Analysis is probably the biggest obstacle to the broader utilization of qualitative research methods. Other aspects of qualitative research – such as data collection (which is discussed at length throughout Research Design Review as it relates to applying quality standards) – may require a certain degree of resources and deliberation but are not difficult to achieve. Obtaining a representative list of potential participants, for example, or honing the necessary skills to mitigate interviewer bias and gain cooperation from participants demand concentrated efforts on the part of the qualitative researcher but there are fairly straightforward, well-documented procedures to accomplish these goals.
Analysis, however, is difficult and it is the reason why many survey researchers are loath to incorporate a qualitative component – open-ended questions in a survey questionnaire or a Read Full Text
In October 2011, 18 articles appearing in Research Design Review pertaining specifically to qualitative research design were published in the paper, “Qualitative Research Design: Selected Articles from Research Design Review.” The current January 2012 paper – “Questions & Answers: Selected Articles from Research Design Review” – focuses on the key ingredient to all research, i.e., question design and quality (relevance, reliability, validity) of responses. It is impossible to design an effective research question without a complete understanding of the quality of response it elicits. The importance of good question design and its impact on response cannot be underestimated. It is, after all, the only thing that ultimately enables the researcher to make sound conclusions from the research data. This compilation, as all posts in RDR , addresses the most basic question of all, “Is it good research?”
“Questions & Answers: Selected Articles from Research Design Review” includes articles such as:
- The Questions of Race & Ethnicity Every researcher on every study needs to decide whether the race-ethnicity questions provide meaningful, actionable information. If these questions are deemed appropriate, careful design considerations are imperative to giving the respondent a clear path to response.
- The Vagueness of Our Terms: Are Positive Responses Really That Positive? If the researcher is to have any hope of providing usable data to the client, attention has to be paid to clarifying survey responses. After all, wouldn’t you want to know if the finding that 90% of your customers are “very likely” to buy from you again really means there is a 50-50 chance of a repeat purchase?
It is hoped that Questions & Answers, along with future posts in RDR, will bring greater awareness and understanding of the issues impacting qualitative research design and will ultimately lead to more useful, higher-quality outcomes.
A few years ago I teamed up with Linelle Blais (my client at the American Cancer Society) to conduct a test of online versus traditional paper survey mode effects. At issue was whether the Volunteer Satisfaction Study, which we had been conducting for many years nationwide, could be converted from a self-administered paper questionnaire delivered via USPS to an online format. By shifting to online we hoped to save the Society money as well as provide a faster turnaround of the findings. This experiment Read Full Text