Qualitative Research MethodsCollecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact
The definitive step-by step resource for qualitative and ethnographic research Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact is a comprehensive guide on both the theoretical foundations and practical application of qualitative methodology. Adopting a phronetic-iterative approach, this foundational book leads readers through the chronological progression of a qualitative research project, from designing a study and collecting and analyzing data to developing theories and effectively communicating the results—allowing readers to employ qualitative methods in their projects as they follow each chapter. Coverage of topics such as qualitative theories, ethics, sampling, interview techniques, qualitative quality, and advice on practical fieldwork provides clear and concise guidance on how to design and conduct sound research projects. Easy-to-follow instructions on iterative qualitative data analysis explain how to organize, code, interpret, make claims, and build theory. Throughout, the author offers her own backstage stories about fieldwork, analysis, drafting, writing, and publishing, revealing the emotional and humorous aspects of practicing qualitative methods. Now in its second edition, this thorough and informative text includes new and expanded sections on topics including post-qualitative research, phenomenology, textual analysis and cultural studies, gaining access to elite and difficult to access populations, on persuasive writing, novel interviewing approaches, and more. Numerous examples, case studies, activities, and discussion questions have been updated to reflect current research and ensure contemporary relevance. Written in an engaging and accessible narrative style by an acclaimed scholar and researcher in the field Offers new and updated examples of coding and qualitative analysis, full-color photos and illustrations, and a companion instructor website Synthesizes the most up-to-date multidisciplinary literature on qualitative research methods including seven main approaches to qualitative inquiry: grounded theory, case study, ethnography, phenomenology, narrative and autoethnography, participatory action research, and arts-based research Presents innovative qualitative data collection methods and modern representation strategies, such as virtual ethnography, photo-voice, and mobile interviewing Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact is an ideal resource for undergraduate and graduate students, instructors, and faculty across multiple disciplines including the social sciences, healthcare, education, management, and the humanities, and for practitioners seeking expert guidance on practical qualitative methods.
Preface: Is this book for me? xvi 1 Developing contextual research that matters 1 Overview and introduction 2 Three core qualitative concepts: self?reflexivity, context, and thick description 2 Self?reflexivity 2 Context 3 Thick description 3 How qualitative research is distinct from quantitative research 4 A phronetic approach: doing qualitative research that matters 6 Strengths of qualitative research 7 Qualitative research is useful in a variety of jobs, settings, and disciplinary foci 8 Exercise 1.1 Interviewing a friend, colleague, or classmate 9 Moving from ideas to sites, settings, and participants 11 Sources of research ideas 12 Exercise 1.2 Field/site/participant brainstorm 13 Consider This 1.1 Sources of research ideas 14 Compatibility, yield, suitability, and feasibility 15 Researcher’s Notepad 1.1 Negotiating challenges with rare or hidden populations 17 Tips and Tools 1.1 Factoring the ease of fieldwork 18 Moving toward a research question 18 Researcher’s Notepad 1.2 Published examples of research questions 20 Considering collaboration 20 Exercise 1.3 Early research question brainstorm 21 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 22 Exercise 1.4 Three potential field sites and/or participant groups 23 In summary 23 2 Entering the conversation of qualitative research 25 Inductive/emic, deductive/etic, and abductive/iterative approaches 26 The funnel metaphor 29 Sensitizing concepts 29 Exercise 2.1 A quick dip into the field 30 A complex focus on the whole 30 Naturalistic inquiry 31 Thick description 31 Bricolage 32 A sampling of theoretical approaches that commonly use qualitative methods 32 Symbolic interactionism 33 Consider This 2.1 How do I know myself? 35 Structuration theory 36 Consider This 2.2 Why am I standing in line? 37 Exercise 2.2 Action vs. structure 38 Sensemaking 38 Historical matters and current conversations in qualitative research 40 The early days 40 Ethically problematic research and the creation of the IRB 41 Recent history in academia and the private sector 41 Current conversations: ethics, post?qualitative research, big data 42 In summary 44 Exercise 2.3 Research problems and questions 45 3 Paradigmatic reflections and qualitative research territories 48 Paradigms: positivist, interpretive, critical, postmodern 49 Positivist and post?positivist paradigms 49 Interpretive paradigm 51 Exercise 3.1 Verstehen/understanding 52 Critical paradigm 52 Postmodern and other “post” paradigms 55 Consider This 3.1 Whose stylistic rules? 57 Paradigmatic complexities and intersections 58 Exercise 3.2 Assumptions of paradigmatic approaches 59 Key territories and approaches of qualitative research 61 Case study 61 Grounded theory 62 Ethnography and ethnography of communication 63 Phenomenology 65 Participatory action research 67 Narrative inquiry and autoethnography 69 Creative, performative, and arts?based approaches 70 In summary 71 4 Research design: Sampling, research proposals, ethics, and IRB 75 Planning the data collection: fieldwork, interviews, texts, and visuals 76 The value of fieldwork and “participant witnessing” 76 The value of interviews 78 Consider This 4.1 Yin and yang: taijitu 79 The value of textual analysis and cultural studies 80 The value of visual and arts?based materials 81 Developing a sampling plan: who, what, where, how, and when 82 Random samples and representative samples 82 Convenience/opportunistic samples 83 Maximum variation samples 83 Snowball samples 84 Theoretical?construct samples 84 Typical, extreme, deviant, and critical incident samples 84 Tips and Tools 4.1 Sampling plans 86 How and when to choose your sample 86 Ethics and institutional review boards (IRB) 87 Research instruments, informed consent, and confidentiality 88 Different levels of ethical risk and IRB review 89 The quirks of IRB 90 Creating a research proposal 92 Tips and Tools 4.2 Research proposal components 92 Title, abstract, and key words 93 Introduction/rationale 94 Exercise 4.1 Conceptual cocktail party 95 Literature review/conceptual framework 96 Research questions/foci 97 Methodology and methods 98 Tips and Tools 4.3 What belongs in a qualitative methods section? 98 Budget/timeline 99 Tips and Tools 4.4 What to include in a qualitative project budget 99 Projected outcomes 100 In summary 100 5 Negotiating access and exploring the scene 104 Confessional tales that illustrate common challenges of access and consent 105 Riding my mentor’s coattails: Citywest 911 emergency call?takers 105 Becoming a full participant: the Radiant Sun cruise ship 106 Entering a closed organization: Women’s Minimum and Nouveau Jail 107 Accessing an elite interviewee population surrounding a delicate topic 108 Practical considerations of negotiating access 110 Do some homework before approaching the scene 110 Researcher’s Notepad 5.1 Contact information log 111 Please don’t reject me! Seeking research permission 111 Researcher’s Notepad 5.2 Sample access proposal 114 Virtual “access” versus textual harvesting 115 Negotiating access for interviews 116 Abandoning the ego, engaging embodiment, embracing liminality 117 Exercise 5.1 Self?identity audit 119 Navigating those first research interactions 119 Researcher’s Notepad 5.3 Initial reactions speak volumes 121 Relationship building with participants 121 Seeking informed consent in the scene 122 Tips and Tools 5.1 Navigating the beginning of the qualitative research project 123 Exploratory methods 123 Briefing interviews and participant information table 123 Researcher’s Notepad 5.4 Participant information table 124 Member diaries 124 Maps and narrative tours 125 Exercise 5.2 Map and narrative tour 127 In summary 127 6 Field roles, fieldnotes, and field focus 129 Field roles and standpoints 130 Complete participant 131 Play participant 132 Focused witness 133 Consider This 6.1 When playing is uncomfortable 134 Complete witness 135 Visual and virtual aspects of fieldwork 136 Writing fieldnotes: raw records, headnotes, and formal fieldnotes 137 Raw records and headnotes 138 Exercise 6.1 Taking raw records in the scene 140 Formal fieldnotes 140 Researcher’s Notepad 6.1 Fieldnote header 141 Qualities of good fieldnotes 142 Economy versus detail 142 Showing (and using dialogue) versus telling 142 Making the familiar strange and the strange familiar 143 Noticing the data as evidence 144 Analytic reflections 145 Consider This 6.2 Noticing the data as evidence 145 Fieldnote wrap?up 146 Tips and Tools 6.1 Fieldnote writing tips 147 Focusing the data and using heuristic devices 147 Exercise 6.2 Fieldnotes 149 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 150 In summary 152 7 Interview planning and design: Structuring, wording, and questioning 155 Self?reflexivity in interviews 156 Exercise 7.1 Self?reflexive interviewing 157 Interview structure, type, and stance 157 Level of structure in interviews 157 Interview types: ethnographic, informant, respondent, narrative, discursive 158 Interview stances: naïveté, collaborative, pedagogical, responsive, confrontational 160 Interview guide and question wording 161 Tips and Tools 7.1 Interview structure, types, and stances 162 Wording good questions 162 Exercise 7.2 Strategizing interviews 162 Researcher’s Notepad 7.1 Research questions versus interview questions 163 Interview questions: types, purposes, examples, and sequencing 164 Opening the interview 164 Tips and Tools 7.2 Interview question types 165 Generative questions 166 Directive questions 168 Closing the interview 169 Interview question wrap?up 170 Visual, embodied, and experiential approaches 170 Researcher’s Notepad 7.2 Mobile peripatetic interviews 173 How many interviews are “enough”? 174 In summary 175 Exercise 7.3 Interview schedule or guide 176 8 Interview practice: Embodied, mediated, and focus?group approaches 181 Conducting face?to?face interviews 182 Interview logistics 182 Why good interviewing is so much more than asking questions 184 Technologically mediated approaches to interviewing 186 Strengths of mediated interviews 186 Disadvantages of mediated interviews 188 Tips and Tools 8.1 Mediated interviews: advantages and disadvantages 189 The focus?group interview 190 The value of focus groups 190 When to use focus groups 191 Planning focus groups 193 Facilitating the focus group 193 Tips and Tools 8.2 Logistics of formal focus groups 194 Overcoming common focus group and interviewing challenges 196 Exercise 8.1 Practicing focus groups 197 Researcher’s Notepad 8.1 Remedial–pedagogical interviews 199 Transcribing 201 Exercise 8.2 Role?playing interview challenges in a fishbowl 202 Tips and Tools 8.3 Common transcribing symbols 204 In summary 206 9 Data analysis basics: A phronetic iterative approach 208 A phronetic iterative analysis approach 209 Organizing and preparing the data 212 Coding: what it is and how to start 213 Consider This 9.1 Motivating questions and coding domains 215 Analysis logistics: colors, cutting, or computers? 216 Manual approaches 216 Researcher’s Notepad 9.1 Manual coding visual displays: Artistic canvas and tabletop categories 217 Computer?aided approaches with everyday software 218 Primary?cycle coding, coding question start list, and first?level descriptive codes 219 Focusing the analysis and creating a codebook 221 Researcher’s Notepad 9.2 Codebook excerpt 222 Consider This 9.2 Focusing the data analysis 224 Secondary?cycle coding: second?level analytic and axial/hierarchical codes 225 Exercise 9.1 Grouping together codes via axial and hierarchical coding 227 Synthesizing activities: memos, negative cases, and analytic outlines 228 Researcher’s Notepad 9.3 Analytic memos 229 Researcher’s Notepad 9.4 Loose analysis outline 230 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 231 In summary 232 Exercise 9.2 Iterative analysis basics 233 10 Advanced data analysis: The art and magic of interpretation 236 Advanced logistical tools for data analysis 238 Visual data displays 238 Researcher’s Notepad 10.1 Matrix display 239 Tips and Tools 10.1 Flowchart depicting iterative analysis process 241 Computer?aided qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) 242 Exemplars and vignettes 245 Developing typologies 247 Dramatistic strategy and narrative analysis 248 Tips and Tools 10.2 Questions to inspire narrative analysis 250 Metaphor analysis 251 Explanation and causality 253 Discourse tracing 255 Researcher’s Notepad 10.2 Micro, meso, macro sources 257 A post?qualitative analysis: deconstructionism and arts?based research 258 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 260 In summary 261 Exercise 10.1 Advanced data analysis/interpretation 262 11 Qualitative quality: Creating a credible, ethical, significant study 265 Moving beyond objectivity, reliability, and formal generalizability 266 Eight “big tent” criteria for high quality qualitative research 269 Tips and Tools 11.1 Eight “big tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research 270 Worthy topic 271 Rich rigor 271 Sincerity 272 Exercise 11.1 Gauging worth and rigor 273 Self?reflexivity 273 Transparency 274 Researcher’s Notepad 11.1 Sincerity word cloud 274 Credibility 275 Thick description 275 Crystallization or triangulation (NOT both at the same time) 275 Multivocality 277 Tips and Tools 11.2 Intercoder reliability 277 Member reflections (NOT member “checks”) 278 Resonance 279 Transferability and naturalistic generalization 279 Aesthetic merit 280 Significant contribution 281 Ethical research practice 283 Procedural ethics 283 Exercise 11.2 Articulating and gauging significance 283 Situational ethics 284 Consider This 11.1 Situational and relational ethics 285 Meaningful coherence 286 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 287 Consider This 11.2 The ten lies of ethnography 288 In summary 288 12 Theorizing and writing: Explaining, synthesizing, and crafting a tale 292 Theorizing, brainstorming, explaining 293 Exercise 12.1 Words push back on us: a creative analytic Exercise 294 Exercise 12.2 Theorizing via bracketing, abduction, metaphor, and explaining 295 Types of tales: realist, impressionistic/poetic, confessional/autoethnographic 296 The realist tale 297 Creative, impressionist, and literary tales 297 The confessional tale 299 Researcher’s Notepad 12.1 Poetic inquiry 300 Archaeology of a “traditional” qualitative essay 301 Researcher’s Notepad 12.2 Dialogue as a powerful literary tactic 302 Exercise 12.3 Accidental rewrites 303 Writing the framing material: title, abstract, key words 304 Writing the introduction, the literature review, and the conceptual framework 305 Writing the research methodology and method(s) 305 Findings and analysis: choosing an organizational approach 306 Researcher’s Notepad 12.3 Methods data display 307 Themes/topics 308 Chronology/life?story 309 Convergence/braided narrative 309 Puzzle explication strategy 310 Separated text 310 Layered/messy texts 311 Exercise 12.4 Which writing strategy? 312 Conclusions, implications, limitations, and future research 312 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 315 In summary 317 13 Drafting, polishing, and publishing 320 Writing as a method of inquiry 322 How to write and format qualitative research 323 Choosing the research materials 323 Rich, luminous, and thick representations 324 Structuring the data in sections, paragraphs, and sentences 325 Exercise 13.1 Writing from different perspectives and verb tenses 326 Formatting qualitative work 327 Visual representations and art 329 Researcher’s Notepad 13.1 Visual representation 330 Setting yourself up for success by considering the audience first 330 Exercise 13.2 Article format model 332 Submitting, revising, and resubmitting for journal publication 333 Tips and Tools 13.1 National or international journals that have published qualitative communication research (an incomplete list) 334 Rise and grind: overcoming common writing and submission challenges 336 How to write a lot 337 Addressing common challenges in qualitative writing 338 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 342 In summary 342 14 Qualitative methodology matters: Exiting and communicating impact 344 Navigating exit and research disengagement 345 Give notice and say goodbye 346 Exits can be emotional 346 Don’t spoil the scene 346 Give back 347 Researcher’s Notepad 14.1 Thank you note 348 Ethically delivering the findings 348 Public scholarship: crafting representations that move beyond the scholarly essay 349 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 350 Public scholarship 351 Staged performances 351 Researcher’s Notepad 14.2 Staged performance with impact 352 Films 353 White papers and translated essays 354 Tips and Tools 14.1 White papers 355 Grant applications and reports 356 Consulting and private sector ethnography 357 Media relations 358 Exercise 14.1 Six?word stories 359 Web presence 359 Warning: doing research that matters can be terrifying 361 Overcoming lingering obstacles to public scholarship 362 Exercise 14.2 Making an impact via public scholarship 364 Following, Forgetting, and Improvising 364 In summary 366 Appendix A Fieldnote 367 Appendix B Focus group guide 369 Appendix C Interview/focus group excerpts with different levels of transcription detail 373 References 377 Index 400
SARAH J. TRACY is Professor of Human Communication, Arizona State University-Tempe, and an internationally recognized expert on qualitative research methods. She has contributed more than 75 essays to publications such as Qualitative Inquiry, Communication Monographs, and Management Communication Quarterly, and developed the renowned "eight big tent model" for high quality qualitative research.
THE DEFINITIVE STEP-BY-STEP RESOURCE FOR QUALITATIVE AND ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact is a comprehensive guide on both the theoretical foundations and practical application of qualitative methodology. Adopting a phronetic-iterative approach, this foundational book leads readers through the chronological progression of a qualitative research project, from designing a study and collecting and analyzing data to developing theories and effectively communicating the results–allowing readers to employ qualitative methods in their projects as they follow each chapter. Coverage of topics such as qualitative theories, ethics, sampling, interview techniques, qualitative quality, and advice on practical fieldwork provides clear and concise guidance on how to design and conduct sound research projects. Easy-to-follow instructions on iterative qualitative data analysis explain how to organize, code, interpret, make claims, and build theory. Throughout, the author offers her own backstage stories about fieldwork, analysis, drafting, writing, and publishing, revealing the emotional and humorous aspects of practicing qualitative methods. Now in its second edition, this thorough and informative text includes new and expanded material covering post-qualitative research, phenomenology, textual analysis and cultural studies, gaining access to elite and difficult to access populations, persuasive writing, novel interviewing approaches, and more. Numerous examples, case studies, activities, and discussion questions have been updated to reflect current research and ensure contemporary relevance. Written in an engaging and accessible narrative style by an acclaimed scholar and researcher Offers new and updated examples of coding and qualitative analysis, full-color photos and illustrations, and a companion instructor website Synthesizes the most up-to-date multidisciplinary literature on qualitative research methods including seven main approaches to qualitative inquiry: grounded theory, case study, ethnography and ethnography of communication, phenomenology, narrative inquiry and autoethnography, participatory action research, and creative, performative, and arts-based research Presents innovative qualitative data collection methods and modern representation strategies, such as virtual ethnography, photovoice, and mobile interviewing Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact is an ideal resource for undergraduate and graduate students, instructors, and faculty across multiple disciplines including the social sciences, healthcare, education, management, and the humanities, and for practitioners seeking expert guidance on practical qualitative methods.
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