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8726: Qualitative Research

Structured Critical Reflection:

For this assignment identify and read one qualitative and one quantitative study on the same
topic specific to a social problem. For example homelessness, HIV/AIDS, violence against
women, etc ... These articles should be from peer-reviewed journals and should be no more than
5 years old. You must bring copies ofthe articles and your assignment to the first class on
September loth. Also, read the first chapters from both the following course texts:
Glesne, C. (2006). Becoming qualitative researchers. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Padgett, D. (2008). Qualitative methods in social work research, 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Sage.
Write a reflection paper in accordance with APA, 5
ed. (7-10 pages). Don't begin a reflection
activity by asking "What did I learn?" The purpose of reflection is to generate learning-not
simply a display ofwhat was learned. Reflection is not the same as description although
description is a good first step in reflection. A brief paragraph to get the reader acquainted with
your focus and the context is helpful. Please use sub-headings for your paper.
Step 1: DESCRIBE: (in fair detail, the who, what, where and when as objectively as
possible) ... the experience of completing the readings. Think about your experience with the
assigned reading and briefly write about what resonated with you and what challenged your
thinking about research. Begin your reflection with "In preparation for this reflection J.... "
Step 2: EXAMINE: Staying focused on the description and in accordance with past, current, or
potential life experience (e.g., personal, service-learning, practicum, employment, and/or
research) address the following question:
What do you see as the strengths and limitations of qualitative research, from your
perspective as both a practitioner and a researcher?
This discussion is to be analytic and demonstrate critical thinking. Be sure to use the readings to
inform and support your discussion, citing as necessary.
Step 3: ARTICULATE LEARNING. Answer all of the 4-part structure for written articulating
What did J learn?
How did J learn it?
Why does it matter?
What will J do in the future, in light of it?
McGuire/Lay, 2008

Critical thinking is expected through out the reflection. You must establish relevance, accuracy,
precision, and clarity in order to build depth, breadth, logic, and significance.
Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006). The miniature guide to critical thinking. Santa Rosa, CA: The
Foundation for Critical Thinking. (See
* Ash, S., Clayton, P., & Moses, M. (2006). Excerpts from teaching and learning through
critical reflection: An instructor's guide. Raleigh, NC: Author.
Intellectual Standards* Description Questions
for Critical T h i n k i n ~
Clarity Clearly stated ideas with detail in the Are my ideas clearly stated and
descriptions that serve to clarify are my examples of the topic
statements. clear to the reader? Did I provide
examples? Can I elaborate?
Accuracy Statements or claims that are supported Did I support my claim with
with evidence (citations) and are factually evidence? How do I know this to
correct. be truthful? How can I validate
my claim? Did I use too much
anecdotal experience to support
my claim?
Relevance Statements that are key to the primary Are my statements connected to
thesis and connect to a central point. the topic? How is what I
discussed of concern to the
overall issue?
Depth The discussion and conclusions reflect the Have I covered the complexity of
complexity of the issue. the issue? Are there other themes
that need to be explored to do the
issue justice?
Logic Reasoning that makes sense and Does the introduction match my
conclusions that are in keeping with conclusions? Did I put forth and
statements made throughout the follow a line of thought that
discussion. makes sense? Are my
conclusions a reflection of the
complexity of the issue
Breadth The discussion reflects multiple What would another perspective
viewpoints and possibilities. include? Is there another way to
interpret this? Did I research
alternative perspectives? Can I
tum my discussion upside down
for a different vantage point?
McGuire/Lay, 2008
S726: Grading Rubric Structured Critical Reflection
You must self-evaluate your paper in accordance with this grading rubric. The completed rubric must accompany your
paper. Evaluate each section, circling the designated box in accordance with your self-evaluation. IS* stands for-
Intellectual Standards for Critical Thinkine (see paee 3).
Section A B C D-F
Describe Description with clarity, Description is clear, Some detail with Significant lack of detail,
accuracy, & relevance accurate & clarity and objectivity, and evidence
using objectivity and demonstrates objectivity, but of disjointed presentation
coherence in relating the objectivity in relating lacks consistency of section.
experience of reading the the experience of throughout section.
texts. reading the texts.
Examine Identification of relevant Identification of a issue Some identification Issue thoughts, feelings &
issues presented with and explored with of an issue, beliefs are not clearly
clarity & accuracy. clarity. Some depth & thoughts, feelings & examined with little
Questions explored & breadth in the beliefs are not evidence to support
discussed with, depth, discussion. Claims are clearly examined, claims or little to no
breadth, and logic. All supported. with at least 2 IS*. utilization of IS*.
claims are supported with
Articulate All aspects of the 4-part All aspects ofthe 4- Most aspects of the Aspects of the 4-part
Learning structure are fully part structure are 4-part structure are structure are unclear and
addressed and clear addressed and some addressed and some little evidence of learning
evidence of learning is evidence of learning is evidence of learning is articulated with no 18*.
articulated with 18* fully articulated with 18*. is articulated, but
evidenced. inconsistent IS*.
Use of APA Grammar, APA style and Only minor problems Most of the paper Many problems with
style & format format are used correctly with grammar & APA uses correct grammar and/or APA
throughout the paper. style and format. grammar & APA style. e.g., no page
style and format. numbers for direct quotes.
General Paper is very well written, Paper is well written, Paper is generally Paper is not very well
quality of organized in accordance very few errors in well written and written. Many problems
writing with the assignment, no grammar, spelling, and organized with with grammar, spelling,
errors in grammar, punctuation. some problems with and punctuation
spelling, and punctuation. Paragraphs and grammar, spelling,
Paragraphs and sentences sentences are and punctuation.
are well developed and developed. Some lack of
clear. clarity.
*1S-cnlIcaI thmking standards
Student comments: Student Score__,----,-_
(Please provide comments to support your score and claims)
Instructor comments:
Instructor Score _
McGuire/Lay, 2008
S726 Structured Critical Reflection
Ethics in Qualitative Research
Ray Woodcock
Indiana University
School of Social Work
Ethics 1
Ethics 2
r had previously heard about the Tuskegee "experiment," so for me the experience of
reading about this travesty was partly a reminder of what I already knew and partly an addition
of some things I didn't know or remember. There were quite a few of the latter: I might not
have passed a true-false quiz on whether Bill Clinton had apologized for it, for example, or what
the timespan was, or whether autopsies were part of the picture.
When I glanced at the Brunner (n.d.) article, I pretty quickly noticed the final sentence,
which reads, "In light of this and many other shameful episodes in our history, African
Americans' widespread mistrust of the government and white society in general should not be a
surprise to anyone." I didn't know anything about Brunner, including his/her race or ethnicity,
and I didn't want to prejudice the matter by looking up his/her biography before writing this
piece; but from these words it sounded l i k ~ slhe believed that most African Americans . lvf-L
. :it "J.4' - h\C1 I L4 . t:/.L;MrC" 1 ~ Hv t "
entertained racist attitudes. Maybe they did, but that didn't emerge from the fin ing s/he had just ~ -
.... CJA-k
cited, which was that, in 1990, only 10 percent of African Americans firmly believed what s/ e}J J AJ C
called the "preposterous and paranoid" idea that the U.S. government created AIDS to /rcri ~
extem1inate blacks, and another 20 percent could not entirely rule it out. Indeed, in 1990, I
probably could not have entirely ruled it out either. It seemed that Brunner might not have
recalled that Haitians were among the very first groups experiencing a high rate of AIDS
infections. There were lots of theories, in the early years after AIDS hit the b,ig time - heroin,
monkeys, CIA, God's punishment, you name it. People didn't know what to think.
I suspected that Brunner (n.d.) might want me to be getting a different message: to climb
on the bandwagon, perhaps, and condemn dead and therefore safe-target unethical researchers
from a bygone era in the name of racial equality, which was itself a fairly safe cause ce!f'!hre by
Ethics 3
the 1990s, or whenever Bnmner wrote. I But I immediately wanted to know: where are the
closer questions, where are the Tuskegees of today, the ones that people of a future generation
w;lI be shak;ng the;r heads about? , 1fV'" J
!.! easy to dismiss the Tuskegee wQfk - which, makes sure to
mention early in the article, not tUlll.Up much by way of soUd scientific findings. But what
about the experiments of World_War II, or Stanley Milgram's (1973) obedience research?
Brief searches turned up an article by Roelke (2004), noting that some Nazi experiments had
been innovative and scientifically va1uable, as well as a book in which Blass (2004) cites a
survey ranking Milgram as one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century
(p.259)2 Would Brunner make the same argument if the Tuskegee research had been
scientifically brilliant - if, for example, it had prepared medical researchers to defeat AIDS?
This question prompted a search which, upon narrowing to bring it closer to my own research
interest, yielded vVhittaker's (2005) analysis ofIRB discourses - a search, that is, for more
insight into the prioritization of values in judgments on research ethics.
Having learned in the previous assignment that careful scrutiny of e.g., Padgett (2008)
might entail an unwelcome level of detail, I can say that, in general, the other readings were less
. \
stimulating, probably because tht::.Y seemed fairly did not prompt much new
thinking. As with the Brunner (n.d.) piece, the reading experience was a mix of old and new
leaming. The Petr and Walter (2005) article was somewhat different, though; its material was
mostly. new to me. For I appreciated its distinction of empiriql1 and evidence-ba eq
... IhA.. /AJ I /) ) vLhL ' .
research. I was not e tirely sure, tljough, what PetrI n al r were proposing regarding the
of consumer perspectives, which they presented as step 3 of their comprehensive

I An apparently similar or identical article has appeared on the Tuskegee webpage since at least 2000 (see
Blumenthal & DiClemente, 2004, p. 62).
2 This paper sometimes cites specific page numbers as a courtesy to the reader (in the casc of e.g., a book).
Ethics 4
best practices inquiry model. Of course, it does make sense to learn about consumer
perspectives. But this seemed to be included already in Gambrill's (2003) evidence-based
practice model, which was said to consider "client values and preferences in making decisions as
well as other applicability concerns" (p. 255). The purpose of this consumer-oriented inquiry for
Petr and Wal tel' was, evidently, to achieve a of triangulation:
Overall support is judged strongest for topics when the quantitative and
qualitative research is extensive and rigorous, and when consumer and
professional sources are credible, influential, and independent. Finally, overall
support for the best practices is strongest when there is consensus, or at least
extensive common ground, among all the perspectives. (p. 259)
The authors justified this for as being "highly consistent_
with empowerment values of the social work profession" (p. 257). I was not so sure. Is it truly
empowering to take someone's opinion at step 3, and then limit, revise, or ignore it as needed, in
subsequent steps, de ending on how well or poorly it meshes with professional wisdom and
other sources of insight? For that matter, is it empowering to rely on consumer insights if, for
example, consumers prefer an ineffective or damaging solution based on misinfOimation,
superstition, or peer pressure, or if they are hoping that the researchers have the answers they,
themselves, do not have?
This matter of consumer perspectives also raised some questions, for me, regarding the
second innovation Petr and Walter (2005) claimed to be introducing. Their step 7 entails using
value criteria to critique and improve best practices (p. 260). Meanwhile, however, the foregoing
,J!. - -
discussion of consumer preferences claims to have already used the social work value of

IV generally, that ethical influences would probably infornl the
-- -
Ethics 5
entire project, rather than being unleashed only at the taB end. If, as they say, this step is not
emphasized in EBP inquiry, perhaps it is simply because it is understood to be relevant at all
stages. Moreover, a call to "consider and evaluate the merits of all perspectives on 'state-of-the-
art' practices against the values and ethical standards endorsed by the profession" (p. 260)
ignores the fact that, as the NASW's (1999) Code of Ethics indicates, such values and standards
frequently conflict in application. In that event, which values deserve priority?
Whittaker (2005) characterizes the Tuskegee experiment as being, like those of Milgram
and the Nazis, an "admonitory tale" that often cite as part of thcir "justification narrative:
(p.514). I expected, from such phrasing, that Whittaker would distance herself somewhat from
this activity. I found, instead, that she mostly just presents the straightforward rationale for IR8s
vis-a-vis such competing claims as the sanctity and th,e inherent integrity o!
researchers. Discourse analysis, as she understands it, seems to be a !llatter of characterizing
various themes in the literature., or in experience, as "discourses"; presenting their rationales; and
identifying some concerns for the future. In this approach, discourse analysis seems to be mere
window dressing. That is, its treatment of the topic seems roughly similar to what one might
have expected from an overview that did not claim to be using discourse analysis.
As I browsed other materials in an unstructured search for insight into discourse analysis,
it became clear that there was a "heavy" route toward learning about it. According to Powers
(2001), one could read Foucault, for example, and thereby arrive at the mere starting point for
one variety of discourse analysis: "Foucault wrote in the tradition of the posrmodemist extension
of the critical social theorists' critique" (p. 10). Mastering Foucault seemed likely to be time-
intensive and perhaps even tangential. McCarthy's (2008) review of Widdowson (2007, on

/ .
Ethics 6
request) indicates, however, that there is style of discourse analysis that doesyot
presuppose sociopolitical content; and Schiffrin, Tannen, and Hamilton (2003) examine a variety
- .--
of discourse analyses in which the sociopolitical is not necessarily predominant. I decided that
the most sensible course for me, at this beginning stage, would be to develop a basic grasp of
discourse analysis ala Widdowson, and perhaps to enhance it with a critical perspective later.
This decision to deemphasize critical analysis carried the possibility that my discourse
analysis of employment might also deemphasize empowerment (see e.g., Fulton, 1997). This
was not the desired outcome; I would prefer to think that my work on employment would
actually be quite empowering. After all, the Preamble to the NASW's (1999) Code of Ethics
cites empowerment as part of the primary mission of social work. Was I rejecting that mission'?
My conclusion, based on the Description (above), was that long-term actual
empowerment was more important than a short-tenn display of concern about empowerment.
Certainly the Tuskegee abuse went on for a long time - but it did end, and yet the inferior '--tkJ- i1 .LulJJ
c.oUr J -t i51-rvtTt J
medical treatment of Black people in America'tontinues (Mayberry, Mili, & Ofili, 2000). ad r. O-L . 1J L J
C'lJ.:lPA. .
that discrepancy in medical treatment not endured for centuries, Tuskegee might have been not t til -,d 0-
merely ethically unthinkable but practically infeasible. My approach to empowerment in
employment seemed to have a chance of being more effective in the long run if it was less a self-
.{ h.uY J)..H..vIt-k I
congratulatory, Brunner-style reaction to a horror, and more a mundane'matter of making it
nomlal to simply identifY objectionable features of employment on an everyday basis. It did not
}t:J J
appear to me, in other words, that the people best positioned to make changes in the deleterious
fea'ures ofemploymen'- speaking, 'ha' is, ofemployers and employees - were very interestedI ' # 7
in ideology; but I thought they (employees, especially) might be interested in straightforward l4/L1?
efforts to articulate undesirable aspects of their situations. I '-"f4--'-r It, 1"-
Ethics 7
If this way of seeing the matter put me at risk of adopting any ofGlesne's (2006)
"Researcher Roles and Ethical Dilemmas" (pp. 133-138), the most likely candidates seemed to
be either the Reformer or Advocate roles, insofar as I hoped to have an impact, ultimately, upon
unfortunate aspects of employment. I was relatively insulated from those roles as she described I
them, though, given that I did not p l a ~ o l l e c t data directly from individual participants in my" r
discourse analysis. Taking that into account, Glesne's most telling point, for me, came under the
Advocate heading, as she described the ethical dilemma of the researcher who grappled with an
unpleasant class-based differential in how her participants cared for their children. It would not
do for me to merely reiterate the famous exhortation from Marx and Engels (1848/1888),
"Workers of the world, unite' You have nothing to lose but your chains!" It seemed likely that
those \vorkers would consider that exhortation inconect within their own circumstances.
views within the differential realities represented by the discourses I would study.
- ---- -
Articulation of Learning JIi' .
What did I learn? In this exercise, I learned more information about the Tuskegee r
"experiment," and came to a clearer awareness that it did not represent a "close case" that would
challenge the student to think carefully about ethical boundaries. I had not previously seen it
quite so starkly as a simple honor story whose point seemed to be to emphasize that researche s I
. --4 -tIJ.... J.. 1vt.AArt- t1 l \
are indeed capable of betraying the trust of their research subjects. TIl" s same point seemed to be
made equally well by the Nazi research or Milgram's (1973) obedience studies. Those had the
added advantage of turning out sometimes provocat,ive and useful information, and the Nazi
research also shared Tuskegee's racial/ethnic overtones. The principal pedagogical advantage of
the Tuskegee tale seemed to be that it emphasized that such things can happen in American
8 Ethics
possible ways of presenting the subject matter. I learned these things about discourse analysis by
to say, and why? I interpreted his/her words in light of one another and in contrast to other
the Nazi and Milgram (1973) research, on the other hand, by putting this new reading about
How did I learn it? I learned about the distinctions among Tuskegee, on one hand, and
discourse analysis that would be responsive to those requirements and to what I hoped to do in
t {, g/..l,v vJ.
my research. ( l' l/}
u. ',\J
Why does it matte. I am 11 Failure to Ie rn anything would constitute
responding to the assignment's requirements - by searching, in particular, for a sense of
of attention, but is not the only option, and that for my purposes it might be more suitable, at the
Tuskegee in context with what I knew previously. Of Brunner (n.d.), I asked, What is s/he hying
I also learned a few things about discourse sis, as I sought to refine the form of it
were teaching a class of my own, but mostly to focus instead on the Nazis and Milgram, with.

particular interest in eliciting students' thought about the potential usefulness of such research.
research too. I concluded that the best approach would probably be to mention Tuskegee, if I
that I would be using. Principally, I learned that critical discourse analysis receives a great deal
start, to develop a discourse analysis that did not impose a quasi-Marxist ideology on the data.
a failure of that endeavor. Learning one thing rather than another matters because of the
conclusions and decisions that result. about Tuskegee matters for purpose; tJJ
advancing my learning about ethical and unethical research situations and decisions; learning
rf-LIJ. ---
about discourse analysis matters for purposes of developing a discourse analysis of employment.
Both of those things matter for purposes of compl\eting the requirements of this class and for
facilitating eventual publication of my research in this area. Completing those requirements and
ultimately graduating matter if I am to teach the things that I have learned in this assignment, and
Ethics 9
publishing my research matter if I wish to affect the discussion of employment. Both the
teaching and the p blication matter if this plan facilitates a better public and/or3bolarl y . I .
! 1 t-1, J...yv -/f.:.;., -<-/A4 f71 t {, , : /W ."-
appreciation of leisure. Separately, t topic also tters because it is interesting. !J.-f.,fI;(bt--to ,m;L.J'IA'/
- . f..uJ.- t4 .g,(j7 , "'-
What .villl do intlze./ilture, in light oJit? In light of what I have learned about Brunner's!f&'J
(n.d.) treatment of Tuskegee, I wiU be somewhat more alert to the po sible ubtexts that may
iU l .. , Ntu{ /)LI-d. /II +! bfl
(a) criticisms of varioliS research and effo and (b)
attention to such criticisms. In light of what I have learned about discourse analysis, I will

proceed to develop my research for this class. I will do these things in addition to the other
things described above.
Ethics 10
Blass, T. (2004). The man who shocked the world: The lile and legacy oIStanley Milgram. New
York: Basic Books.
Blumenthal, D. S., & DiClemente, R. J. (2004). Community based health research: Issues and
methods. New Yark: Springer.
Brunner, B. (n.d.). The Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Retrieved October 28,2008 from the
Tuskegee University website: htlp.!I\'\\ w.1l1 ... kegee.euuX,h bal S 120i5xh
fulton, Y. (1997). Nurses' views on empowennent: A critical social theory perspective. Journal
ofAdvanced Nursing. 26, 529-536.
Gambrill, E. (2003). Evidence-based practice: Sea change or the emperor's new clothes? Journal
o/Social Work Education. 39,3-23.
Glesne, C. (2006). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1848/1888). Manifesto o/the Communist Party (F. Engels, Ed. &
Trans.). London: William Reeves. Retrieved October 30,2008 from Communist Workers
League website:
Mayberry, R. M., Mili, F., & Ofili, E. (2000). Racial and ethnic differences in acceSs to medical
care. Medical Care Research and Review. 57 Supp. 1, 108-145.
McCarthy, M. (2008). [Review of the book Discourse analysis.] ELTJournal. 62(2),211-213.
Milgram, S. (1973, December). The perils of obedience. Harper's Magazine, 247(1483),62-77.
Ethics 11
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (1999). Code ofethics ofthe National
Association 0.[Social Workers. Washington, DC: NASW. Retrieved Febmary 8, 2008
from htt :/

Padgett, D. K. (2008). Qualitative methods in social work research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage.
Petr, c., & Walter, LJ. (2005). Best practices inquiry: A multidimensional, value-critical
framework. Journal o/Social Work Education, 41(2),251-267.
Powers, P. (200 I). The methodology 0.[discourse analysis. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Roelcke, V. (2004, December). Nazi medicine and research on human beings. The Lancet. 364
Slipp. 1, s6-s7.
Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D., & Hamilton, H. E. (Eds.). (2003). The halldbook o.[discourse analysis.
Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Whittaker, E. (2005). Adjudicating entitlements: The emerging discourses of research ethics
boards. Health: An lnterdisciplinwy Journallor the Social olHealth, JIlness and
Medicine, 9(4),513-535.
Widdowson, H. G. (2007). Discourse analysis. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.