to raise awareness of the principles and practice of qualitative research to consider the potential usefulness of qualitative methods for individuals’ projects Session Outline
Research methods in the MSc dissertation
Induction and deduction
Principles of qualitative research
Ethics in qualitative research
Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative methods Qualitative methods and your study
A final note on the research process
Which comes first, the data or the theory?
Start with empirical observations, then build theory?
Start with theory and test thru application to empirical world?
Relationship of theory and data: deduction or induction
start with hypotheses
attempt to isolate and control variables under consideration seek to measure variables and produce quantifiable results Inductive approaches
start with real world - build theory from data
view social world as complex - not understood by isolating variables and studying causal relationships see social science as subjective - methods serve to illuminate individuals’ perceptions/experiences Positivism
The social world exists externally and its properties should be measured through objective instruments
‘There can be no real knowledge but that which is based on observed facts’ (August
Reality as socially constructed rather than objectively determined
Task of social researcher is not to gather facts and measure how often certain patterns occur, but to appreciate the different constructions and meanings that people place upon their experience
Human action arises from the sense that people make of different situations, rather than as a direct response from external stimuli
Qualitative approaches: aim is not to uncover
‘reality’ but to understand how people experience and make sense of their working lives
“Qualitative researchers are characteristically concerned in their research with attempting to accurately describe, decode and interpret the precise meanings to persons of phenomena occurring in their normal social contexts and are typically preoccupied with complexity, authenticity, contextualisation, shared subjectivity of researcher and researched and minimalization of illusion” (Fryer, 1991: 3).
Role of the researcher in qualitative methods ‘Revealing the hand of the puppeteer” (Watson,
The researcher is central to the study - engaged with and