Evaluating Qualitative Methods

ALL CITATIONS NEED TO BE JOURNAL ARTICLES WITHIN THE PAST 5 YEARS.
Assume the role of a chief researcher for the state Department of Education who is
examining two groups with similar educational deficiencies. One group involved in the
study is a rural, ethnically-defined, aboriginal group with a high rate of health issues
including diabetes, vision impairment, and heart disease. The other group is also a rural
group living on family-owned farms (as opposed to corporate farms) that are in severe
decline as a result of years of decreasing rainfall and drought. Both groups exhibit
achievement test scores that are more than one standard deviation below the mean at all
grade levels, and excessive high school drop-out rates.
Write a paper of 1,250-1,500 words in which you consider the merits of applying
ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, narrative inquiry, and case study to the
scenario above. Include the following in your paper:

  1. A brief description of what types of information about the given scenario could be
    gathered from each of the qualitative methods listed above.
  2. A brief statement of the potential utility and scientific merit of the information to be
    gathered by applying each of the qualitative methods above to the given scenario.
  3. A brief statement describing which qualitative method(s) listed above would be best
    suited to the scenario in light of the potential gains in both utility and scientific merit
    expected from completing the study.
    RUBRIC
    15.0 %A thorough description of what types of information about the given scenario could
    be gathered from each of the qualitative methods listed is presented. Information presented
    is from current scholarly sources.
    30.0 %A thorough statement of the potential utility and scientific merit of the information
    to be gathered by applying each of the qualitative methods to the given scenario is
    presented. Information presented is from current scholarly sources.
    20.0 %A thorough statement describing which qualitative method(s) listed would be best
    suited to the scenario in light of the potential gains in both utility and scientific merit
    expected from completing the study is presented. Information presented is from current
    scholarly sources.

Evaluating Qualitative Methods

Qualitative research is one of the approaches that researchers adopt to carry out their
studies. It is a type of scientific research that involves carrying out of an investigation that seek

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 2
answers to various questions, uses predefined set of procedures to answer the question, collects
evidence and provides findings not previously determined and applicable beyond the immediate
boundaries. It is also adopted to understand a given problem from perspectives of the local
population concerned and is more effective in obtaining cultural specific information such as
behaviors, opinions, values and social contexts of a certain population (Kragelund, 2013).
Various methods that the paper delineates on include narratives inquiry ethnography,
phenomenology, grounded theory, narrative inquiry and case study.
Two scenarios, one a study on a rural, ethnically defined, aboriginal group with a high
rate of health issues including diabetes, vision impairment and heart disease and the other
involving a rural group living on family-owned farms in severe decline as a result of years of
decreasing rainfall and drought will be adopted in understanding and evaluating the merits of
these methods.
A narrative inquiry is one of the qualitative methods that use various analytical practices
and is rooted in various different humanities and social disciplines (Atkinson, 2009). This
method focuses on exploring the life of an individual. The researcher studies one individual
using interviews and documents (Lamatic, 2011). One of the merits of this method is that it
allows a researcher to inquire into the life of an individual helping to illustrate the fears, hope,
successes and failures of an individual through assigning of meaning to ones daily experiences.
This kind of research is applicable in these two scenarios. In the first study, the researcher will be
able to interrogate the people from the rural area on the prevalence of health issues that they face.
The information to be obtained from this research is first hand. Likewise, in the second scenario,
the researcher will engage with the people and be able to understand the intensity of drought and
the reasons why there is poor performance and high school dropout rates. The researcher

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 3
furthermore, will be in a position to experience the moods or the emotions of the interviewee and
this will also help to understand the experiences and the problems that they are going through. In
this research, information that is likely to be gathered includes, the prevalence of the diseases,
the causes, the initiatives put in place to eradicate or prevent increased rate of these problems and
those people that are mostly affected. In the second case scenario, information likely to be
collected includes the duration the area has not received rainfall, the effects of the drought such
as poor performance in schools, reduced rate of enrolment and high school dropout rates among
others.
This method is also going to help gather information with utility and scientific merit. The
information will come from individuals that have experienced the problem of health issues as
well as drought hence this information will be useful to policy makers. The information also
meets scientific merit as the research is done through interviews and documentation. The
information retrieved can be analyzed and a report compiled for action.
Phenomenological study provides a description of meaning of several people on their live
experiences of a certain phenomenon or concept. It focuses on describing what all the
participants have in common when they experience a phenomenon (Reiter, Stewart & Bruce,
2011). Therefore, researchers use this method to reduce individual experiences with a
phenomenon to description of a universal essence. It allows the researcher to find out what the
individual experienced and how they experienced the phenomenon. The merit of this research
method is that it allows a researcher to concentrate on one phenomenon, which leads to deeper
understanding and description of the essence. In this research method, the kind of information
that is likely to be gathered is specific health issue such a vision includes diabetes, or heart

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 4
diseases that is attributed to lead to school dropouts increasing. In the second scenario,
information to be collected may be on how drought has lead to increased rate of school dropouts.
Information gathered through this method has utility and scientifically it merits. The
information provides an insight to one of the health issues and how it leads o school dropout and
as well will help to create understanding of how drought causes school dropouts. This will
therefore, ensure that an action is taken to help address the problems. The scientific merit of the
information is evident through the data collection methods adopted. The researcher uses
interviews, with individuals, observation, documents and art to solicit the opinions and views of
the people. The affected individuals are the ones targeted and this increases the chances of
soliciting credible and first hand information.
Grounded theory is yet another qualitative method, which moves beyond description to
generation and discovering of new theory (Gringeri, Barusch & Cambron, 2013). All the
participants in the study need to have experienced the process and the new development of the
theory is important as it might help explain practice or to provide a framework for further
studies. The theory is developed or generated from the data collected from the participants that
have experienced the process (Lawrence & Tar, 2013). Because of the fact that this theory is
generated from large number of people it makes this research method more credible and reliable.
Another merit is that data is analyzed through open coding, axial and selective coding which
makes it easier to understand the various scenarios. Information likely to be gathered in scenario
one using this method of qualitative research includes, how the people have managed to cope
with the disease and reduce the number of school dropouts, the effects of the diseases on the
ability of the children. In scenario two, the information likely to be gathered include, the
alternative ways the resident have adopted to manage the reduced rainfall level and the drought

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 5
and the measures that have put in place previously to ensure that the number of school dropouts
doe not reduce.
This information is useful as it allows the researcher to understand the previous situation
and process hence allows new researchers to research deeper in the situation for appropriate
development of theories that can help solve the problem. It also meets scientific merit because it
requires use of various tools of data collection such as interviews and data is analyzed through
coding.
Ethnography research focuses on examining shared patterns of behaviors among
participants in a specific location/cultural group (Boddy, 2011). The unit of analysis is normally
more than 20 participants or individuals. The method is simple and less costly as the researcher
participates in the process of data collection through observation and interviews with the people.
Information likely to be gathered through this research method in the first scenario includes the
shared beliefs of people about these diseases, the norms and cultures and the beliefs of people
about health problems in relation to school dropout and poor grades. In the second scenario,
information likely to be collected includes the belief of the people about drought and similar
situations.
This information is also useful and it scientifically merits. This is because, it allows the
researcher to understand how these groups of people in the rural areas believed about the
problem they face in relation to poor performance and school dropouts. The research method
also meets scientific threshold because, it is limited to a specific group of people from one
ethnicity. This therefore, indicates that they share common cultures and way of live and their
approach to various issues that affect them is likely to be similar. Consequently, the findings

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 6
from these research provides a clear feeling and thinking of the people about the various topics
or areas of study.
The last approach is case study which involves the study of an issue explored through one
or two cases within a given bounded system or setting. The researcher explores a case of a
number of studies over period through in depth data collection involving multiple sources of
information such as interviews, observations, documents and reports and audiovisual materials.
The merit of this method is that it allows the researcher an opportunity to gain an in-depth
understanding of a given situation under study. In this scenario, the kind of information likely to
be gathered includes the previous statistics on the number of children that drop out because of
various diseases and as a result of drought, statistics on the intensity and magnitude of the
drought and the health problem faced by the people among others.
Application of case study makes the information useful as well as it makes it to meet
scientific merit. The information from these case studies will help the researcher to relate to the
information collected in the field through interviews enabling the researcher to have an in-depth
understanding of the problem (Ganguly, 2013). This information is therefore useful and can be
relied upon by other researcher in their researches. The research method also meets scientific
merit because, it allows the analysis of data from multiple sources such as interviews,
observations and documents. One or more cases are also used or adopted in this development of
a detailed analysis, which improve on the credibility of the information gathered.
These methods can all be adopted in the qualitative research, but in these two scenarios,
the best research method is phenomenology and ethnography. These two methods would be best
suited to the scenario in light of the potential gains in both utility and scientific merit expected

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 7
from completing the study. Phenomenology research would allow the researcher to find out on
aspects that a number of people in these groups face in unison. This will allow better
understanding of the problem and will enable coming up of appropriate measures to solve the
same. For instance, in the first scenario, the researcher that opt to find out how visual impairment
results to increase school dropout. This will allow the researcher to understand the problem
better and provide appropriate solution. It also meets scientific merit because; it requires that the
researcher employ various methods of data collection such as interviews and observation.
Ethnography is also another method that can be adopted to gain in both utility and scientific
merit. The reason is that it will help to establish whether there is any linkage between the belief
of the people about health problem and drought and schooling. Second is that the study is
conducted in a setting that have people that have some similarities and come from same
ethnicity. This makes it easier for the researcher to collect data.
In conclusion, these methods help to provide complex textual descriptions of how
different people experience a given research issue. Information about human suicide on an issue
is gathered such as their opinions, emotions beliefs and behaviors helping to understand a
situation. Despite challenges in these methods, they are effective if well adopted.

EVALUATING QUALITATIVE METHODS 8

References

Atkinson, B. (2009). Teachers Responding to Narrative Inquiry: An Approach to Narrative
Inquiry Criticism. Journal of Educational Research, 103(2):91-102
Boddy, C. (2011). Hanging around with people’. Ethnography in marketing research and
intelligence gathering. Marketing Review, 11(2):151-163.
Ganguly, K. (2013). A case study approach for understanding inbound supply risk assessment.
Decision (0304-0941), 40(1/2):85-97.
Gringeri, C., Barusch, A., & Cambron, C. (2013). Examining Foundations of Qualitative
Research: A Review of Social Work Dissertations, 2008-2010. Journal of Social Work
Education, 49(4): 760-773.
Lamatic, M. (2011). Program Evaluation: Qualitative Methods And Techniques. Economy
Transdisciplinarity Cognition, 14(1):197-203
Lawrence, J., & Tar, U. (2013). The use of Grounded Theory Technique as a Practical Tool for
Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis. Electronic Journal of Business Research
Methods, 11(1): 29-40.
Kragelund, L. (2013). The obser-view: a method of generating data and learning. Nurse
Researcher, 20(5):6-10.
Reiter, S., Stewart, G., & Bruce, C. (2011). A Strategy for Delayed Research Method Selection:
Deciding Between Grounded Theory and Phenomenology. Electronic Journal of
Business Research Methods, 9(1):35-46.

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