If I designed my research on how the experiences of young black males affect the level of mental distress in their parents based on qualitative methods, I would have gathered my data differently.
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What differences would my work have
To begin with, I would have used interviews, as opposed to questionnaires, as a primary source of information. To ensure a better understanding of the interviewees’ experiences, as befits a proper qualitative study, I would have to conduct the interviews in person. This requirement would, in turn, impose additional restrictions on the scope of the research in both geographical and numerical terms. Due to the necessity to contact and meet every participant personally, I would not be able to research on a national scale and would have to restrict myself to Charleston, South Carolina, and its surroundings. I would also have to limit the number of participants, ideally creating a sample of twenty to thirty in-depth interviews.
For the interviews to reflect the participants’ subjective experiences as closely as possible, I would have structured them differently than the questionnaire for a quantitative study. Instead of assessing formal criteria, such as the number of admissions with one or more symptoms of mental distress, I would focus more on the participants’ descriptions of their feelings and state of mind. Instead of structuring the interview around several topics pre-set by the researcher, such as police brutality, I would focus on what concerns participants the most in the experiences of their children. Such an approach would allow establishing recurring themes in the interviewees’ perception of their children’s experiences and continuing the analysis of the participants’ levels of mental distress based on that foundation.