Many of the articles published in Research Design Review in 2016 were dedicated to qualitative research for the simple reason that qualitative researchers are faced with myriad issues when attempting to achieve quality outcomes, and yet there is relatively little discussion about the quality standards by which to guide their research. RDR attempts to fill this void by focusing on the unique attributes of qualitative research and how they serve to define the optimal approaches to conducting qualitative research that is credible, analyzable, transparent, and useful.
Researchers of all ilk care about bias and how it may creep into their research designs resulting in measurement error. This is true among quantitative researchers as well as among qualitative researchers who routinely demonstrate their sensitivity to potential bias in their data by way of building interviewer training, careful recruitment screening, and appropriate modes into their research designs. It is these types of measures that acknowledge qualitative researchers’ concerns about quality data; and yet, there are many other ways to mitigate bias in qualitative research that are often overlooked.
Marketing researchers (and marketing clients) in particular could benefit from thinking more deeply about bias and measurement error. In the interest of “faster, cheaper, better” research solutions, marketing researchers often lose sight of quality design issues, not the least of which concern bias and measurement error in the data. If marketing researchers care enough about mitigating bias to train interviewers/moderators, develop screening questions that effectively target the appropriate participant, and carefully select the suitable mode for the population segment, then it is sensible to adopt broader design standards that more fully embrace the collecting of quality data.
An example of a tool that serves to raise the design standard is the reflexive journal. The reflexive journal has been the subject (in whole or in part) of many articles in Research Design Review, most notably Read Full Text
Elliot Mishler coined the term “case-centered research” to refer to the research approach that preserves the “unity and coherence” of research participants through the data collection and analysis process. Fundamental to case-centered research is its focus on complex social units (or “cases”) in their entirety as well as the emphasis on maintaining the cohesiveness of the social unit(s) throughout the research process. As discussed in Research Design Review back in 2013, two important examples of case-centered approaches are case study research and narrative research.
The complexity and need for cohesion in case-centered research present unique design challenges. Indeed, quality outcomes from case study and narrative research are the result of a well-defined process that guides the researcher from the initial conceptualization phase to data collecting in the field. Although the specifics within the process will vary from study to study, there exists an optimal design flow when implementing the case-centered research approach.
The appropriate path in case-centered designs, leading to data collection, involves the following six Read Full Text