In the quality of the phenomenon being studied (Langdridge,

In
this assignment I will be going into the stages one needs to follow when using
a qualitative research method. Additionally I will be focusing also on the
considerations one needs to keep in mind when using such method.

Before
deciding on the research design one has to have a clear research question. In
fact although some people would be more inclined to use a particular research
method it the research questions which determines the design and not the other
way round. The research question I will be looking at in this assignment is:
What are the perceived reasons men give
for other men’s infidelity?

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Qualitative versus Quantitative

Qualitative research is
concerned with the quality of the phenomenon being studied (Langdridge, 2004).
It involves direct interaction with people, mostly by talking with them but
also observing their behaviour. It involves efforts to make the interaction as
‘natural’ as possible. On the other hand the goal
in conducting quantitative research study is to determine the relationship
between one thing an independent variable and another a dependent or outcome
variable within a population. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive subjects usually measured
once or experimental subjects
measured before and after a treatment. A descriptive study establishes only
associations between variables; an experimental study establishes causality.

Quantitative
research deals in numbers, logic, and an objective stance. It focuses on numeric
and unchanging data and detailed, convergent reasoning rather than divergent
reasoning i.e., the generation of a variety of ideas about a research problem
in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner.

Research design

In
order to gain a better understanding of the reasons that lead men to cheat on
their partner, I would opt for a qualitative approach. By applying an
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) I would be able to better
understand men’s perspective on why other men cheat. Through IPA, participants
offer the researcher a clear understanding of their feelings, thoughts and
beliefs, giving as many details as they want (Reid, Flowers & Larkin,
2005). Further, IPA gives the researcher the opportunity to enter into the
participants’ life, by taking an active role, and by trying to interpret the
participants’ experience (Smith & Osborn, 2007). IPA is an approach that is
strongly idiographic and concerned with details analysis of each individual’s
beliefs in order to come up with a more general statement. Thus, it would be
the most suitable methodology for the purpose of the research question chosen.

Qualitative research
tools

In
qualitative research there are various research tools one can chose from
including; interviews, focus groups, observations, written material, artefact
and materials, and online versions of these tools. I will be describing the
differences between each tool.

Interview
is a two person conversation initiated by the interviewer for the purpose of
obtaining research-relevant information, and focused by him on content
specified by research objectives of systematic description, prediction or
explanation (Cannell and Kahn, 1968, cited in Cohen and Manion (1994). The
interviews can be structured where an established set of questions are
prepared, semi-structured where a list of questions (often accompanied by
prompts) that serve as a guide during the interview, open-ended/non-directive
with one general question at the beginning of the interview. Subsequent
questions depend on the responses given, focused interview focuses on one topic
only

Focus groups research
method originates in marketing and political campaigning, and it focuses on one
issue. Participants selected for focused groups would have similar
characteristics. In focus groups participants interact in a dynamic atmosphere.
In this research method participants would have a shared understanding. The
group would be formed with a minimum of 5 participants and a maximum of 10
participants.

Observations
– the researcher may act as a participant observer, thus as an ‘actor’, or
non-participant observer, thus the researcher would be a ‘member of the
audience’. The observer would pre-determine behaviours and behaviours related
to specific criteria .

Written material include
reports, parliamentary proceedings, laws, other official documents. Books and
journal papers.

Artefact and materials
refer to photographs or videos taken by the researcher or participants. Also
people’s belongings etc.

Online versions of these tools include
blogs, facebook page email groups and other social media platforms. Online
tools may be used with other research tools.

(Cohen,
Manion & Morrison, 2011)

 

Data collection

Given
that interviews are considered to be the best way of collecting detailed
material so much so that ‘interviews have always been a valuable method of data
collection in social psychology (Langridge, 2004, p.46). Consequently, in my
research I would choose a one-to-one semi-structured interviews, in order to
collect information from the participants. This type of data collection does
not rely completely on the interview guidelines. It enables both the researcher
and the participant to engage in a dialogue whereby prepared questions are
modified depending on the participants’ response (Smith & Osborn, 2007). A
semi-structured interview enables the collection of more personal, rich and in
depth information.

Another
fundamental element in research is to determine who will be selected as a
participant is sampling. Sampling is the process of selecting a representative
group from the population under study. It is almost impossible to study every
single person, thus the researcher would select a sample of the population that
is likely to represent the target population. The participants in research, the sample, should be as representative
as possible of the target population. The more representative the sample, the
more confident the researcher can be that the results can be generalized to the
target population. Sampling is divided in representative and non-representative
sampling. Representative samples provide the most valid results because they
reflect the characteristics of the population. There are two types of
representative sampling: random and stratified. Non-representative samples are
less desirable than probability samples but in certain cases the researcher
would not have money to invest in random or stratifies sampling. Alternatively,
for the purpose of the research the research would not be interested in
generalizing to a large population.   Non-representative
sampling includes quota sampling, purposive sampling and convenience sampling. I
will be going through each sampling technique to determine which technique
would be suitable for the purpose of my research.

Representative
samples

With
random sampling each individual in the population of interest has an equal
opportunity to be selected. They key to random selection is that there is no
bias involved in the selection of the sample. Ant variation between the sample
characteristics and the population characteristics is only a matter of chance.

Stratified
sample – before sampling, the population is divided into characteristics of
importance for the research. For instance, by culture, religion, gender,
education level etc. the population is then randomly sampled within each
category or stratum.

Non-representative
sample

The
defining characteristic of a quota sample is that the researcher deliberately
sets the proportions of levels or strata within the sample. This is generally
done to insure the inclusion of a particular segment of the population. The
proportions may or may not differ drastically from the actual proportion in the
population.

A
purposive sample is a non-representative subset of some larger population, and
is constructed to serve a specific need. A subset of a purposive sample is
snowball sample. A snowball sample is achieved by asking a participant to
suggest someone else who might be willing or appropriate for the study.

A
convenience sample is a matter of taking whatever sample comes along.

http://psc.dss.ucdavis.edu/sommerb/sommerdemo/sampling/types.htm

For
the purpose of this research I would choose snowball sampling as the research
question is open of all males’ opinion. Thus, there is not a category which
needs to be used. However it is still important that the participants would at
least have a similar age characteristic as the opinion and beliefs of an
adolescent may not be the same to those of a young adult.

Procedure

The
first interview needs to be a pilot interview to make sure that the questions
are understandable and to determine whether they answered the research
question. Potential participants would be presented with a detailed explanation
about the type of research which is being conducted. To attract more
participants they can be giving the opportunity to choose the interview setting
and the time they want the interview to be conducted. In this way the
participants would feel less nervous and more confident to express themselves,
since they would be in a familiar environment. It is important that all
participants would sign a consent form.

Data Analysis

By
choosing IPA the meaning that participants give is central and thus, the aim of
the researcher is to understand these meaning rather than to measure the
frequency (Smith & Osborn, 2007). The researcher has to engage in an
interpretative approach and remain as close as possible to the participants’
meanings.

The
interviews would be transcribed verbatim and later analysed by IPA. In order to
capture the real meaning of the participants’ opinions, the interview
transcripts need to be re-read several times to identify the most salient
themes. Significant notes and comments about the participants need to be jotted
down as well. At this stage the themes and sub-themes are created. In the
following stage, the main themes are identified and put In clusters, dividing
them in superordinate and subordinate groups. Once the themes are clear they
need to be presented in a summary table, which represents similarities amongst
participants.

Ethical considerations

An
ethical approach is the most important consideration to take in any research
study (Langdridge, 2004). The researcher has the duty to inform his
participants about the nature and purpose of the research and provide them with
a detailed outline of what is going to occur during the interview. Sending the
information sheet to the participants about the research study to explain the
aim of the research would be according to ethics. Participants need to be made
clear that the participants are not obliged to accept and that they are free to
withdraw from the research at any time. They need to be informed that the
interview will be audio recorded and that the only persons who will be reading
the transcripts would be the research and in case of a tutor. Once the research
is terminated such recordings would be destroyed.

According
to Langdridge (2004), ‘confidentiality and anonymity are two of the most
important ethical considerations in social science research ‘(p. 366). The
researcher needs to clearly communicate to the participants any information
obtained during the interview would remain confidential. Moreover, to protect
the participants’ identity and guarantee anonymity, the research would give
pseudonym to the participants. Any details that could lead to identifying any
participant need to be removed and eliminated.

Reliability and validity

Qualitative research is frequently criticised
for lacking scientific rigour with poor justification of the methods adopted,
lack of transparency in the analytical procedures and the findings being merely
a collection of personal opinions subject to researcher bias.

In
qualitative research validity means ‘appropriateness’ of the tools, data and
process. In assessing validity of qualitative research, the challenge can start
from the ontology and epistemology of the topic being studied for example the
concept of ‘individual’ is seen differently between humanistic and positive
psychologists due to the different philosophical perspectives. Thus, in this
instance qualitative research regarding the individual;s wellbeing will be concluded
with varying validity. Choice
of methodology must enable detection of findings/phenomena in the appropriate
context for it to be valid, with due regard to culturally and contextually
variable. (Leung, 2015).

When
conducting a research it is important to make sure that the findings are valid
and reliable. To establish validity in the research: What are the perceived
reasons men give for other men’s infidelity? I would use peer reviewing.
Two of the participants would be contacted again and presented with the major
themes that emerged from the interview to get their feedback. Multiple
cross-checking of the interview transcripts needs to be carried out to ensure
validity.

Most
qualitative research had its origin in philosophical traditions such as
phenomenology, pragmatism and constructivism, which argue that all the
knowledge that we can obtain is inevitably mediated and constrained by our own
perspective, purposes, language and culture (Camic, Rhodes & Yardley,
2003).

While
in quantitative research reliability refers to exact replicability of the
results. In qualitative research a definition of reliability is challenging
since there are diverse paradigms. Therefore, in this type of research
reliability lies with consistency. Silverman proposed five approaches in
enhancing the reliability of process and results: constant data comparison,
refutational analysis, comprehensive data use, inclusive of the deviant case
and use of tables. Researchers are required to verify the accuracy of the data
in terms of context with continual comparison with peers or alone (Leung,
2015).

.The
credibility criteria involves establishing that the results of qualitative
research are credible or believable from the perspective of the participant in
the research. Since from this perspective, the purpose of qualitative research
is to describe or understand the phenomena of interest from the participants
are the only ones who can legitimately judge the credibility of the results.

To
ensure trustworthiness of the data results a qualitative researcher must follow
the following strategies:

1.   
‘Accounting for personal biases which may have influenced
findings;

2.    Acknowledging
biases in sampling and ongoing critical reflection of methods to ensure
sufficient depth and relevance of data collection and analysis;

3.    Meticulous
record keeping, demonstrating a clear decision trail and ensuring
interpretations of data are consistent and transparent;

4.    Establishing
a comparison case/seeking out similarities and differences across accounts to
ensure different perspectives are represented;

5.    Including
rich and thick verbatim descriptions of participants’ accounts to support
findings;

6.    Demonstrating
clarity in terms of thought processes during data analysis and subsequent
interpretations,

7.    Engaging
with other researchers to reduce research bias;

8.    Respondent
validation: includes inviting participants to comment on the interview
transcript and whether the final themes and concepts created adequately reflect
the phenomena being investigated;

9.    Data
triangulation, whereby different methods and perspectives help produce a more
comprehensive set of findings’

(Noble & smith, 2015)

 

 

Generalizability

Transferability
refers to the degree to which the results of qualitative research can be
generalized or transferred to other contexts. From qualitative perspective
transferability is primarily the responsibility of the one doing the
generalizing. The qualitative researcher can enhance transferability by doing a
thorough job of describing the research context and the assumptions that were
central to the research. The person who wishes to “transfer” the
results to a different context is then responsible for making the judgment of
how sensible the transfer is. Qualitative research tends to assume that each
researcher brings a unique perspective to the study. }
Confirmability refers to the degree to which the results could be confirmed or
corroborated by others. } Possible strategies: ? Be reflexive,
i.e., reveal assumptions or biases that may have affected initial questions or
interpretations. ? Document the procedures for checking and rechecking the data
throughout the study ? Another researcher can take a “devil’s
advocate” role with respect to the results, and this process can be
documented. ? Actively search for and describe and negative instances that
contradict prior observations. ? After the study, one can conduct a data audit
that examines the data collection and analysis procedures and makes judgements
about the potential for bias or distortion.

Population
generalizability

A
common error among qualitative researchers that is made at the interpretation
stage is the tendency to generalize findings rather than to utilize the
qualitative data to obtain insights into particular underlying processes and
practices that prevail within a specific location (Connolly, 1998). }
Indeed, only when relatively large representative samples are utilized should
qualitative researchers attempt to generalize findings across different
populations (i.e., population generalizability), locations (i.e., ecological
generalizability), settings, contexts, and/or times (i.e., temporal
generalizability)

Conclusion

The
aim of this assignment was to provide an explanation of the research tools
required to conduct a research study. Research techniques are the core of any
study as this would make a difference in the outcome of the research results.
Such techniques are determined once a clear research question is available.