A Qualitative Framework for Collecting and Analyzing Data

A Qualitative Framework For Collecting And Analyzing Data-Free PDF

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International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2009 8 3. Keywords focus group focus group analysis micro interlocutor analysis conversation. Authors note Correspondence should be addressed to Anthony J Onwuegbuzie. Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Box 2119 Sam Houston State. University Huntsville TX 77341 2119 or e mail tonyonwuegbuzie aol com. Traditionally focus group research is a way of collecting qualitative data which essentially. involves engaging a small number of people in an informal group discussion or discussions. focused around a particular topic or set of issues Wilkinson 2004 p 177 Social science. researchers in general and qualitative researchers in particular often rely on focus groups to. collect data from multiple individuals simultaneously Focus groups are less threatening to many. research participants and this environment is helpful for participants to discuss perceptions. ideas opinions and thoughts Krueger Casey 2000 Researchers have used focus groups for. decades Morgan 1998 indeed for the past 80 years In the 1920s they were conducted to assist. researchers in identifying survey questions Morgan 1998 In the early 1940s Paul Lazarsfeld. and Robert Merton who are credited with formalizing the method of focus groups Madriz. 2000 used focus group methods to conduct a government sponsored study to examine media. effects on attitudes towards the involvement of the United States in World War II Merton 1987. These groundbreaking methodologists used focus group data to identify salient dimensions of. complex social stimuli as a precursor to further quantitative tests Lunt 1996 p 81. Moreover according to Kamberelis and Dimitriadis 2005. Two dimensions of Lazarsfeld and Merton s research efforts constitute part of the. legacy of using focus groups within qualitative research a capturing people s. responses in real space and time in the context of face to face interactions and b. strategically focusing interview prompts based on themes that are generated in. these face to face interactions and that are considered particularly important to the. researchers p 899, Later according to Greenbaum 1998 focus group data were collected and analyzed mainly for. market researchers to assess consumers attitudes and opinions In the past 20 years focus group. research has been used to collect qualitative data by social science researchers Madriz 2000. Furthermore in the past years books on the use and benefits of focus groups have emerged. Krueger 1988 Morgan 1988, Social science researchers can derive multiple benefits from using focus groups One is that focus. groups are an economical fast and efficient method for obtaining data from multiple participants. Krueger Casey 2000 thereby potentially increasing the overall number of participants in a. given qualitative study Krueger 2000 Another advantage to focus groups is the environment. which is socially oriented Krueger 2000 In addition the sense of belonging to a group can. increase the participants sense of cohesiveness Peters 1993 and help them to feel safe to share. information Vaughn Schumm Sinagub 1996 Furthermore the interactions that occur. among the participants can yield important data Morgan 1988 can create the possibility for. more spontaneous responses Butler 1996 and can provide a setting where the participants can. discuss personal problems and provide possible solutions Duggleby 2005. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2009 8 3. Literature abounds regarding how to design a focus group how to select focus group participants. and how to conduct the focus group session group e g appropriate focus group interview. questions length of focus group interviews keeping focus group participants on task e g. Krueger 1988 1994 2000 Morgan 1997 In a few articles published in health related journals. authors i e Carey 1995 Carey Smith 1994 Duggleby 2005 Kidd Parshall 2000. Morrison Beedy Cote Arsenault Feinstein 2001 Stevens 1996 Wilkinson 1998 have. discussed issues related to the analysis of focus group data However there is very little specific. information regarding how to analyze focus group data Nelson Frontczak 1988 Vaughn et. al 1996 Wilkinson 1999 2004 or what types of analyses would be helpful with focus group. data Carey 1995 Duggleby 2005 Wilkinson 2004 Consistent with this assertion Wilkinson. 2004 concluded, As indicated compared with the extensive advice on how to conduct focus groups. there is relatively little in the focus group literature on how to analyze the resulting. data Data analysis sections of focus group handbooks are typically very brief In. published focus group studies researchers often omit or briefly gloss over the. details of exactly how they conducted their analyses p 182 emphasis in original. With this in mind in the present article we provide a new qualitative framework for collecting. and analyzing focus group data in social science research First we delineate multiple avenues for. collecting focus group data Second using the works of Leech and Onwuegbuzie 2007 2008. we outline multiple methods of analyzing focus group data using qualitative data analyses Third. we introduce a new way of analyzing focus group data what we term micro interlocutor analysis. which incorporates and analyzes information from the focus group by delineating which. participants respond to each question the order of responses and the nature of the responses e g. non sequitur rambling focused as well as the nonverbal communication used by each of the. focus group participants In particular we conceptualize how conversation analysis offers much. potential for analyzing focus group data We contend that our framework represents a more. rigorous method of both collecting and analyzing focus group data in social science research. The Planning and Organization,of the Focus Group, The research question and research design ultimately guide how the focus group is constructed. Well designed focus groups usually last between 1 and 2 hours Morgan 1997 Vaughn et al. 1996 and consist of between 6 and 12 participants Baumgartner Strong Hensley 2002. Bernard 1995 Johnson Christensen 2004 Krueger 1988 1994 2000 Langford Schoenfeld. Izzo 2002 Morgan 1997 Onwuegbuzie Jiao Bostick 2004 The rationale for this range. of focus group size stems from the goal that focus groups should include enough participants to. yield diversity in information provided yet they should not include too many participants because. large groups can create an environment where participants do not feel comfortable sharing their. thoughts opinions beliefs and experiences Krueger 1994 has endorsed the use of very small. focus groups what he terms mini focus groups p 17 which include 3 Morgan 1997 or 4. Krueger 1994 participants when participants have specialized knowledge and or experiences to. discuss in the group Because participants might not be available on the day of the focus group. Morgan 1997 has suggested overrecruiting by at least 20 of the total number of participants. required and Wilkinson 2004 suggested an overrecruitment rate of 50. The number of times a focus group meets can vary from a single meeting to multiple meetings. Likewise the number of different focus groups can vary However using multiple focus groups. allows the focus group researcher to assess the extent to which saturation cf Flick 1998. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2009 8 3. Lincoln Guba 1985 Morse 1995 Strauss Corbin 1990 has been reached whether data. saturation i e occurring when information occurs so repeatedly that the researcher can anticipate. it and whereby the collection of more data appears to have no additional interpretive worth. Sandelowski 2008 Saumure Given 2008 or theoretical saturation i e occurring when the. researcher can assume that her his emergent theory is adequately developed to fit any future data. collected Sandelowski 2008 Focus groups can be formed by using preexisting groups e g. colleagues at a place of work Alternatively these groups can represent newly formed groups. that the researcher constructs by selecting members either randomly or much more commonly. via one of the 19 or more purposive sampling techniques e g homogeneous sampling. maximum variation sampling critical case sampling or multistage purposeful sampling. Onwuegbuzie Collins 2007 Krueger 1994 and Morgan 1997 have suggested that three to. six different focus groups are adequate to reach data saturation and or theoretical saturation with. each group meeting once or multiple times, Krueger 1994 suggested that it is ideal for the focus group to have a moderator team This team.
typically comprises a moderator and an assistant moderator The moderator is responsible for. facilitating the discussion prompting members to speak requesting overly talkative members to. let others talk and encouraging all the members to participate Furthermore the moderator is. responsible for taking notes that inform potential emergent questions to ask In most cases the. moderator presents the focus group participants with a series of questions However instead the. moderator might present the members with stimulus material e g newspaper article video clip. audio clip and ask them to respond to it Alternatively still the moderator might ask the members. to engage in a specific activity e g team building exercise brainstorming exercise and then. provide reactions to it In contrast the assistant moderator s responsibilities include recording the. session i e whether by audio or videotape taking notes creating an environment that is. conducive for group discussion e g dealing with latecomers being sure everyone has a seat. arranging for refreshments providing verification of data and helping the researcher moderator. to analyze and or interpret the focus group data Krueger Casey 2000. Sources of Focus Group Data, There are many sources of focus group data yet most researchers use only the actual text i e. what each of the participants stated during the focus group in their analyses Multiple types of. data can be collected during a focus group including audiotapes of the participants from the focus. groups notes taken by the moderator and assistant moderator and items recalled by the. moderator and assistant moderator Kruger 1994 All of these data can be analyzed yet they. differ in the amount of time and rigor it will take to complete the analysis. Transcript based analysis represents the most rigorous and time intensive mode of analyzing data. This mode includes the transcription of videotapes and or audiotapes which according to. Krueger 1994 commonly will result in 50 to 70 pages of text per focus group meeting These. transcribed data can then be analyzed alongside field notes constructed by the moderator and. assistant moderator and any notes extracted from the debriefing of one or more members of the. debriefing team Another mode for analyzing data from a focus group is tape based analysis. wherein the researcher listens to the tape of the focus group and then creates an abridged. transcript This transcript is usually much shorter than is the full transcript in a transcript based. analysis Notwithstanding this type of analysis is helpful because the researcher can focus on the. research question and only transcribe the portions that assist in better understanding of the. phenomenon of interest Note based analysis includes analysis of notes from the focus group the. debriefing session and any summary comments from the moderator or assistant moderator. Although the focus group is audiotaped and or videotaped the tape is used primarily to verify. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2009 8 3. quotations of interest to the researcher although the tape can be used at a later date to glean more. information Finally a memory based analysis is the least rigorous because it involves the. moderator recalling the events of the focus group and presenting these to the stakeholders Unless. the focus group researcher moderator is experienced we recommend that transcript based. analyses be used, Focus group data can arise from one of the following three types individual data group data. and or group interaction data Duggleby 2005 Focus group theorists disagree as to the most. appropriate unit of analysis for focus group data to analyze i e individual group or interaction. Some theorists believe that the individual or the group should be the focus of the analysis instead. of the unit of analysis Kidd Marshall 2000 However most focus group researchers use the. group as the unit of analysis Morgan 1997 By doing so the researchers code the data and. present emergent themes unfortunately typically not delineating the type of qualitative analysis. used Wilkinson 2004 Although these themes can yield important and interesting information. analyzing and interpreting only the text can be extremely problematic In particular only. presenting and interpreting the emergent themes provides no information about the degree of. consensus and dissent resulting in dissenters effectively being censored or marginalized and. preventing the delineation of the voice of negative cases or outliers what Kitzinger 1994. referred to as argumentative interactions that can increase the richness of the data Sim 1998. Moreover analyzing and interpreting information about dissenters would help researchers. determine the extent to which the data that contributed to the theme reached saturation for the. With this in mind in the present article we provide a new qualitative framework for collecting and analyzing focus group data in social science research First we delineate multiple avenues for collecting focus group data Second using the works of Leech and Onwuegbuzie 2007 2008

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