Chapter 10: Qualitative Research

Upon completion of this chapter, the student should be able to: 
  1. Define qualitative field research and compare it with other methods.
  2. Identify the key strengths of field research. 
  3. Define and give examples of each of the following elements of social life appropriate for qualitative field research: practices, episodes, encounters, roles, relationships, groups, organizations, settlements, social worlds, and lifestyles (or subcultures). 
  4. Give three examples of research topics particularly appropriate for qualitative field research. 
  5. Compare the various roles the field researcher can assume, ranging from complete participant to complete observer. 
  6. Note the advantages and disadvantages of adopting the views of the people studied while doing field research. 
  7. Compare the postures of fully accepting the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of those under study versus remaining more “objective.” 
  8. Define and illustrate research using the following paradigms:  naturalism, ethnomethodology, grounded theory, case studies and extended case method, institutional ethnography, and participatory action research. 
  9. Provide advice on each of the following steps in preparing for the field:  review of the relevant literature, use of informants, and establishing initial contacts. 
  10. Provide advice for asking questions in qualitative field research, and compare a field research interview with normal conversation. 
  11. Describe the stages in a complete interviewing process: thematizing, designing, interviewing, transcribing, analyzing, verifying, and reporting. 
  12. Define focus group and list advantages and disadvantages of the technique. 
  13. Show how focus groups are relevant in field research. 
  14. Provide advice for recording observations in qualitative field research. 
  15. Highlight the ethical issues involved in qualitative field research. 
  16. Address the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative field research. 
  17. Describe how reliability and validity relate to qualitative field research. 
  18. Describe 5 ethical concerns raised in field research.