Tag Archives: research-design

Grounded Theory Vs. Qualitative Content Analysis

Hey, guys – we back from spring break!! (~ mixed feelings ~) ://

Anyway, this week’s research article, “Reducing Confusion about. Grounded Theory and Qualitative Content Analysis: Similarities and Differences” by Ji Young Cho and Eun-Hee Lee, was not nearly as scary as last week’s article. I found myself hesitant to open up the document and begin my process of breaking down the text so that I can see and feel what the words are trying to tell me. I felt heavy resistance. I felt angry for some reason. It’s no secret that I’ve been avoiding my blog post for as long as I can manage.

My hesitance toward wanting to read came directly from the frustrating experience I had reading and decoding the scholarly article on Network Theory. I’m having PTSD (lol). Nah – I’m being dramatic and just find it interesting to notice the inner feelings or bodily sensations that may arise when confronted with or reading a form of literature. Once I conquered the resistance-avoidance state of numbness, and began to read, I realized that this article was fine (although a bit redundant in nature), and that I’m totally okay (lol). I understand most of what the text is saying, and here I am, right now, writing my blog post. The resistance-avoidance state is now over and I’m in action ~~~ LOL

Anyway, I wanted to shed light on my initial feelings toward this week’s research reading because we happen to talk a lot about the novice student researcher and their individual relationship with research & academia in our class. And Cho and Lee start off this interesting topic, first by explaining how several novice researchers (like me – like us), “especially students who want to conduct qualitative research, are often confused by the [complex] characteristics of the two [qualitative research methods, Grounded Theory and Qualitative Content Analysis] as result of lack of comparative references” (1).

Immediately, the authors were very straightforward about the six areas of difference that emerged through their research, which made following along with the buildup of the rest of the research paper much easier. It’s comforting that the goal of this research paper is to help us, the novice researchers, and to further assist us in the selection of appropriate research methods of inquiries (especially, if taking the qualitative route, which idk, I might dabble in). And, although tedious and confusing in nature & its execution, I can see future me choosing a qualitative approach toward data collection. I don’t know, maybe I’m just attracted to the whole “holistic” or “open-mindedness” attitude that surrounds and hovers over the qualitative. Especially, with the social interactionism or symbolic interactionism meaning-movement that’s now tied into the grounded theory approach.

Anyway, the push for symbolic interactionism widened the scope of variations for grounded theory, allowing for both a creative, open-for-interpretation (Glaser) and a rigorous, prescriptive routine-like decoding process (Strauss & Corbin). But then again – there was a guy, (Kracauer, 1952), who apparently, “advocated for a qualitative approach to content analysis in which meanings and insights can be deprived from the text more holistically” (Cho & Lee, 3). What I find even more funny is that this critique is what took quantitative content analysis and transformed from it, the development of qualitative content analysis by application of the systematic use of a category system (3). Okay. . . so, . . . like just changing the name of the method makes this “newly found” content analysis approach more holistic in nature and less rigid so as to avoid forcing data? Hmmm, I don’t know.

But wait – it gets even better (& more confusing) when grounded theory is continuously defined as a “a systematic generation of theory, “or as a “a set of rigorous procedures to the emergence of conceptual categories.” There is an overuse and overlap of the words like rigorous, systematic, category system, holistic, creativity, interpretation, meaning. It’s like, are these people fooling us and is everything just the same, here? From everything I’ve gathered, it feels like both methods – Grounded Theory and Qualitative Content Analysis – can do the same things or undergo similar forms of decoding techniques or processes.

After reading through each section of this research article, I definitely noticed that the distinct difference between these two qualitative methods or processes is that Grounded Theory aims to generate a theory from comparative analysis and that Qualitative Content Analysis is interested in understanding the overall features generated by directional, hypothesis research questions. I feel like the authors could have simplified this in a more straightforward manner. Idk maybe I’m still mad over last week’s research article and ahhh, – the redundancy of it all!!

ALSOOO ~~~

I thought this was a cool diagram-image thingy that helps explain the grounded theory data analysis steps/ process:

~~ This is another weird blog post for the books ~~

Xoxo,

Francesca Di Fabio 🙂

Genre Features – Qualitative Research

Hey all,

From what I gathered while reading, Understanding The Genre Features of Qualitative Research: A Case Study by Guo, Y-H, is that this case study has a very meta-component to it, in which the case study follows and documents the process of Lin – a Taiwanese graduate student majoring in English Education – and his progression into a qualitative research community (119). Essentially, this is a qualitative case study being done on a novice research student conducting and compiling qualitative field work data to understand how his limited interpretative writing skills paired with the lowly formulaic style of qualitative data retrieval, will impact his research journey and thesis formation attempts (Guo, 115). A qualitative research study, studying another qualitative research study – OoOo, cool, yo!

Anyway, the design of this case study can easily appeal to and initiate a research learning curve for both students and professors regarding the importance of teaching and conducting qualitative research as a genre. If novice researchers were pushed by their research professors or advisors to steer away from relying on model-imitation techniques of academic research writing, and rather encourage them to study their own naturalistic writing processes – whether it be academic, creative, free-writing, or drafting – they would essentially be practicing and refining their interpretative writing skills on a more simpler level, which differs from that of research-related skills like decoding, or categorizing. Likewise, Guo even asserts that, “[. . .] in transforming naturalistic data into words, the students are actually engaged in the process of writing. Studying their research processes means to study their writing processes” (115).

This way, graduate students can learn how to effectively transform naturalistic data into comprehensible categories of words and meaning in relation to their qualitative inquiry research question(s). Especially, since the qualitative data collection and thesis proposal process entirely revolves around the process of writing and reflecting; otherwise, referred to as interpretive writing skills (Guo 115).

We’ve discovered that qualitative research involves self-centered reflection, as to clear the mind for meaningful, and purposefully driven inquiry questions that drive an effective thesis proposal. We’ve also discussed how research involves interpretive writing skills, which seem to be left out of the curriculum in favor of quantitative research (Guo 122). However, the beginning-inquiry stage of the qualitative research process is seldomly discussed in terms of its genre features and preferred writing styles; thus, leaving students stuck in doubt about their chosen research topic and process (qualitative), which is supposed to feel “freer” than that of the quantitative data collection process. Lin even struggled to find purposeful and meaningful inquiry at the very beginning, He did not know what to investigate specifically and did not follow traditional research procedure by starting from the review of literature” (Guo 118). 

Sometimes, though, too much freedom becomes overwhelming, especially if there is no academic support or training on the complexities of qualitative research as a writing genre. Although Lin chose to conduct his qualitative research through a top-down approach, I don’t think he was ever really taught on how to effectively manage and observe the continual streaming flow of gathering on-site data (Guo 118). Ultimately, I think – after reading about the outside contextual forces – that the qualitative research disconnect is rooted solely on researcher preferences, which in turn, impacts what university students learn; or perhaps, even the fear of getting lost in the written and verbal data observations; or maybe, the avoidance is due to student-homework laziness or an unwillingness to commit through the frustration of interpreting the data and carrying on with it until the end. This is unfortunate in terms of academia and the infinite knowledgeable truths awaiting to be researched and discovered.

I also wonder how professors expect college students to follow through with the multifaceted nature of qualitative research if they: 1) HAVE NOT considered their students’ preexisting knowledge on research implementation; 2) NEVER provide opportunities to learn about qualitative research as a genre, and do not offer enough classroom time to practice writing the qualitative conventional surface features; and 3) DO NOT discuss the recursive, circular nature of qualitative data, and how to avoid becoming overly frustrated.

 This lack of education on the qualitative research process makes it appear more intimidating for college students; therefore, it makes sense to why most of the students chose the quantitative approach (Guo 120). University research institutes and English departments can help to combat the prejudiced attitudes from some science research communities by embedding more qualitative curricular activities or assignments that would be thoroughly guided, step-by-step with the help of the processors’ in-depth explanations. Considering Lin’s Eastern Asian origins and Taiwanese ethnic-identity, I can image that he had to face immense resistance or confront faces of confusion from his classmates, who all chose the easy route in terms of data collection – conducting quantitative research because the data happens to seem more tangible and digestible. So, I applaud Lin for volunteering to be qualitatively observed and analyzed on conducting a form of research that he knows so little about. Go, Lin!!!

 Particularly, because this case study delves deep into Lin’s qualitative writing challenges, and his interactions with his academic advisor and other professors throughout his research endeavors. We are given insight on Lin’s personal struggles conducting, gathering fieldwork data, and writing and editing his data analysis procedure section – over, and over, again. As a graduate student, I felt for Lin and became overly frustrated for him considering there was little-to-no emphasis on the practice and importance of qualitative research (as a genre in inquiry and writing), lack of instruction on academic discourse diversity and “the conventional surface features of thesis writing” (Guo, 122). 

That’s all for this week ~~ I hope whatever I wrote made sense because I did this blog post and skimmed through the reading with a 100-degree fever ~~ woot, woot!!!

Life do be like that sometimes ~~ what ya gonnna do, tho ~~

Xoxo,

Francesca Di Fabio 

Let’s Talk Research:

We back, again –

My first impression of the research process is that it’s not cute – at all (lol). To research is to be curious. To be curious is to accept failure, or the very idea that your attempted, self-centered, intrinsic-driven, problem-question could be misguided, which of course, inevitably leads to revising your initial research question, and reframing your hypothesis just to hope the variables won’t be wrongfully manipulated, yet again. There is a lot to lose yet so much more to gain throughout the research process.

I said the research process – of being socially, culturally, and self-aware enough to externalize a self-centered research question, and to be nonetheless motivated enough to test your inquiry through the appropriate research method – is not cute because the process of conducting research is so important, hefty, and time-consuming that it becomes extremely intimidating. In fact, I think being aware of the many different types and forms of research and data collection is a useful skill to have to understand academic literature, and to properly prepare for the diverse world of writing and creation. Configuring a research question and choosing a method of implementation is apparently only the beginning ~~

As a perfectionist, I like to get things right the first time around. Perfectionism is a trait of mine – in which I’m not the proudest of – that I’ve been continuously working to dismantle and unravel with my therapist. And to conduct research, is to openly accept failure as a point of reference for redirection, which sounds hopeful yet daunting at the same time. Perhaps, this class will provide me with the patience and perseverance needed to organize, research, create, implement, and analyze. Hopefully, through closely reading and studying the various methods of research and academic writing, I’ll gain insight on how the author’s went about their research process, and how they managed to cope with constant changing variables. Something about sudden unpredictability scares the living hell out of me.

Considering the many different research methods discussed in Martin Gunnell’s LinkedIn article post, I have found the mixed methods to be most intriguing because if it’s extensive approach toward data collection. I find value in all three of the research methodologies, and their respective ways of thinking and application. Each research method invites unique layers of, or perspectives on humanity and our very function in existence. Quantitative methodsor quantity; how much of – is numeric and objective, with its origins based deeply in the scientific method. Particularly, the quantitative approach uses statistical processes to refine and display emerging patterns from data through survey preparation and testing, validation of the variables, sample identification, and of course, a multitude of other procedures (Gunnell, 2016). What I like most about the quantitative method approach is the straightforwardness of defined steps outlined within the scientific method. Of course, the researcher may have to re-visit past steps, or re-adjust their hypothesis to make more sense of the changing variables or collected data. Ugh, though, because what a fright it would be to wake up one morning, just to find out you have been testing the wrong question or hypothesis the entire time.

No need to worry, because the qualitative method approach “derives the research process from the collected data (Gunnell, 2016).” Thus, making the qualitative research process itself free of rigid rules and procedures. Although I’m a fan of step-by-step directions, I find comfort in the freedom of exploration and discovery experienced throughout the qualitative research method process. The qualitative methods, with its origins in using unstructured processes of data collection to understand human motive, interaction, and behavior, seems to better suit and support my interest as a fictional, creative writer. The interpersonal ambiguity of qualitative research allows for multiple interpretations to exist, and in return, the collected data could help me fabricate future fictional characters around a personally motivated, and well-researched question that could potentially be the overall theme of the short story.

As for the CARS model, designed and directed toward revising introductions, is an organized, proofreading writing guide to assure that all essential parts of a scholarly introduction are appropriately met and addressed. The CARS model seems to uncomplicate the daunting task of starting a hefty research paper. I also find the self-reflective introduction questions for revision useful and would definitely take advantage of asking myself such crucial questions to refine my research proposal.

The process of forming a research question and choosing the best method for data collection is where all the magic of discovery begins. Forming and finalizing an appropriate research question is a separate process that ultimately precedes the research process. Doubt and self-awareness must come before research implementation and deep analysis. I suppose academic researchers love the thrill of chasing knowledge, or the notion of being an active problem-solver or solution-seeker. I certainly applaud their diligence in the matter.

XOXO,

Francesca Di Fabio 🙂

Blog #2 Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research ft. cars model

Truth be told, before I started reading this I thought to myself, “Wow I am going to understand nothing”. However, most of the writing was very well written and I understood almost most of it. So for that, I thank the author for such clear and concise writing. The author was pretty straight  to the point in terms of acknowledging what would be discussed in the later paragraphs. Quantitative, qualitative, and the morphing of those two being, mixed methods research. From what I have concurred, these three methods are crucial approaches when it comes to research. I say research as a general statement because from my own findings or shall I say research, I noticed that these methodologies can be used for everyday purposes. We have quantitative research that uses experimental and non-experimental designs to collect data of a generalized population. The use of surveys and structured interviews provide essential data, however the collection must be valid. For example, asking interviewees the same questions as the other, so the outcomes are consistent and not confusing. Just from those few paragraphs, a step into research started to feel more comfortable and familiar.

We then moved on to qualitative research which studies emotions, relationships, and personal experience. Personally, when I saw the word qualitative, I could not even pinpoint what that word could possibly mean. Once I understood the meaning and method of qualitative research, it definitely interested me. Qualitative research is made up of narrative, phenomenology, ethnography, grounded theories, and case studies, which is ultimately what makes up our entire course.  Phenomenology is my topic for my presentation so reading a little more about it was helpful. When the author said, “Phenomenology is more of a mental mindset which searches for meaning through perception”, it was a clear depiction of why I chose this as a topic. From qualitative research I got the idea that the majority of the data collected is from just humans, living their lives. Human beings who have experienced so many different lives from one another, so many different emotions and perspectives that make this research method meaningful. 

Mixed methods research is basically a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research but there are pros and cons. Both methods take part in different areas of research. Qualitative method is stronger and provides a good ground to stand on in the beginning of the research whereas quantitative is stronger at the end of the research to tie everything together. We also have the very valid point that Arbnor and Bjerke made when they said “Reaching inaccurate research conclusions is largely a result of bias”. We are in a world full of bias, even when one tries not to me. Especially when data results come about and researchers must conclude their findings. If any sense of bias or invalid data is given, the whole research can be ruined. But, I do see the mixed methods being a better candidate for research methods. The paper had stated that mixed methods do take longer, but it balances out both methods. Not one method is being used more than the other because at the end of the day they cancel each other out. Especially when it comes to canceling out the bias. 

The CARS model by John Swales felt like the first step when starting any kind of research. I mean after all, it is called Creating a Research Space. Firstly, I had to google what a niche was. The part of the model that caught my attention and that I related with the most was the revision portion. I felt that revision is very crucial when it comes to research because you cannot have inconsistency. The revision process asks a series of questions that I would have never thought about if not asked by my professor. But I also have to remember that this is not undergraduate anymore, research now is scholarly. Other scholars can stumble upon your research one day and turn it into a lecture or this research makes a positive difference in the English community.