Meaning

Qualitative Research: Using Empathy to Reveal “More Real” & Less Biased Data

The fourth edition of Michael Quinn Patton’s book Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods is a big book — over 800 pages — with updated and new content from earlier editions, including something he calls “ruminations”empathy which are highlighted sections in each chapter that present Patton’s commentary and reflections on issues that have “persistently engaged, sometimes annoyed” him throughout his long career in qualitative research. Patton has made some of these ruminations available online via his posts on the betterevaluation.org blog.

In his November 14, 2014 post, Patton shares his “Rumination #2: Confusing empathy with bias.” In it, he raises an important issue — having to do with the personal nature of qualitative research and how that impacts data collection — that, on some level, runs through the qualitative-quantitative debates waged by researchers who argue for one form of research over another. Such a debate might involve a survey researcher who, entrenched in statistical analysis, wonders, Read Full Text

Finding Meaning: 4 Reasons Why Qualitative Researchers Miss Meaning

Research of any kind that is interested in the human subject is interested in finding meaning.  It Meaningis typically not enough to know that a behavior has occurred without knowing the significance of that behavior for the individual.  Even survey research, with its reliance on mostly preconceived closed-ended questions, is designed with some hope that sense (i.e., meaning) can be derived by cross tabbing data from one question with another, factor analyzing, t-testing, z-testing, regressing, correlating, and any number of statistical techniques.

Yet, it is qualitative research that is usually in charge of finding meaning.  It is not good enough to know who does what, for how long, or in what manner.  Qualitative researchers are not so Read Full Text