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DAY 3: Qualitative Questioning…

January 22, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

While doing class readings in Creswell’s Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches, I came across three potential research approaches to explore. So, in tonight’s writing I thought I’d reflect on each and try my hand at writing a question in the theme of each and see what happens. The chapter overall focuses on Research Questions and Hypotheses and summarizes qualitative and quantitative research and how to create a compelling qualitative research question or quantitative hypothesis to be tested. It’s interesting stuff and admittedly nothing I’ve had any familiarity with before.

What is a qualitative study?
An academic study that is more focused on getting understanding of the “why” and “how” of human behavior and decisions. Researchers in a qualitative study state questions rather than objectives or hypotheses.

My question:
Does this mean they are more open to the process rather than achieving a set of objectives? Or are objectives also needed but not as explicitly stated? Is a qualitative study more contextual and factor-focused as opposed to generality based?

How is a qualitative study structured?
The study begins with a Central Question. The Central Question is a broad question that asks for an exploration of the central concept in the study. The Central Question is very broad. To construct the Central Question researchers ask, “What is the broadest question I can ask in the study?”

In Qualitative Research, the intent is to explore the complex set of factors surrounding the central phenomenon and present the varied perspectives or meanings that participants hold.

What is my central phenomenon?

  • Learning via an online environment (how is knowledge of a hands-on nature passed along?)
  • Identity transformation (how do mindsets shift to designer status? how do students shift mindset from one correct answer to many creative possiblities?)

Some different research approaches…

PHENOMENOGRAPHY APPROACH
(descriptive emphasis; based on interviews and specific people; asks about personal experience)

  • What is it like to learn a traditionally studio-based artistic discipline in an online classroom?
  • What is it like to learn a very “hands on” trade via an online format?

ETHNOGRAPHY
(like studying a people group, thus more culture focused)

  • How do transformative communities form in an online graphic design undergrad program?
  • How do graphic design students, with the absence of a traditional studio, gain self efficacy in their skills and creative vision?
  • How can curriculum be designed to move students from a positivist view to a post-positivist view of creativity in graphic design?
  • How do students view knowledge upon entry into the program and how does that shift as they progress?

GROUNDED THEORY
(Use observation, analysis, interviews, etc. to come up with a theory of learning graphic design via online methods. Works opposite of other approaches as it gathers in everything then sifts and threshes it to see what might remain)

  • How do students develop as graphic designers in a fully online education format?
  • What concerns might be important to students who engage in a fully online graphic design education?
  • What is the process by which graphic design students interact in a fully online environment?
  • What is the process by which graphic design students learn how to be designers, outside of a traditional studio space, in a totally online environment?
  • What is the theory that explains the process of discovery for graphic design student learning in an online environment?

So…those are the big three I’ve explored thus far. I’m kind of taken by the grounded theory idea but it sounds really hard and really complicated and totally scary. That said, I love that you’d first collect everything and then see what emerges because it has that element of unexpectedness to it. I think one of the harder things about this exercise is being so broad. I was thinking I needed to be as narrow as possible with this but in reality open is much much better because it allows you to explore the wide fringe connections you might otherwise dismiss.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Chapter 2: Philosophical, paradigm, and interpretive frameworks (pp. 15-34).

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