The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research

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Location, Location, Location

In research investigating data that can be counted or measured, replicability is essential. When other kinds of data are gathered in order to answer questions of personal or social meaning, we need to be able to capture real-life experiences, which cannot be identical from one person to the next.

Furthermore, meaning is culturally determined and subject to evolutionary change. Culture may apply to a country, a community, or other actual or virtual group, and a person may be engaged at various levels of culture. In identifying meaning for members of a particular group, consistency may indeed be found from one research project to another. However, individuals within a cultural group may present different experiences and perceptions or transgress cultural expectations. Rather, it offers insight into diversity and adds a piece to the puzzle to which other researchers also contribute.

Qualitative researchers defend the integrity of their work by different means: trustworthiness, credibility, applicability and consistency are the evaluative criteria Leininger, A report of a qualitative study should contain the same robust procedural description as any other study. The purpose of the research, how it was conducted, procedural decisions, and details of data generation and management should be transparent and explicit. A reviewer should be able to follow the progression of events and decisions and understand their logic because there is adequate description, explanation and justification of the methodology and methods Kitto et al.

Credibility is the criterion for evaluating the truth value or internal validity of qualitative research. A qualitative study is credible when its results, presented with adequate descriptions of context, are recognizable to people who share the experience and those who care for or treat them. As the instrument in qualitative research, the researcher defends its credibility through practices such as reflexivity reflection on the influence of the researcher on the research , triangulation where appropriate, answering the research question in several ways, such as through interviews, observation and documentary analysis and substantial description of the interpretation process; verbatim quotations from the data are supplied to illustrate and support their interpretations Sandelowski, Where excerpts of data and interpretations are incongruent, the credibility of the study is in doubt.

Applicability, or transferability of the research findings, is the criterion for evaluating external validity.

Ethical dilemmas and reflexivity in qualitative research | SpringerLink

A study is considered to meet the criterion of applicability when its findings can fit into contexts outside the study situation and when clinicians and researchers view the findings as meaningful and applicable in their own experiences. Larger sample sizes do not produce greater applicability.

Depth may be sacrificed to breadth or there may be too much data for adequate analysis. Sample sizes in qualitative research are typically small. Emerging from grounded theory, where filling theoretical categories is considered essential to the robustness of the developing theory, data saturation has been expanded to describe a situation where data tend towards repetition or where data cease to offer new directions and raise new questions Charmaz, However, the legitimacy of saturation as a generic marker of sampling adequacy has been questioned O'Reilly and Parker, Increasingly, it is expected that researchers will report the kind of saturation they have applied and their criteria for recognising its achievement; an assessor will need to judge whether the choice is appropriate and consistent with the theoretical context within which the research has been conducted.

Sampling strategies are usually purposive, convenient, theoretical or snowballed. Maximum variation sampling may be used to seek representation of diverse perspectives on the topic. Homogeneous sampling may be used to recruit a group of participants with specified criteria. The threat of bias is irrelevant; participants are recruited and selected specifically because they can illuminate the phenomenon being studied.

Rather than being predetermined by statistical power analysis, qualitative study samples are dependent on the nature of the data, the availability of participants and where those data take the investigator. Multiple data collections may also take place to obtain maximum insight into sensitive topics. For instance, the question of how decisions are made for embryo disposition may involve sampling within the patient group as well as from scientists, clinicians, counsellors and clinic administrators.

Consistency, or dependability of the results, is the criterion for assessing reliability. This does not mean that the same result would necessarily be found in other contexts but that, given the same data, other researchers would find similar patterns. Researchers often seek maximum variation in the experience of a phenomenon, not only to illuminate it but also to discourage fulfilment of limited researcher expectations for example, negative cases or instances that do not fit the emerging interpretation or theory should be actively sought and explored.

Qualitative researchers sometimes describe the processes by which verification of the theoretical findings by another team member takes place Morse and Richards, Research that uses qualitative methods is not, as it seems sometimes to be represented, the easy option, nor is it a collation of anecdotes.

It usually involves a complex theoretical or philosophical framework. Rigorous analysis is conducted without the aid of straightforward mathematical rules. Researchers must demonstrate the validity of their analysis and conclusions, resulting in longer papers and occasional frustration with the word limits of appropriate journals.

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Nevertheless, we need the different kinds of evidence that is generated by qualitative methods. The experience of health, illness and medical intervention cannot always be counted and measured; researchers need to understand what they mean to individuals and groups. Knowledge gained from qualitative research methods can inform clinical practice, indicate how to support people living with chronic conditions and contribute to community education and awareness about people who are for example experiencing infertility or using assisted conception.

Each author drafted a section of the manuscript and the manuscript as a whole was reviewed and revised by all authors in consultation. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.


It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume How do critical, qualitative research and theories of voice position participants whose means of expression challenge traditional notions of normative participation? I first problematize the premise of giving voice generally and then present four key issues, which include a the question of competence for individuals who do not use speech, b hearing silence, c agency and voice, and d broadening the conceptualization of voice beyond speech.

I conclude with implications for qualitative researchers and others interested in facilitating voice for individuals using alternative forms of expression. During a study of inclusive education in middle school for students considered to have significant disabilities, I asked Jacob, an eighth grader who types to communicate, if there was anything he would like to tell his teachers.

Issues in Qualitative Research- Subjectivity

He desperately wanted to change his teachers' perceptions and present a different construction of himself. One of the primary goals of my research agenda is to bring to the forefront the perspectives of persons too often marginalized and silenced within their schools and communities.

Qualitative Sample Size

I aim to "give voice" to their joys, their struggles, and their stories as a way to provide an alternative to the dominant discourse of disability and competence. Burton Blatt wrote, "A person is defined by the stories he tells about himself as well as by the stories that are told about him. Qualitative research that directly involves individuals considered to have significant disabilities as participants is extremely limited. There is a gap in the research for the voices of individuals who experience disability Jones, One of the goals of disability studies scholarship is to create opportunities for traditionally marginalized perspectives to be heard.

This begs the question, "How do we as researchers in disability studies work to create those spaces? I illustrate the importance of conducting research that aims to give voice, while also problematizing this concept for individuals who do not use speech as their primary mode of representation. In other words, how do we ensure a space within a critical, qualitative framework for the inclusion of "voices" that do not speak? Bogdan and Biklen describe giving voice as "empowering people to be heard who might otherwise remain silent" p.

Britzman writes, "A commitment to voice attests to the right of speaking and being represented. Or as Mazzei and Jackson state in the introduction to their critique of voice in qualitative methods, "Qualitative researchers have been trained to privilege this voice, to 'free' the authentic voice from whatever retrains it from coming into being, from relating the truth about the self " p. As I consider the meaning and implications of a commitment to voice, I relate this discussion to research with individuals who challenge normative constructions of typical speech and voice.

This article was born out of a critical qualitative study of the experience of middle school for students considered to have significant disabilities, specifically adolescents with labels of autism and intellectual disability. In this study, I attempted to make visible the taken for granted assumptions regarding disability and competence in the context of middle school, through interpretivist qualitative research Collins, In other words, I conducted this study with recognition that we live in an inherently ableist society.

One goal was to give voice to the experiences and perspectives of individuals considered to have significant disabilities in an attempt to make visible and, hopefully, to disrupt those systems of power and privilege that serve to marginalize. My consideration of this topic emerged as I reviewed the data and my own comments on the research process through a methodological lens and confronted the problem inherent in an unproblematized construction of voice in qualitative methods.

While initially there were five student participants, I focus this article on one student. Jacob is a young man that loves hiking, swimming, watching movies, and spending time with his sister. He receives special education services in his school under the educational label of autism and he uses supported typing or facilitated communication 1 as his primary means of expression.

I utilized the data collection techniques of participant observation in school and community settings and in-depth interviewing of the students, their parents, and school personnel. I observed Jacob 18 times, in over 10 different class settings.

Qualitative Research: (Critical) Ethnography Guidelines

In addition, I interviewed Jacob formally in his home three times. Informal conversations and interviews were included in the participant observation field notes. During interviews with Jacob conducted at his home, his mother Hope acted as his communication facilitator, providing physical and emotional support. During informal school conversations, his one to one teaching assistant provided communication support.

For the purpose of this article, I focus primarily on interview data as is it was the participant voice I aimed to bring forth. While the focus of this analysis is my experience with Jacob, at times I will refer to interview data from other qualitative studies involving research participants who type to communicate. Keeping with the nature of qualitative research, data analysis proceeded inductively. Rather than beginning with any preconceived notions and then attempting to prove or disprove my theories, the analysis has developed from the ground up.

I conducted ongoing coding of the data to look for emerging theories and developing themes during the data collection process. However, upon completion of data collection, I coded all of the data again, developing both primary and secondary codes. My interest in issues around voice and methodology emerged early in the data collection process and I wrote frequent memos about the methodological implications of this work for individuals who do not use speech.

At the completion of data collection I returned to the raw data and considered it through a more methodological lens with a specific interest in issues of voice and representation.

The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research
The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research
The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research
The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research
The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research
The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research
The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research The Power of the Case, from Current Issues in Qualitative Research

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