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Applying Qualitative Design & Analysis in Research

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to apply the knowledge of qualitative design and analysis to two qualitative studies. The studies are education studies related to the EdD in Higher Education and Adult Learning. The first study to be reviewed is “Riverside: A case study of social capital and cultural reproduction and their relationship to leadership development” (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005) while the second study is “Conflict Resolution and Transformative Pedagogy: A Grounded Theory Research Project on Learning in Higher Education” (Fetherston & Kelley, 2007). The critique of the two studies will help in determining whether qualitative concepts have been applied by the researchers.

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Introduction

Qualitative studies differ from quantitative studies in so many ways. The major rationale of conducting a qualitative study is to gain a deeper insight into the phenomenon under investigation. Besides the rationale, qualitative studies differ from quantitative ones in the study design, research questions or hypotheses, data collection and data analysis techniques. The aim of this paper is to review and critique two qualitative studies by applying the knowledge of qualitative design and analysis. The first article is the study conducted by Zacharakis and Flora (2005) while the second article is the one conducted by Fetherston and Kelley (2007).

Article 1

Design Identification and Definition

The design used in the study is a case study (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005). A case study is a study of one individual, group or place (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2005).

The Rationale of the Design

The rationale for using a case study to conduct the research is to gain a deeper understanding of how Building Communities for Tomorrow (BCT) program has been implemented by the Riverside community. The choice of the Riverside community was influenced by the unique characteristics the community has such as natural resources and a close proximity to metropolitan areas (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005, p. 289).

Data Collection Techniques

Data was collected through an informal survey in which four open-ended questions were asked of the Riverside residents (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005).

Display of Results

The results from the data were displayed using a table and four different column graphs. The use of graphic presentation makes it easier for readers to understand the results (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005).

Data Analysis

Qualitative data analysis technique – thematic content analysis – was used to analyze the data collected. Four themes were found to be common among the respondents (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005).

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Article 2

Design Identification and Definition

A grounded theory approach was used by Fetherston and Kelly (2007) as the design of their study. This design is used to develop a theory based on the data collected (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2005).

The Rationale of the design

The rationale behind using a grounded theory design was to come up with a new theory of teaching and learning that could inspire new thinking for students (Fetherston & Kelley, 2007, p. 263).

Display of Results

Fetherston and Kelley (2007) presented their results in a narrative form in which each result was discussed independently of the others using excerpts of participants’ responses. This is an appropriate approach in grounded theory studies.

Data Collection Technique

Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through school registries; surveys, interviews, student portfolios, field notes, memos, meeting records, e-mails and group discussions.

Data Analysis

The analysis of data was done using thematic content analysis. The researchers found a number of emerging themes pertaining to students’ experiences of learning which were classified into four groups: “not getting it”, transitional/challenges, “getting it”/change, and transitional/disruptions (Fetherston & Kelley, 2007, p. 272-273).

Comparison and Contrast between the Two Articles

Research Questions

The first article had two research questions which include: “Is there an appropriate balance between social capital and cultural reproduction? How do these two concepts relate to leadership development as part of a community development project?” (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005, p. 289). The second article had no research question. This is appropriate in grounded theory studies because they are not guided by research questions.

Measurement and Instrumentation

In the first article, a survey questionnaire was used to collect data. In the second article, data was collected using questionnaires, interview scripts, and field notes.

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Validity Processes

In the first study, credibility and conformability of the results were ensured through the actual reporting of the participants’ responses rather than what the researchers thought should have been (Golafshani, 2003). In the second study, credibility was ensured through triangulation. Specifically, Fetherston and Kelly (2007) used both quantitative and qualitative sources of data.

Sampling Procedures

In the first study, random sampling of participants’ responses was used to determine the assessment of social capital in Riverside. Snowball sampling was also used to contact and interview community leaders (Zacharakis & Flora, 2005, p. 296). In the second study, random sampling was used in which 16 students out of the cohort of 82 students were selected to participate in the interviews (Fetherston & Kelley, 2007, p. 266).

Ethical Considerations

In both studies, ethical consideration has not been clearly stated. However, given the nature of the studies, the researchers must have taken into consideration several ethical issues. In the first study, the researchers must have obtained permission from the community leaders before conducting the survey. The issues of willful participation and informed consent also must have been taken into consideration. In the second study which used students as the participants, the researchers must have obtained permission from an ethics committee as well as the school’s management and the parents/guardians of the students. Informed consent and protection of the participants from harm must also have been considered by the researchers (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005).

Reference

Fetherston, B., & Kelly, R. (2007). Conflict Resolution and Transformative Pedagogy: A Grounded Theory Research Project on Learning in Higher Education. Journal of Transformative Education, 5, 262–285.

Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The Qualitative Report, 8(4), 597-607.

Hesse-Biber, S., & Leavy, P. (2005). The practice of qualitative research. London: SAGE.

Leedy, P., & Ormrod, J. E. (2005). Practical research: Planning and design (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Zacharakis, J., & Flora, J. (2005). Riverside: A case study of social capital and cultural reproduction and their relationship to leadership development. Adult Education Quarterly, 55, 288–307.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 6). Applying Qualitative Design & Analysis in Research. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/applying-qualitative-design-and-amp-analysis-in-research/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 6). Applying Qualitative Design & Analysis in Research. https://studycorgi.com/applying-qualitative-design-and-amp-analysis-in-research/

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Applying Qualitative Design & Analysis in Research'. 6 December.

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