Final analysis of every single bit of data; The Use of Qualitative Content Analysis in Case Study Research. 7 (21), p4-7.
The possible strategies for conducting vital research are discussed in Florian’s Journal on qualitative content analysis. It discusses the pro’s and con’s of using either quantitive or qualitative research.
The general deductions that I made from this reading in relation to how I would conduct my own research were;
Although qualitative research techniques are sometimes viewed within a professional context as being less professional than quantitative research, with a greater room for misinterpretation qualitative research is characterised by Cassel et al as being:
“a focus on interpretation rather than quantification; an emphasis on subjectivity
rather than objectivity; flexibility in the process of conducting research; an orientation
towards process rather than outcome; a concern with context—regarding behaviour
and situation as inextricably linked in forming experience; and finally, an explicit
recognition of the impact of the research process on the research situation”
Subjectivity, an opinion or an assumption which can vary day-to-day or between people according to Lland, E (2003) is beneficial in gaining opinion and so could be a useful way of gaining personal feedback about what teachers feel works for them personally rather than ticking a box for what works to a set out criteria. Objectivity, also defined by Lland, as observable or factual data that can be repeated could also be beneficial in assessing the value of my product as it is has the capacity to repeated, and that is ultimately more appealing to an investor than an opinion that may have a volunteer bias.
I therefore decided to use a mixture of both quantitive and qualitative techniques to gather my final and conclusive pieces of data.
Volunteer bias, is something which I have not been able to overcome throughout my research and this is therefore a limit to the validity of my research and can be defined as Volunteer bias which can be defined as the bias that comes from the fact that a particular sample can contain only those participants who are actually willing to participate in the study or experiment (Heiman, 2002). As I have contacted the respondents to my surveys and interviews personally, even via the internet they may still have felt obliged to answer in favour.
To limit the effect of volunteer bias throughout my research, I have only disclosed the details of my innovation after the surveys were completed if requested. Although it does not erase the potential for respondents to answer surveys in a way that would ‘do me a favour’ this technique is talked about frequently within many of the resources referenced below as largely effective.
Other than the volunteer bias, to limit the effects of my own subjectivity I composed a final questionnaire to explore the issues that were initially discussed and their own opinions of my final prototype in relation to these issues discussed in my earlier blogs, so that rather than analysing my own opinions I can at least analyse the external opinions who will be consuming the product, and are not emotionally attached to it.
In the first instance, I took this recurring concern from a primary school teacher about the current teaching of PSHE:
and asked the same group of teachers this, in relation to my final prototype.
I used a multiple choice style question to gain quantitative data for the key piece of information, so that it could therefore be plotted easily visually onto a graph.
80% of the teachers who I sent the folders to and answered the survey replied yes.
The simplicity of a multiple choice answer has both it’s advantages and disadvantages. Whilst the answers are less susceptible to misinterpretation by myself, the person whom will take the answers forward, multiple choice questions do not provide the respondent with the opportunity to explain their answers, and more importantly to ask question of their own to really understand what is being asked of them. (Bjornsson 2012)
To gain qualitative data I used a comment style question so that the respondent was more open to offering their personal suggestions.
These two answers in particular demonstrate both the strengths and limitations of using open ended questions.
Whilst the second answer is useful and clearly suggests an area for improvement for me to further work on, the first answer ‘Not sure’, throws into question whether a qualitative answer with little use or a quantitative answer, with a multiple choice answer which is not truly reflective is preferable. It is arguably a question of ethics, but ultimately I would rather create a product developed because of a genuine need and is therefore innovative rather than one based on false statistics.
That is why, for the next stage of my strategy, I will think about my product contextually in terms of its market value.
Bjornsson. (2012). Pros and con’s of multiple choice. Available: http://www.researchgate.net/post/Pros_and_cons_of_multiple_choice_questions. Last accessed 3rd March 2014.
Doyle,B et al. (2004). http://www.asdatoz.com/Documents/Website-%20Objective%20vs%20subjective%20ltr.pdf. Available: http://www.asdatoz.com/Documents/Website-%20Objective%20vs%20subjective%20ltr.pdf. Last accessed 3rd March 2014.
Heiman, G. W., (2002). Research Methods in Psychology. 3rd Edition. Boston & New York. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Kohlbacher,Florian. (2006). Qualitative social forum . The Use of Qualitative Content Analysis in Case Study Research. 7 (21), p4-7.