Transferability

Qualitative Research: Transparency & Reporting

Qualitative Research: Transparency & Reporting“Qualitative Research: Transparency & Reporting” is a new compilation of 12 articles appearing in Research Design Review from 2010 to 2019. These short articles touch on various ways qualitative researchers can be (and have been) transparent in their documentation and open to sharing data, and how qualitative researchers can be (and have been) embracing transparency to develop “meaningful” reports while encouraging constructive scrutiny of research design.

“Qualitative Research: Transparency & Reporting” is available for download here.

Three other compilations are also available for download:

“Qualitative Data Analysis: 16 Articles on Process & Method” is available for download here.

“The Focus Group Method: 18 Articles on Design & Moderating is available for download here.

“The In-depth Interview Method: 12 Articles on Design & Implementation” is available for download here.

The Limited Usefulness of Convenience Sampling

Convenience sampling is a type of sampling by which the researcher selects a study environment and/or study participants primarily based on ease of access, availability, and/or familiarity. Convenience Convenience sampling radiussampling is not uncommon in qualitative research when researchers may need to complete their research in a short time frame and at a relatively low cost. For example, an ethnographer who wants to study how people behave in a confined space might design her research to observe people on her daily commute on the local subway. Or a graduate student might select clergy within a narrow radius of his university to conduct in-depth interviews to understand the roles clergy play in the lives of their congregations. Or focus group discussions might be conducted at a geriatric facility where the researcher visits her parents in order to learn about skilled nursing care.

In each case, the researcher may come away with insightful information about people in confined spaces on that particular subway car on a particular day, or clergy roles among the particular clergy drawn from religious groups within the neighborhood, or skilled nursing care at that particular geriatric facility. However, the important limitation of these studies lies in the fact that the subway car, the religious groups, and the geriatric facility were not selected because they were somehow representative of confined spaces, religious organizations, or senior medical care facilities, but rather because these locations and participants were in easy access and familiar to the researchers. As a result, and without other research to help triangulate the data, the researcher (and users of the research) have no way of knowing how (or if) the particular subway car on the particular day and time of day, or the clergy in the neighborhood, or the geriatric facility where the researcher’s parents live relate to (i.e., is the same or different than) the broader context of confined spaces, religious organizations, or geriatric facilities.

This raises an important limitation to convenience sampling. From a quality standpoint, convenience sampling limits the ultimate usefulness of a qualitative study because the data based on a convenience sample do not allow the researcher (and users of the research) to apply the findings to other contexts, i.e., convenience sampling limits the transferability of the research. Transferability is a vital aspect of the Total Quality Framework Transparency component and is fundamental to contributing something of value. And in the end, contributing something of value – that is, maximizing the usefulness of the research – is the researcher’s ultimate goal.

 

 

Image captured from: http://www.mpsaz.org/arts/visual_arts/staff/tjkline/5th_grade/

Exploring the True Colors in Qualitative Data

Reliability, in the sense of being able to obtain identical findings from repeated executions of a qualitative research design, is debatable.  Validity, however, is another matter.  Validity, in the sense of whether the qualitative researcher is collecting the information (data) he or she claims to be gathering (i.e., ttrue colorshe accuracy of the data), is a topic worthy of much more discussion in the research community, or at the least a greater emphasis in our qualitative research designs.  While qualitative researchers may not be able to replicate their studies, they surely have the means to consider the authenticity of the data.

There was a Research Design Review post back in 2010 that discussed the importance and appropriateness of validity in qualitative research, including the idea that there are ready-made techniques for looking at validity in qualitative research and that, in some ways, validity is already built into our research methods.  To illustrate how qualitative researchers typically incorporate validity Read Full Text