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
Samantha Heintzelman and Laura King, at the University of Missouri, published an article in American Psychologist in 2014 titled, “Life is Pretty Meaningful.” In this article the authors discuss their work that explores the answer to the “lofty” question “How meaningful is life, in general?” To do this, Heintzelman and King examined two broad categories of data sources: 1) large-scale surveys – six representative surveys conducted in the U.S. and a worldwide poll; and 2) articles published in the literature that explicitly report on research studies utilizing one of two established measures of meaning in life – the Purpose in Life Test (PIL) and Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ). The large-scale surveys asked yes-and-no questions such as “Did you feel that your life has meaning [in the past 12 months]?” as well as agree-disagree rating scale items such as “My life has a real purpose.” Their analysis of these surveys concluded that “for most people, life is meaningful [and] comparatively few Read Full Text
Many conversations about research design revolve around the common goal of maximizing response. Whether it is a quantitative or qualitative study, researchers routinely make design decisions that they hope will mitigate refusals and better the odds of obtaining reliable and valid responses to research questions. Survey and qualitative – focus group, in-depth interview, ethnographic – researchers carefully consider such things as sampling, mode, screening, survey request/recruiting, and overall questionnaire/guide design along with question wording, all with the desire to derive useful outcomes based on a sound approach to maximizing the actual number of people responding to the research request as well as the integrity of the responses received to the research questions.
An important dimension in research design is time; that is, the length of time it will take the survey respondent or qualitative participant to complete his/her involvement with the research. In this regard, questionnaire length (and complexity) is an obvious area of attention in survey research, with researchers such as Jepson, et al. (2005), Deutskens, et al. (2004), and others demonstrating an indirect relationship between length (e.g., in pages or word count) and response rate – the longer the questionnaire length, the lower rate of response. Likewise, Read Full Text