be aware of one’s attention span. 10. 11. 'scientific research designed to answer a research question. subjects.' 8. as fully as possible while maintaining an analytical perspective grounded in the purpose of your fieldwork: i. Being attentive for long periods of time is very difficult. thoughts and feelings. Include in your field notes your own observations." These. Several prominent qualitative researchers have referred to this as "memoing. Be as involved as possible in experiencing the program. situation. This would help in refining and refocusing. are field data. experiences. Arrange your notes and memos with a simple coding system. This also helps in identifying emerging themes / patterns of behaviour.7. etc.
The researcher’s Self provides ideas.The Long Interview The Long Interview is a powerful tool that: Helps the researcher access the categories and logic by which an individual sees the world Helps the researcher understand the life world of the individual The Long Interview gives access: Without violating privacy of the individual Saves Time Captures data without the need for prolonged contact and observation Long Interview like the method of Participant Observation. construes the researcher as an Instrument. experiences and suggestions that are used to analyse and interpret data. In the Long Interview. unlike other interviews. The Long Interview relies on an Interview Guide. Review of Cultural Categories The Self as an Instrument of Inquiry Allows the researcher to systematically examine his or her personal experience in detail with respect to the topic under study Identify cultural categories that may not be present in the literature and which may possibly be used in the Questionnaire Helps prepare a template of the researcher’s world view Helps in “manufacturing distance” 14 . the objective is to elicit data in as unobtrusive and non directive manner as possible. The function of the Interview Guide is to: Ensure that the researcher covers the same terrain in roughly the same order with all respondents To ensure that “prompts” are carefully scheduled Allow the researcher to pay attention to what the person is saying Channels the scope and direction of the discourse The Four Steps in the Long Interview Process 1. possibilities. Review of Analytic Categories Exhaustive review of literature to familiarize oneself with existing conceptual categories Prepares the researcher for “Surprise” and “Manufacturing Distance” Critiques the existing literature and identifies concepts to be used in the questionnaire 2.
relationships. Interview Procedure Be benign. Expand observations as also implications and possibilities as much as possible. Look at the data. category prompt. 15 . Discovery of Cultural Categories A. and what data sets off in the self in terms of associations. Interview Guide Construction Allow respondent to tell his or her story in own terms Opening questions are Biographical Questions Grand Tour questions – opening. Discovery of Cultural Categories Record on tape and make verbatim transcripts Analysis is to determine categories. judge Look out for below the surface assumptions and relationships 4. Review all themes from all the transcripts. and assumptions of the respondent’s world view “Mannered reading” . Link observations to other observations from the transcript. accepting. clarification. Patterns and themes in an individual transcript would rise into view by this stage. recall of exceptional incidents Open with biographical questions then have a series of question areas. and curious Listen eagerly and with interest Use body and gestures to “present” yourself Make opening questions simple and informational Use small talk and chit chat in the beginning Go through the interview guide as per the design Listen for key terms. The linking up requires constant references to the literature and cultural review. look for metaphors. explanation Watch for avoidance of topic Do not paraphrase. and synthesize them. non directive questions for each area Use of Floating prompts Planned prompts – contrast prompt. words. terms. Here the emphasis is on generating analytic categories which are abstractions about the world as the respondents see it. Link observations to evidence in transcript. There may be one or two main themes under which other themes may be subsumed. key phrases.come with an open mind. followed by the planned prompts B. interpret. Here the emphasis is on linking up observations and the pieces of text from in which they are embedded. Each question area will have grand tour questions with floating prompts. and also evidence from the literature review and cultural review from the self. Themes would be identified and relationships between them examined.3.
Phenomena that are not understood well are usually studied with tools that yield emic data. Emic is from the inside. A Focus group interview provides synergism. Problem Definition Formulation of the Research Question Identification of Sampling Frame Identification of Moderator Generation and Pre Testing of the Interview Guide Recruiting the Sample Conducting the Focus Group Interview Analysis and Interpretation of Data The focus group interview has A number of interacting individuals Focused on limited / specific issue 16 . They are only minimally imposed by the researcher or the research setting. snowballing and stimulation. Etic from the outside.The Focus Group Interview Emic data are data that arise in a natural or indigenous form. especially with respect to exploratory research when it comes to learning how respondents talk about the phenomenon of interest. The Focus Group Interview is one such method. Etic data represent the researcher’s imposed view of the situation.
The Moderator Skills required To exercise mild unobtrusive control Fluent in speaking. Make sure that the discussion ends on time as decided. It moves from General to Specific Questions Most important to least important Questions The interview guide will consist of relatively unstructured questions or questions which do not draw the attention of the respondents in any particular direction. Primary questions introduce new topics into the interview. participants to introduce themselves Introduce moderator and assistant State topic.no. it is not a survey questionnaire. It does not provide potential responses. gauge the extent to which data “saturation” with respect to a topic or theme has occurred and move on. Has a moderator who uses the group to elicit information Participants are carefully recruited 6 to 12 participants Comfortable seating Non evaluative atmosphere Skillful moderator Predetermined questions Recording of answers Problem Definition requires a clear statement of what kinds of information are available and from whom this information should be obtained. Probing to elicit specific data The Interview Guide provides a broad direction. Secondary questions are designed to follow up primary questions. and moderator role State Guidelines No right or wrong answers All data would be confidential Participants anonymity would be maintained One person at time (recorder is on/ notes) First name basis ( if that is comfortable) Listen carefully to others (need not agree) 17 . Leading questions are a complete no . frame questions clearly A genuine interest in what is being said Has a sense of humour Supports group – treats group members as equals Time management. Beginning the Discussion Welcome. purpose. Questions that call for a one or two word response should be avoided. Problem formulation begins with what is known and what additional forms of data are required.
imbalance opinion 18 . Intimidation Moderator has to assert or give non verbal cues Presence of “Friends” / Hostiles May not join in. The role of the observers should be made clear to the participants before the interview starts. Switch of cell phones Can talk to each other Time for the discussion to be stated Conducting the Focus Group From the phenomenological perspective. Ending Questions o All things considered question – Of all the things we discussed what would you say is most important to you? o Summary Questions – Is this an adequate summary? o Final Question – Moderator reviews the purpose of the interview and asks “Have we missed anything?” Possible Problems Moderator Bias Personal Bias Need to please client Need for internal consistency – “charming respondents so that they will go along with the position that you want to hear” Presence of “Experts” Opinions as facts. The Non directive approach provides more opportunity for the participants’ views to emerge. a Non Directive approach in asking questions is the one adopted as we are interested in data in the participants’ own words and what is meaningful to him / her. If the discussion is to be recorded the participants have to be informed at the start. They should sit apart and be as non obtrusive as possible. engage in private talk Inhibit expression of the group.
emotions. feelings. Focused and Natural to the culture Specific Localised to certain settings Readily noticeable Intermittent Bounded that is with a clear beginning and end Short Duration The SSO requires the informant to: Be Mindfully attentive and Observe Be Watchful for the occurrence of the particular kind of event Reconstruct the observations into detailed field notes Minimise the time between the occurrence of the event and writing up the field notes. thoughts. that generates a description of experience that is drawn from self observation. actions. An SSO topic should be a Phenomenon which is: Single. the people involved. giving a detailed report of their thoughts. Situation. This phenomenon cannot usually be accessed by interviewing or by observation on part of the researcher. Generate as detailed a description as possible using as far as possible the actual words spoken and the informants thoughts and feelings Be Serious about the research Go about their daily life as they do “normally” Not generate the phenomenon artificially Observe even if the phenomenon is absent Not pass Value Judgements about the Phenomenon and the situation Distinguish between Self Awareness and Self Consciousness and avoid self consciousness The SSO is an event contingent. Informants are asked to write a report on their observation as soon as possible. and Outcome.Systematic Self Observation (SSO) It involves training informants to observe and record a selected feature of their own everyday experience. and withheld actions. if possible write it up immediately. It is best suited for the study of “hidden” phenomena. etc that encompass the Phenomenon. and point of view. It generates data in the informant’s own words. feelings. expressions. The informant has to furnish a detailed description of BSO – Behaviour. open ended self interview. the situation. feelings. 19 . like motives. The SSO data are written up in the informant’s own voices.
However this does not mean that anything goes. Limited access generally results in less valid and reliable findings. Validity refers to the extent to which the data set actually captures what is being studied. The researcher aims to generate Valid and Reliable data by: Have three different methods to generate evidence . Data is useful only if it measures what it claims to be measuring and to this extent the more valid the data is the more “true” is the description of social reality. Here we use Methodological Triangulation. that is the concept and categories generated from the data should be linked and create an integrated framework. and or Focus Group Interviews. The researcher should ask himself or herself about the degree of Access to insiders. The norms of validity and reliability are not applicable in the Positivist sense to Phenomenological study. serial assertions 20 . Explanations / interpretations should be interrelated and not just stated as independent. Data collected from three different methods is pooled and analysed in order to yield valid and reliable findings. It is concerned with ideas such as: Consistency of data collected – will the same questions asked of the same person in similar circumstances produce similar answers? Repeatability of the data collection method – if another researcher / researchers attempted to repeat the research would he or she get similar results? 2. It is not the “truth”. where one researcher uses three different methods. The field notes. Reliability refers to the extent to which the method generates consistent results. Participant Observation. The Long Interview. Systematic Self Observation / Study of textual sources or documents.Reliability and Validity 1. Time spent in the field is also an important criterion. Explanations of phenomenon should be stated as precisely as possible Explanations should not force readers to make unnecessary assumptions Explanations / interpretations should be internally consistent. Triangulation of Data is an important concept which helps us generate Valid and Reliable data.Triangulation The methodology of the research has to be spelt out in extensive detail. though many people treat it as such. interview transcripts. and other material should be available for others to examine.
Inner validity is generated when units / concepts / categories from data are linked to each other and to additional data. then inner validity is achieved. Reliability of the research would mean that data from different perspectives. If one can link up the units of data to form an integrated structure. respondents. 21 . etc get integrated into the framework. methods.Another way of looking at the issue of Validity is the “consensus of experts” as an indication of truth and also the free exchange of arguments in an “authority free group”. Both are problematic. situations.
Available on the Internet. Forum: Qualitative Social Research. Anthony PM. Paradigms Lost by John Casti. Sage Publications. and Swartz.ed/urn:nbn:de:0114 –fqs0502344. (2005). 1989. 2000. University of Arizona. David Stewart and Prem Shamdasani. Money. 2003. and Coxon. Sage Publications. Available on the Internet.de/urn:de:0114-fqs0502430. Sage Publications. Qualitative Research website. Manfred Max. The Oxford Handbook of Organisational Theory – Tsoukas and Knudsen. Designing and Conducting Focus group Interviews – Richard A Krueger. Forum: Qualitative Social Research. Northern Arizona University Systematic Self Observation by Rodriguez and Ryave. 1999. Abacus. Williams. 2002 Doing Research in Business and Management – Remenyi. OUP. Focus Groups – Theory and Practice. May 2005. The Quality in Qualitative Methods – Bergman. At http://nbn-resolving. Sage Publications. http://nbn-resolving.References Participant Observation by Danny Jorgensen. Qualitative Research Methods: A Data Collector’s Field Guide – Family Health International. 1990 Participant Observation as a Social Method – Barbara K. 22 .
5. but I chose not to say anything. 23 . She said. He is an excellent worker and he really works hard in the group to achieve targets. Anil is a great guy. Identify whether the statements would fall under the category of Observation and Judgment. He picked up the pen. and the team members were looking fresh and ready to go to work. 3. Masood threw the cigarette packet quickly into the dustbin. The air-conditioning was cool. As soon as the boss walked onto the floor. It was a nice morning. 2. I too felt blocked.” 4. 1. and showed it to the person sitting next to him. “You were so eager to point out what you had observed that you did not let the other members of the group speak. wrote something down on a sheet of paper. Give your reasons for the same.Quiz Observation and Judgment Given below is a list of data statements.
she did not pay attention to the work and had a very casual approach. 10. I have noticed that she always mumbles badly when she handles client calls. He spoke in a very frank and free way to his team members while pointing out mistakes. and had the most amazing colour scheme with respect to the furniture and the walls. which made his team members angry. I observed that the reception area of the company was decorated beautifully with potted plants and abstract paintings. 7. 24 . 9. While her team was busy discussing the case. He kept interrupting the feedback discussion with a view to get his point across.6. 8.
In the discussion on the yearly targets. 12. While speaking to his team. I could see by his body language that he was attentive to what I was saying regarding his errors. Instead of working together to check the errors in the case. 15. The questions that the manager asked the associate were very personal and made the associate tense. Anil was resisting all attempts to agree on the Turn around times. the team was just having fun.11. he tried very hard to disguise his vernacular / regional accent. 14. 13. 25 .
He also spoke fluently. he did not hesitate or have long pauses during his speech. maintained good eye contact.16.” 19. Whenever he spoke. He then walked towards the door. 26 . Nitin spoke to his team members in a confident manner. When it was his turn to speak. 20.” 18. He looked mostly towards the audience. these had fallen down on the ground. yaar. turned around and said “Let us finish fast. but stopped in mid stride. This person will not be able to empathise with his team members. Let us see whether we can use them to build our model. He did not put his hands in his pockets but instead had them in front of his chest and used them to make pointing gestures whenever he wanted to emphasise points. He was very confident during his presentation. 17. She picked up the pieces from the floor and placed them on the table. I am getting bored. and waited for them to read the material on the slides. His team members were impressed. he always had an angry tone or an irritated tone to his voice. He stood up and yawned. She then told her teammates “Look.
Joshi. What would you like me to call you? Mr.SAMPLE BEI INTERVIEW Interview of Mr. Mr. We will do this by asking you to talk to us about something you have done in your current job. (pause) So. Joshi. Joshi: Joshi is good sir I hope Mr. some are part of our jobs. while some others need us to take actions before being asked to take up challenging tasks that extend the definition of our work. Mr. Joshi: (Replies) I: Let me introduce the panel here. Commuting in Mumbai becomes quite difficult in the monsoons. and felt you have achieved something significant. How did you find it? Mr. Joshi think of a time. To my left is Dr XYZ to my right is Dr. Joshi (Replies in the affirmative) At work we do many things.Metal Engineers (I) Ltd (I: Interviewer) I: Good morning Mr. The process of this discussion is a little different in that I would ask all the questions and my colleagues would take down notes. Joshi (fictitious) – Territory Sales Manager . I hope you are comfortable with this. We will go into the details later. First give me a brief outline of the event you would be talking to us about. when you did something difficult and challenging on your own in your last job. Mr. Joshi you have had a good day. Mr. Hope your journey to this hotel was comfortable. ABC and I am PQR. Joshi: (Narrates the event) 27 . the purpose of this interview is to know more about you as a person. Now.
We had no entry into the State Transport Sector. The first stage is meeting with the Engineers at Central Institute of Road Transport and getting their approval. Ensuring that the dealers receive the payment and finally handing over the market to your junior. Joshi: Well. Monitoring the sales for the first few consignments. Joshi: You see that market for bearing is dominated by large multinational corporations like yours. Setting up a dealer network across the country to serve exclusively the State Transport Sector. could you tell me when all this began and when it ended. Joshi: (narrates the structure of the event with some help from the interviewer. thus needing additional spares. actually the decision to enter into this market was communicated to me by my National Sales Manager. 28 . with two or three significant milestones in between? Mr. we were a domestic manufacturer. thought and felt in this event. We decided to break into the government sectorespecially the State Transport sector in the year 2000 I: You said you decided that you will break into the government sector. I: You said that your involvement began at the stage when you approached the CIRT to get your bearings approved by them for purchase by the State Transport Corporations. said.I: Before we go into the details. Tell me what exactly happened? Mr. he mentioned that the state governments were to receive grants from the center to improve the road transport in the states. Let me take you the first stage that you mentioned. I was working with Metal Engineers (I).) As I understand that you are going to talk to us about how you developed the market for your company’s bearing in the State Transport Sector. Mr. Our major market was the low end replacement market in the private Road Transport Sector. tell me what was your role in this decision. This would mean that they would purchase new vehicles. Now I would like you to walk me through the event in detail and I am mainly interested in knowing what you did.
I: what happened next? Mr.I: Mr. off course. I. we got talking of Nagpur. I immediately got an appointment with the Mechanical Engineer in CIRT and asked my Application Engineer to fly down from Chennai. so am I. I thought as Mr. Joshi can you tell me what is the next key thing you did? Mr. What were you trying to accomplish by establishing a rapport with the HoD Mr. I had found out that the Head of Mechanical Engineering was a Maharashtrian. we speak a peculiar Marathi. I knew that I would need the approval of the CIRT. I am also from Vidharba. whether I could come in. it turned out that he was from Nagpur. Luckily he was alone. I asked him in Marathi. I looked at his surname and guessed that he must be from Vidharba. He mentioned that CIRT had completed a study on the local transport at Nagpur and some of the route changes were the recommendations of the CIRT report. I went with Mr. I: what happened next? Mr. You see our main manufacturing facility is outside Chennai. I would try and establish personal rapport with the HoD. Joshi: Well. I asked him whether he had visited Nagpur in connection with the report. Joshi: He allowed me to enter his room and we got into a discussion. Marathi that is heavily influenced by Hindi. I also told him the roads have improved so also the local transport. He replied it was his wife who was in 29 . The individual corporations were expected to place order with one of the approved spares suppliers. I was posted in Pune. I: Do you recall your conversation with the HoD? Mr. I had recently been there. Joshi: I knew that it is he who would sign the approval letter. Joshi: Yes. you see. I thought it was important. I went and peeped into his room. So you see. Achutan discusses the technical issues with the concerned engineer. They were responsible for approving the spares list. Joshi: I had some experience with dealing with the state transport. I told him of the changes that have taken place in the city of Nagpur. Achutan for the first meeting.
we got the approval in due course without a hitch. We then told him that we had another meeting and left. unfortunately. 30 . Mr. I quickly used this opportunity to change the conversation. Achutan told me that there should be no problem in getting the technical approval. and introduced Mr. was not that part of the team. Achutan. Joshi: Yes. I think our product quality helped. The samples were sent directly by Mr. I did not want to accept the dinner engagement. He said he would send him the samples in the coming week. I: What were you trying to accomplish by conveying your gratitude? Mr. suggested that I should come over for lunch to his house so that eh can introduce his wife to me. Joshi: We left his room and Mr. which would then be tested. I: Is there anything significant that happened at this stage? Mr. he had finished the technical discussions. Our dealer network was divided along cities. can you tell me what happened and what was your role? Mr. The dealer was also expected to appoint an Application Engineer to help the state transport workshop. Joshi: Well I thought that he was quite proud of his wife’s work and my gratitude to her would help me build rapport.the economic feasibility section who had done the report. Achutan peep into the room. I: What happened thereafter? Mr. My reply was very non committal. You see the one of the conditions for getting the orders was that the dealer will maintain exclusively stock for the service of the state transport. He. Joshi: By then I saw Mr. I said surely sir. Joshi: No nothing much. You see this market is dirty. I: What happened next? Mr. He. Achutan. I was sure that one of my competitors would create problems if I go for dinner and this would spoil our case quite unnecessarily. We did not have dealer or a distributor taking care of the entire state. I immediately told him to convey my gratitude as a citizen of Nagpur to his wife. The dealer was to be appointed for the entire state. they were tested and were approved. I was responsible for setting up a dealer network that would exclusively serve the state transport sector. definitely some time. Achutan briefed me about his meeting with the Mechanical Engineer. I think my rapport would have helped if there was some hanky panky by the competition I: Can we move to the next stage? That is setting up the dealer network. in fact.
he did not meet any of our criteria. the production never delivers on time. except in the case of Gujarat.. We could not appoint his son. how it is. We received a big order from Assam State Transport. This was also my suggestion to my boss. I found out who were the regular suppliers to them. The delivery was to be made to our dealer in Gauhati. The area has problems.. I would ask my sales officer to do an evaluation of the dealers from the list I had obtained from the state transport undertaking. the key thing you did at this stage? Mr. but you see. I visited all the HQ of the state undertakings in the country. Joshi: I don’t know how. Joshi: I think we can move to the next stage. I: What happened then? What were you thinking? Mr. You see I wanted my boss to handle it so that the minister feels that some one higher up has noted his request. The choice was not difficult…… (Pauses). I: What happened in case of Gujarat? Mr. You see one of the principals I have learnt in sales is that the deal is not complete unless you have ensured timely and efficient delivery…… I think this is a must for all sales people……….I: Can you tell me: What was the key thing you did? Mr. I had told my production people that we must plan in advance. but my boss managed to sort out the issue by promising the transport minister that he would offer his son the dealership for Vadodra. You see. the transport minister can create problems for us. I: I understand that. or can we move to the stage where you monitored the first few consignments? Mr. In each state I selected one dealer from among the dealers who were supplying spares to that state transport undertaking. As luck would have it the roads were blocked on the way to Gauhati. Joshi: You know. I have been in this field of auto spares sales for the last 7 years and one knows of the various dealers. you know: ULFA militants blocking roads…. I: is there anything that is significant at the stage of appointment of dealers that you would like to tell us. (pauses) I must have visited 23 state transport undertakings. It looked 31 . the dealer we did not select was the son of the local transport minister. In all…. I: What was your role at this stage? Mr. but I would like you to tell me. I then decided to hand over this issue to my boss. Joshi: Well. Joshi: Well we selected a dealer on the basis o certain criteria. Joshi: I knew that it would be difficult. I went to the offices of the State Transport undertakings.
like we would not be able to meet the guideline of maintaining stocks at our dealer. even if they are forged (laughs). I called up my dealer and suggested that he bring the stock to his godown in his private car from the Assam border. I: Is there anything significant at the stage of monitoring the supplies or can we move to the next stage? Mr. He was reluctant as it involved cost. You see the government departments work on documents. I was not authorized but I said I will adjust that in your commission. Joshi: Yes we can move. I arranged a training program for the Accountants with the dealers. Joshi: I then handed over the task to sales officers in each of the state. and my role ended I: I: We have gone through this event in detail. they knew most of the stuff. The trucks were being blocked. and I needed to explain them some specifics. He luckily agreed and the matter was settled and we had the stock in the dealer’s godown as per the guidelines. On behalf of our panel I would like to thank you for this! Have a good day. you have given us a lot of information about your involvement in this event of: Developing the market for your company’s bearing in the State Transport Sector. is there any thing that we may have missed inadvertently? Mr. They did a damn good job and everyone received their money on time. at this stage my involvement was to train the dealers to submit the correct documents. Joshi. I: What happened next? Mr. Joshi: No not really I: Mr. 32 . I asked my finance department to step in. I called up my boss and told him what I had committed.
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