Psychology – Qualitative Research Methodology
– Use quantitative methods to investigate area of study where it is possible to test hypothesis under rigorous conditions.
– Use to establish cause and effect.
– Experiments that take place in the laboratory and or field.
– Trends – Interviews
– Patterns – Observations
– Topics – Case Studies
– Open interpretation of data
– Useful for investigating complex and sensitive issues (coping with illness, sexuality etc.)
– High validity because the people in the studies are usually in their own environment.
– Helps solve problems
– Creates new ideas and theories to explain and overcome problems.
– Time consuming and generates a huge amount of data.
– With data analysis, there is no clear strategy for analysis because of the amount of data.
– Case studies and interviews are harder to generalize (subjective, not supporting theory)
– In particular, case studies are rare and for their own sake, so they are not intended to generalize. (Genie because she is a rare child).
– Interviews: Focus groups (6-10 people)
– Case Studies: HM/Clive Wearing (Biology or Anatomy)
2) Participants have the right to withdrawal.
3) Participants have a right to debriefing.
4) No fabricating of data is allowed.
5) Approval of study from research company
6) Names are kept anonymous/results are confidential.
– Collect info from these subgroups ie.Bouchard Minnesota Twin Study
– STRENGTHS: Fairly represent population
– LIMITATIONS: Time consuming and vey specific
– Aim of the study
– Existing knowledge in the field
– Particular characteristics (variables) that might influence an individuals contribution to explore the research topic.
– STRENGTHS: Rich data b/c the participants fits the aim of the study, might be only option left if the desired population for the study is rare or difficult to locate.
– LIMITATIONS: Biased b/c it pertains only to a specific group of people.
– STRENGTHS: Very efficient time and money wise.
– LIMITATIONS: Confidentiality is broken (ethical consideration) and the study is biased.
– STRENGTHS: Convenient and time efficient
– LIMITATIONS: Participants may be nothing like a representative sample (Random Sample).
2) Subtle differences in facial expressions (such as smiling to one group but not the other) can change the expectations of the participants.
3) Unconsciously give voice or other cues that give the participant confidence, and which may help them do well on the test.
– HAWTHORNE EFFECT: The effect on participants of simply being the focus of the investigation. The Participants are aware of being part of an experimental group and performance may improve for that reason.
– Have to get rid of researcher bias to reach credibility.
– Breadth ( in detail but more), and depth
– Researcher gives full account of research to eliminate bias.
– Triangulation used to increase credibility and trustworthiness (Rolfe 2006)
– Use triangulation to gain credibility use more then one method for research.
– Research findings may be all different, making it not credible. Multitasking is hard.
– May have a design flaw.
– Ex. HM, 50 years of research and many researchers. Researchers given very depth descriptions.
– Organize an interview with a colleague and check research and data together.
– STRENGTH: Rich data and in depth. Flexible.
– LIMITATION: Time consuming and hard to analyse.
– 6-10 People (smaller = not enough data) (bigger = difficult for participants.
– STRENGTHS: Encourages openness and allows people to talk about complex issues. Relatively quick and convenient. High ecological validity.
– LIMITATIONS: Influenced by people around you which changes answers. Not apporpriate for all research questions ie. Sensitive matters.
– STRENGTH: Captures unaltered version of reality.
– LIMITATION: Participant may not feel speaking in this manner and this may offer less data.
– PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Larger sample= structure. How to obtain/how large.
– PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Quicker then postmodern/doesn’t take financial expressions into account.
– Before: Consent
– During: Participant right to withdrawal and confidentiality
-Can hear the recording and make alterations to the data.
– PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Allows fuel interview to be regarded time consuming.
– Researchers become a part of participant group being observed, which requires deception.
– Unstructured interviews
– STRENGTHS: Allows insight into context, relationships and behavior. Provides detailed in-depth knowledge of topic.
– LIMITATIONS: Time consuming/demanding. Difficult to record data promptly and objectively. (Memory/discipline, delicate balance between involvement and detachment)
– Sometimes participants do not even know they are being observed.
– Hypothesis, devising behavioral categories that are going to be observed.
– STRENGTHS: Ecological Validity (akes place in natural environment). Can be used to collect data in cases where it would be impossible/unethical to do so. (Alzheimer’s Disease)
– LIMITATIONS: Participant and researcher expectancies. Sometimes deceiving involved.
– STRENGTHS: Researcher remains objective because he can see the entire picture.
– LIMITATIONS: Demand characteristics.
– Researcher is hidden
– STRENGTHS: Participants act more naturally.
– LIMITATIONS: Requires deception. Researcher not involved with participants so they are not in the same environment and would not have the same stimuli so the researcher has difficulty interpreting participant’s behavior.
– STRENGTHS: Ecological validity
– LIMITATIONS: Demand characteristics
– STRENGTHS: Less demand characteristics.
– LIMITATIONS: Not very generalizable
– ETHICAL FACTORS (carrying out): Be subtle
– ETHICAL + PRACTICAL (carrying out and setting up): Slight deception about the study. Data would be invalid if participant’s change in results effects data.
– ETHICAL + PRACTICAL FACTORS (carrying out and setting up): Wait until after the study to reveal the aim, results and interpretation of data.
– ETHICAL (carrying out): Be able to justify deceit in study.
Step #2: Look for themes in the data in order to form manageable chunks for data.
Step #3: Present data in a diagram (ie. Pie graphs, charts).
Step #4: Throughout the analysis, keep nots to explain how it was done for credibility notes.
Step #5: Use subordinate to reconstruct overall study including what was observed, the themes identified, the notes made, and the interpretations.
– To make existing studies better.
– To develop new theories.
– To test usual assumptions.
– NARROWLY FOCUSED: Describes only a single individual, however you can also (rarely done) on groups.
– HIGHLY DETAILED: The descriptions are very detailed.
– COMBINES OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE DATA: Info collected can represent any combination of objective and subjective data.
– PROCESS ORIENTED: Have researchers go through the nature of process that occurs overtime.
– Psychological testing (e.g. IQ, memory, personality etc.)
– Examination of past records (e.g. Medical, criminal)
– Contradicting established theories
– Giving new insight into phenomena or experience
– Permitting investigation of otherwise inaccessible situations.
– Researcher bias
– Memory distortions
– Not possible to replicate findings
– INTRINSIC CASE STUDY: Studied for their own sake, because they are interesting in themselves and there is no intention to generalize the findings.
– It is required to use generalization when the case studies reveal similar characteristics (HM and Clive Wearing).
– EXTRINSIC CASE STUDY: May be chosen to create theories and for their representativeness so the findings may be generalized to similar situations.