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  • 00:05

    [Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods]

  • 00:11

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE: Hi, I'm Dr. Denise Pope.And I am a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford UniversityGraduate School of Education. [Dr. Denise Pope, SeniorLecturer, Graduate School of Education]And today, we are going to do a tutorial whichis an introduction to qualitative research methods.The overview of the major componentsof the qualitative research processreally breaks down into five main components--

  • 00:33

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: the research design and problem formationstep, sample selection, data collection--and there's a lot of different waysto do that-- analysis, and then the data representationand writing.These five components are used in all formsof qualitative research, and they're basicallythe basic building blocks for studentswho want to learn how to read and understand

  • 00:55

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: qualitative research.Those are kind of the components that you'regoing to look for to know if someone did a good job, to knowif it's a rigorous piece, as well as what you woulddo if you were actually going to conduct qualitative research.[Research Design]The first component is really the research design.

  • 01:15

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: And this is very similar to quantitative research, as well.You have to think about, what is the problemI'm attempting to solve here?What are my questions?Basically, a lot of folks start out with a topic.So I know I want to do a research question thathas to do with classroom engagement,or gender in the classroom for instance.

  • 01:38

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: But that's not a problem.That's not going to help you decide which form of researchto use.So then you have to think about, what are my research questions?What am I interested in learning more aboutin that general topic area of gender in the classroomor engagement in the classroom?And that's where you might go and do a literature review.You might look at all the literature and all

  • 01:58

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: the different research that's come before you,and you might look for a gap in the literatureas to what you would want to study.The other thing that you have to think about--and this is a little bit tricky--is something that we call in the researchfield a conceptual framework.A conceptual framework is also sometimes calleda theoretical framework.It's the lens that you bring to your research problem.

  • 02:20

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: So it may be a tentative theory that you or others in the fielduse to explain the problem or the phenomena being studied.And I'll give you an example of thatbecause, that's kind of tricky.It's a lens that will help explain the problem that you'retrying to find.So if you're looking at gender in the classroom,let's say, there are a lot of different theories

  • 02:42

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: on gender in the classroom.And you may pick somebody's theoryon how boys learn differently from girls, let's say,and look at your problem through that framework,through that lens.It may be that your framework is undeveloped.And you want to kind of keep that in mind,because when you come back and analyze the data,

  • 03:03

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: you may come up with your own frameworkthat someone else may use later on to betheir theoretical framework for their research.So at this point, you've gone from your topicto what is the problem that I'm looking at,what are my research questions, and what'sthe frame that I bring to it-- sortof whose ideas and theories am I using to help guide me?[Sample Selection]

  • 03:26

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: So the next piece is really to decide, OK,based on those questions, I thinkI'm going to do a qualitative piece of researchas opposed to a quantitative or mixed methods piece.And really, the answers to the questionsshould be things like, I'm interested in this phenomenon,so I need to understand more about it.It's not something that I can actuallyhave a hypothesis about and frame.

  • 03:48

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: It may be that I'm interested in learning moreabout the actors in the setting and what they doand how they think.So when you decide on your problem and your questions,you're going to decide, OK, who can helpbest answer these questions?Which participants can best answer these questions?Who is it that I want to either look at or interview,

  • 04:11

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: and where might that happen?So when you're choosing a site, you want to be respectful hereand you want to be careful.You've got to find the gatekeeper.You've got to find, who is it that has control over the siteand that you can then get access and they'll let you in?And that's gaining access.It's pretty simple.

  • 04:31

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: And then, who is the sample that you want to choose?So in qualitative research we don't havevery, very big samples, right?Because you're going to be interviewing.You're going to be observing.You can't do that with hundreds and hundreds of people.It will take you years.So you want to decide, how many peopleand how many settings is it that I want to look atto help answer this question?And in qualitative research, it's OK to have an n of 1.

  • 04:52

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: It may be that you will learn a lot from one schoolor one classroom or one teacher, or even one student.That's considered a case study, and usually it'sin the realm of anywhere from one to 20,maybe 30 is getting to be a big project--but enough that you can kind of say,I have a sense of the phenomenon that willhelp me answer the question.

  • 05:14

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: The next step if you are connected to a universityis to get approval from your institutional reviewboard, which is a long process.And we don't have time to explain that here.But just know that if you're working with human subjects,you need to have institutional approvalthrough the IRB process.And then once you get your approval,

  • 05:34

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: you go to your gatekeepers that we talked aboutand you gain access.Your goal is you say, I'm here to basically do no harm.You may not tell them the actual phenomenonthat you're going to study, because it might actuallychange what they do in the setting.So you might go back and just give themthe topic, as we talked about.You might say, I'm here to look at gender in the classroom.

  • 05:55

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: Or maybe, I'm just here to do a research studyon the experience of kids in the classroom.Maybe you don't even say the word "gender"--not to be disingenuous, just to be honest enoughto say that you don't want them to start changingtheir behavior in the setting.And then many of us do pilot studies, a little baby study,with a few people, maybe a few observations, a few interviews,just to see if that is the right place

  • 06:18

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: and those are the right folks in the sample to helpyou answer the questions.[Data Collection]The next stage is data collection.And in qualitative research, there'sreally only certain ways to collect data.There's not that many, right?So you can do observations, where you're actually looking.

  • 06:42

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: You're taking field notes.You're looking very closely at actionhappening all around you.You can do interviews, which seems pretty obvious, right?You're asking questions.A lot of times these are structured interviews,or in qualitative research it's usually semi-structuredso that you've got some leeway of where you want to go.It's different from giving a quantitative survey to someone

  • 07:04

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: where you ask the same questions with a very neutral tonethe whole time.This is really different.You're really trying to get at their perspectiveof the phenomenon that you're studying.So you're going to ask sort of grand survey or grand tourquestions, with the goal to make the words fly.To really make the person comfortable,which is why you establish rapport,

  • 07:25

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: you try to be yourself.You try to be warm and friendly.You try to be really open to hearing their story,as opposed to forcing your view or your biasesonto what they're saying.And then the last kind of data that you can collectis documents.That is, things from the website, worksheets

  • 07:46

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: that they hand out in the classroom,the student newspaper-- whatever itis that will help you figure out,again, answer those research questions.So between observations-- what am I seeing with my own eyes--interviews-- what are the folks who are there every daytelling me they're experiencing and feeling--

  • 08:07

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: and then the document review-- other pieces to help fleshthis out-- you should have some nice data to helpanswer the question.[Analysis]And then the question is, what do I do with all this data,right?This is where we get to the analysis stage.And in analysis, there's a lot of different ways to do this.

  • 08:28

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: And it sounds scary, and it's verydifferent from quantitative because in quantitatives youhave computer packages that you can kind of employ and pusha button, and they'll do a lot of the analysis for you.In qualitative, you are the instrument.So you've collected the data, and you're

  • 08:49

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: going to be analyzing the data.That's not to say that there aren't some packages thatwill help you in coding the data, but for the most partyou are making the key decisions of,what do I call this piece of data?What do I call this piece of my field note?How do I name this?How do I file it in a way to help me remember and come upwith themes?

  • 09:09

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: So just like when you go to a supermarket--I know this sounds crazy-- but just like whenyou go to a supermarket and you're picking out fruit,and you're examining the apple and you're trying to decide,does this look like it's going to taste good?Does it have a worm hole?Does it have some bruises?Is it soft and smushy?Is it hard and crispy?You're looking at qualities.And you could make some decisions about shape, smell,

  • 09:31

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: taste, and you start to code and file those qualities.That's what you're doing when you're analyzing your interviewnotes, your transcripts, your fieldnotes from your observations, and the data that you'vecollected from the documents.What you're going to do is you'regoing to start to label those.It's like a filing system.And then you're going to write yourself some memos.

  • 09:52

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: Here's what I think is going on.Here's some of the themes that I think I hear.And you're going to say, this is what I think I saw.And then when I asked her in her interview,this is what she said.That's called triangulating the data,looking for places where the evidencefrom the different pieces of data that you collect match up.And then you're actually going to take it and start

  • 10:13

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: to form some very low-level propositions.I think what I saw in that classroom--and let's say you're looking at gender in the classroom,or how boys learn differently from girls--is that the boys were a little bit slower to catch on,or faster to catch on, or the girls raised their handmore-- whatever it is.And I think when I asked in the interview and the teacher said,

  • 10:36

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: you know, I think more girls were raising their hand.I think the girls in middle schoolare a little bit more mature and readyfor this kind of information.I think we're going to form a proposition hereabout gender in the classroom and the differencesbetween boys and girls, because I've gotmy data that I'm triangulating.The reason why one of the ways to do analysis

  • 10:57

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: is called grounded theory is because it'sgrounded in what you're seeing.It's bubbling up from the field.It's not top-down, where we go in with the hypothesis and say,boys learn differently from girlsand we're going to prove it or prove the null.Instead, it's what do we see?What's the story here that we're seeing?And it may be a completely different story from what you

  • 11:18

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: thought you were going to find.Maybe you'll go in looking for something about howboys and girls learn differently,and instead you're finding a completely different storyabout classroom management and gender, for instance.Again, this is where in analysis, youmight go back and do the literature review.Now that I think I'm seeing classroom management,

  • 11:38

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: I've got to go back and review that literature on classroommanagement and really make sure that I'mstaying within my theoretical framework here.This is where you come back to your conceptual frameworkand say, this is how other people have looked at it.This is what I saw.I'm going to put forth a new propositionwith as much evidence as I can muster here and kind of form

  • 11:59

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: my own conceptual framework about what'sgoing on in the classroom vis a vis gender.[Data Representation & Writing]Last piece that you have to think aboutis how you're going to convey whatyou found to your audience.And you do this through data representation,and most often through writing, although there are definitely

  • 12:20

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: different forms of qualitative analysisthat people do through film, et cetera.These are the things you have to think about.What is the purpose?What am I trying to get across?Who's my audience?What's going to be most convincing to them?Then you make an outline of all the propositionsthat you have with specific pieces of evidencefrom your field notes, from your interviews,to help prop up those propositions.

  • 12:41

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: How much data to include depends on your purpose,depends on your audience, depends on the lengththat the publication might allow.Just because it's qualitative doesn'tmean that you can't have charts or graphsor other stylistic devices.Whatever it is that's going to convince peopleof what you saw and this is the story,that's what you're supposed to use.

  • 13:03

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: So you have lots of representation options.You can put in video snippets.You can put in audio snippets, dependingon where this is going to be published or shown.And you want to think about each of these thingsas you design your final piece.There are some through lines, though,that go throughout the whole qualitative research process.Everyone must use sound ethics and sound judgment.

  • 13:24

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: You're dealing with real people here.If you're going to do something where someone is feeling veryuncomfortable-- where it's getting sensitive,where you feel like you're going to cross over an ethical line--that's where you have to stop.You have to examine your own subjectivity, your own biases.I feel one way.Maybe if you think about this gender example, I'm a woman.And that's going to color how I look at things.

  • 13:46

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: You want to audit that subjectivityand make sure that you're saying,what else could be the story here?How am I not being so biased?You want to make sure that there's a sense of validitythroughout the research, that you'redoing the best you can to collect the best data-- notcompany behavior from the participants,but what really happens on the ground.And keep that rapport going so that they

  • 14:07

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: feel comfortable being honest and open with you.You can see from the image that is on the screenthat this is not a straight line,that you're going back and forth between the different parts--that you might be collecting some data,you might be writing some memos.You might be going back to your topicformation and your questions and rejigging.This is not a straight line.It's kind of a complex, jiggled process.

  • 14:29

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: But the more you do and the more back and forth you go,the better the research.[Conclusion]So in summary, there are five main componentsused in all qualitative research in one way or another.It's not linear.You're going to have to revert back and forth, leap ahead,

  • 14:49

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: depending on the process you use.But the quality and rigor of your researchdepends largely on how well you implementeach of these components.If you don't collect data in a rigorous, thorough way,your conclusions are not going to be as valid.If you don't take the time to build rapport and reallythink about your interview questions and your field notes,

  • 15:09

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: your data is not going to be as valid,and then your final points won't be as valid.So you have to keep all of these in mindas you go through the qualitative research process.Lots and lots of people have written about this.I just picked a few of my favoriteshere for some further reading to give you a real general senseof the overall process.You can look at Merriam and Associates,Qualitative research in practice;

  • 15:29

    DR. DENISE CLARK POPE [continued]: Miles and Huberman, classics in the field,Qualitative data analysis; and Taylor and Bogden, Introductionto qualitative research methods, which is one of the textsthat I use in my own classroom for this is very, verystep-by-step process.Thank you for being a wonderful audience.I really appreciate it, and I hopeyou enjoy doing qualitative research.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Research design, Qualitative data collection, Qualitative data analysis, Writing research

Keywords: practices, strategies, and tools

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Dr. Denise Clark Pope discuss qualitative research methods and how to use them. The qualitative research process consists of five components: design, sample selection, data collection, analysis, and data representation. Clark Pope explains the five components and how to implement them.

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Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

Dr. Denise Clark Pope discuss qualitative research methods and how to use them. The qualitative research process consists of five components: design, sample selection, data collection, analysis, and data representation. Clark Pope explains the five components and how to implement them.

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