Author: Margaret R. Roller

Research Integrity & a Total Quality Framework Approach to Qualitative Data Sharing

The September 2021 issue of Monitor on Psychology from the American Psychological Association includes an article “Leading the Charge to Address Research Misconduct” by Stephanie Pappas. The article discusses the various Qualitative data sharingcircumstances or “pressures” that may lead researchers towards weak research practices that result in anything from “honest” mistakes or errors (e.g., due to insufficient training or oversight) to deliberate “outright misconduct” (e.g., falsifying data, dropping outliers from the analysis and reporting). The article goes on to talk about what psychologists are doing to tackle the problem.

One of those psychologists is James DuBois, DSc, PhD at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. DuBois and his colleague Alison Antes PhD direct the P.I. (professionalism and integrity in research) Program at Washington University. This program offers one-on-one coaching to researchers who are challenged by the demands of balancing scientific and compliance requirements, as well as researchers who have (or have staff who have) been investigated for noncompliance or misconduct. The P.I. Program also conducts an On the Road Workshop which is an onsite session for researchers “doing empirical research in funded research environments” covering such areas as decision-making strategies, effective communication, and professional growth goals.

Another approach to the problem of misconduct and the goal of research integrity is transparency by way of sharing data (and other elements of design), allowing other researchers the opportunity to examine research practices and substantiate the reported results. Dr. DuBois and his co-authors discuss this and other advantages to sharing qualitative data in their 2018 article “Is It Time to Share Qualitative Research Data?” The authors assert that allowing other researchers to assess supporting evidence and “comprehensiveness by examining our data may improve the quality of research by enabling correction and increasing attention to detail” (p. 384).

In response to DuBois et al., Roller and Lavrakas (2018) published a commentary expressing Read Full Text

The Skilled Focus Group Moderator & the Ability to Multitask

The following is a modified excerpt from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 143-147).

MultitaskingThe importance of consistency (or, the danger of inconsistency) in qualitative data collection has been discussed elsewhere in Research Design Review (see “The Recipe for Quality Outcomes in Qualitative Research Includes a Healthy Dose of Consistency” and “Mitigating Researcher-as-instrument Effects”). From the perspective of the Total Quality Framework, moderator inconsistency can be a real concern in the focus group method because of the extreme multitasking required of the moderator. More so than in the in-depth interview method, the focus group moderator has to manage multiple points of view and ensure the full engagement of all group participants within a well-defined slot of time (typically, 75–120 minutes depending on the mode). Because of these challenges and the inherent unpredictability of the group dynamic process, the moderator may find it difficult (if not impossible) to cover all areas of the discussion guide across different focus groups and/or practice consistent behavior in the articulation of research questions in each group. This inconsistency across groups does not necessarily lead to inaccuracy in the research data (i.e., biased outcomes) but may result in variations in the data that do not actually exist.

For example, a series of focus group discussions among people who are active in environmental causes might include some groups that were easily managed by the moderator, who was able to cover the entirety of the discussion guide, thereby providing a well Read Full Text

Go-to Qualitative Resources for Timely Guidance

There are many ways for students, early career and more senior-level qualitative researchers to stay current on the scholarly thinking and activities within the qualitative research community. Beyond textbooks and peer-reviewed articles appearing in scholarly journals, there are a number of more timely sources of information that are available for access on a regular basis. To illustrate, here are just a few examples of these types of qualitative-focused, go-to resources providing timely guidance to the qualitative researcher.

Qualitative Sections Within Professional Associations

American Evaluation Association — Qualitative Methods

American Psychological Association — Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP), also on Twitter https://twitter.com/QualPsy

British Psychological Society — Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMiP), also on Twitter https://twitter.com/QMiP

Webpages Devoted to Qualitative Research

The Qualitative Report (TQR) — A comprehensive site providing weekly newsletters, book reviews, lists of other resources, workshops, and an annual conference. This site covers a broad range of qualitative methods and topic areas across disciplines. On Twitter at https://twitter.com/epicpeople_org.

Methodspace-Qualitative — A section of Sage’s Methodspace site devoted to qualitative methods. Janet Salmons coordinates and maintains the content, as well as promotes this section on twitter https://twitter.com/einterview.

EPIC — A website designed for a “global community of practitioners doing ethnography for impact in businesses and organizations.” On Twitter at https://twitter.com/epicpeople_org.

QualPage — A website “examining the world through qualitative inquiry” covering Research Approaches, Digital Tools, Journals & Publishers, and Resources, also on Twitter https://twitter.com/UGAQUAL. The site is maintained by Kathy Roulston, a professor in the Qualitative Research program at the University of Georgia.

Listservs — Qualitative Research Communities

QUAL Community — QUAL@listserv.nova.edu

QUAL-RESEARCHQUAL-RESEARCH@jiscmailac.uk

QUALRS-L@listserv.uga.edu, direct requests for subscriptions send to QUALRS-L-request@listserv.uga.edu