Research design and methods: a process approach / Kenneth S. Bordens, Bruce B. Abbott.–8th ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. Research Design and Methods: A Process Approach takes students through the research process, from getting and developing a research idea, to designing. In addition, we will share you the book Research Design And Methods: A Process Approach By Kenneth. Bordens, Bruce Barrington Abbott in soft file forms.
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The philosophical assumptions identified by the authors of this article are identified in Table 1. These can guide the researcher in their ontology and epistemology assumptions, which directs subsequent methodology providing a framework to accomplish a study using a qualitative description approach.
Table 1. Philosophical Underpinnings of Qualitative Description Approach.
Open in a separate window Source. Developed by the authors. Sullivan-Bolyai, Bova, and Harper also make a compelling argument for the use of qualitative description in health care research because of its ability to provide clear information on how to improve practice.
In addition, other qualitative approaches may not be appropriate for the issue requiring exploration or investigation. Furthermore, the findings emanating from such studies can often create a platform for more extensive and focused work on the topic. The misconception that qualitative description research is less theoretical or methodologically sound is unmerited as evidenced by Sandelowski , , Sullivan-Bolyai et al. This article addresses the philosophical, ontological, epistemological methods and rigor underpinning qualitative description methodology and aims to provide the researcher with a systematic approach to conducting research utilizing a qualitative description design.
The ontological position of naturalistic research is relativism, which holds the view that reality is subjective and varies from person to person Parahoo, and this is evident in the reporting of findings from qualitative description research. Realities are influenced by senses and emerge when consciousness engages with objects, which already have meaning for the individual Crotty, , p.
What follows is that there are many realities, and no one reality can exist as individuals ascribe their own interpretation and meaning to the phenomenon. In addition, the use of language actively shapes and molds our reality Frowe, Qualitative description research strives for in-depth understanding but with emphasis first on literal description Sandelowski, and then on the understanding of human phenomena through analysis and interpretation of meaning people ascribe to events.
The epistemological position of qualitative research is subjectivism, which is based on real-world phenomena; the world does not exist independently of our knowledge of it Grix, The qualitative description approach accepts that many interpretations of reality exist and that what is offered is a subjective interpretation strengthened and supported by reference to verbatim quotations from participants.
Knowledge of reality from a naturalistic perspective as is the case in qualitative description research is socially constructed not only by the participants obviously but also by the researchers, and it is therefore recognized that an objective reality cannot be discovered or replicated by others.
Within qualitative description, the outcome is to describe the phenomenon literally as a starting point and its methodological orientation may be drawn from a range of theorists, for example, Sandelowski Qualitative description design then moves beyond the literal description of the data and attempts to interpret the findings without moving too far from that literal description.
Within the qualitative description approach, the phenomenon of interest is explored with participants in a particular situation and from a particular conceptual framework Parse, with the research question related to the meaning of the experience.
The participants are a purposive or purposeful sample who have the requisite knowledge and experience of the phenomena being researched. The descriptions obtained from participants are then analyzed and synthesized from the perspective of the chosen framework.
Researchers aiming to use a qualitative description approach need to address from the outset as indeed do all researchers regardless of approach their theoretical positioning, congruence between methodology and methods, strategies to establish rigor, and the analytic lens through which data analysis is conducted. Qualitative description research seeks instead to provide a rich description of the experience depicted in easily understood language Sullivan-Bolyai et al.
The researcher seeks to discover and understand a phenomenon, a process, or the perspectives and worldviews of the people involved Caelli et al. A qualitative description approach, therefore, offers the opportunity to gather rich descriptions about a phenomenon which little may be known about.
The focus on producing rich description about the phenomenon from those who have the experience offers a unique opportunity to gain inside or emic knowledge and learn how they see their world. Two main elements constant with qualitative description studies in health care research are learning from the participants and their descriptions, and second, using this knowledge to influence interventions Sullivan-Bolyai et al.
Therefore, a fundamental qualitative description design is valuable in its own right. Qualitative description studies are typically directed toward discovering the who, what, where, and why of events or experiences Neergaard et al. The findings from these studies can often be of special relevance to practitioners and policy makers Sandelowski, Methods Assumptions Methods refer to the tools, techniques, or procedures used to gather and interpret evidence.
Researchers employing a qualitative description approach must clearly articulate their disciplinary connection, what brought them to the question, and the assumptions they make about the topic of interest.
The tools used to collect and analyze the data must be congruent with the philosophical, epistemological, and ontological assumptions underpinning the research van Manen, In their results, researchers must demonstrate congruence between the questions posed and the approach employed.
How to Construct a Mixed Methods Research Design
However, a variety of methods can be utilized in qualitative description research as long as they are congruent with the research question and the purpose of the research, and contribute to the rigor of the research.
Sampling and Sample Size It is essential that the sampling techniques selected within a research study are reflective of the research design and research question. The sampling process best able to achieve this within qualitative studies and in particular qualitative description designs is a nonprobability technique of convenience or purposive sampling Parahoo, Convenience sampling allows the researcher to select participants who are readily accessible or available.
Likewise, purposive sampling avails of accessible participants, but it provides the additional advantage of facilitating the selection of participants whose qualities or experiences are required for the study.
The size of the sample has generated discussion among qualitative researchers. Qualitative samples tend to be small because of the emphasis on intensive contact with participants and the findings are not expected to be generalizable.
However, data saturation is often referred to in a pragmatic manner to signal the end of data collection. LoBiondo-Wood and Haber concur and suggest that there is no fixed rule to establish the most appropriate sample size in qualitative research, instead a number of factors should be considered.
These include careful consideration of the research design, sampling procedure, and the relative frequency of the phenomena being researched. Therefore, according to Fawcett and Garity , an adequate sample size is one that sufficiently answers the research question, the goal being to obtain cases deemed rich in information.
Therefore, consideration can be given to include tentative sample sizes in any proposal delineating a qualitative description approach. It is evident that regardless of the strategies engaged in sampling and subsequently sample size, all research studies are required to defend their sampling strategies and provide clarity as to how sample size was determined to meet the objectives of the study. There are a number of ethical principles that a researcher must address prior to and throughout the research process to safe guard the participant and uphold the integrity of the study.
The more information researchers give when constructing a rich description, the greater the danger of participant identification. It is also possible to conduct the interviews after the survey data have been collected or vice versa ; in that case, research activities are performed sequentially. We call two research components dependent if the implementation of the second component depends on the results of data analysis in the first component. Two research components are independent, if their implementation does not depend on the results of data analysis in the other component.
It is also possible to let the interview questions depend upon the outcomes of the analysis of the questionnaire data or vice versa ; in that case, research activities are performed dependently. In our opinion, simultaneity and dependence are two separate dimensions. Simultaneity indicates whether data collection is done concurrent or sequentially.
Dependence indicates whether the implementation of one component depends upon the results of data analysis of the other component. It is conceivable that one simultaneously conducts interviews and collects questionnaire data concurrent , while allowing the analysis focus of the interviews to depend on what emerges from the survey data dependence.
Using the outcomes of the first research component, the researcher decides what to do in the second component.
Depending on the outcomes of the first research component, the researcher will do something else in the second component. If this is so, the research activities involved are said to be sequential-dependent, and any component preceded by another component should appropriately build on the previous component see sequential validity legitimation; Johnson and Christensen ; Onwuegbuzie and Johnson Determining where the point of integration will be, and how the results will be integrated, is an important, if not the most important, decision in the design of mixed methods research.
Morse and Niehaus identify two possible points of integration: the results point of integration and the analytical point of integration. Most commonly, integration takes place in the results point of integration.
At some point in writing down the results of the first component, the results of the second component are added and integrated. Other authors assume more than two possible points of integration. Teddlie and Tashakkori distinguish four different stages of an investigation: the conceptualization stage, the methodological experimental stage data collection , the analytical experimental stage data analysis , and the inferential stage.
According to these authors, in all four stages, mixing is possible, and thus all four stages are potential points or integration.
Research Design and Methods: A Process Approach
However, the four possible points of integration used by Teddlie and Tashakkori are still too coarse to distinguish some types of mixing. It is at the point of integration that qualitative and quantitative components are integrated.
More generally, one can consider mixing at any or all of the following research components: purposes, research questions, theoretical drive, methods, methodology, paradigm, data, analysis, and results.
One can also include mixing views of different researchers, participants, or stakeholders. Substantively, it can be useful to think of integration or mixing as comparing and bringing together two or more components on the basis of one or more of the purposes set out in the first section of this article. In the case of development, integration consists of an adjustment of an, often quantitative, for example, instrument or model or interpretation, based on qualitative assessments by members of the target group.
The power of mixed methods research is its ability to deal with diversity and divergence. In the literature, we find two kinds of strategies for dealing with divergent results.
One possibility is to carry out further research Cook ; Greene and Hall Further research is not always necessary. The aim is to develop an overall explanation that fits both the sense and the anti-sense Bazeley and Kemp ; Mendlinger and Cwikel Alternatively, one can question the existence of the encountered divergence.
Differences between results from different data sources could also be the result of properties of the methods involved, rather than reflect differences in reality Yanchar and Williams In general, the conclusions of the individual components can be subjected to an inference quality audit Teddlie and Tashakkori , in which the researcher investigates the strength of each of the divergent conclusions.
Note, however, that not all types of typologies are equally suitable for all purposes. Although some of the current MM design typologies include more designs than others, none of the current typologies is fully exhaustive.
Various typologies of mixed methods designs have been proposed. At each stage, one approach affects the formulation of the other, and multiple types of implementation processes can occur.
We expect that many published MM designs will fall into the hybrid design type. Morse and Niehaus listed eight mixed methods designs in their book and suggested that authors create more complex combinations when needed.
Our shorthand labels and descriptions adapted from Morse and Niehaus , p. Notice that Morse and Niehaus included four mixed methods designs the first four designs shown above and four multimethod designs the second set of four designs shown above in their typology. The reader can, therefore, see that the design notation also works quite well for multimethod research designs. In addition, they assume that the core component should always be performed either concurrent with or before the supplemental component.
The resulting mixed methods design matrix see Johnson and Christensen , p. The above set of nine designs assumed only one qualitative and one quantitative component.
However, this simplistic assumption can be relaxed in practice, allowing the reader to construct more complex designs. The Morse notation system is very powerful.
Something similar applies to the classification of the purposes of mixed methods research. Of all purposes involved, then, which one should be the primary basis for the design? Or should the design be based upon all purposes included? And if so, how?
FAQ: Research Design & Method
The most frequently mentioned interactive approach to mixed methods research is the approach by Maxwell and Loomis The researcher should therefore regularly check during the research and continuing design process whether the components still fit together, and, if not, should adapt one or the other component to restore the fit between them. In an interactive approach, unlike the typological approach, design is viewed as an interactive process in which the components are continually compared during the research study to each other and adapted to each other.
Typological and interactive approaches to mixed methods research have been presented as mutually exclusive alternatives. In our view, however, they are not mutually exclusive. Some authors state that design typologies are particularly useful for beginning researchers and interactive approaches are suited for experienced researchers Creswell and Plano Clark This makes an interactive approach desirable, also for beginning researchers.
We agree with Greene , who states that the value of the typological approach mainly lies in the different dimensions of mixed methods that result from its classifications. In this article, the primary dimensions include purpose, theoretical drive, timing, point of integration, typological vs. Unfortunately, all of these dimensions are not reflected in any single design typology reviewed here.
Emergent designs arise, for example, when the researcher discovers during the study that one of the components is inadequate Morse and Niehaus Some designs contain an emergent component by their nature. Initiation, for example, is the further exploration of unexpected outcomes.
Unexpected outcomes are by definition not foreseen, and therefore cannot be included in the design in advance. The question arises whether researchers should plan all these decisions beforehand, or whether they can make them during, and depending on the course of, the research process.
The answer to this question is twofold. On the other hand, developments during research execution will sometimes prompt the researcher to decide to add additional components. In general, the advice is to be prepared for the unexpected.
Case Study Research Design
When one is able to plan for emergence, one should not refrain from doing so. In the literature, simple and complex designs are distinguished in various ways. The primary message of this section is as follows: It is the responsibility of the researcher to create more complex designs when needed to answer his or her research question s. For example, data might be collected both at the levels of schools and students, neighborhood and households, companies and employees, communities and inhabitants, or medical practices and patients Yin Integration of these data does not only involve the integration of qualitative and quantitative data, but also the integration of data originating from different sources and existing at different levels.
This is an area in need of additional research. The fully-integrated mixed design is more complex because it contains multiple points of integration. As formulated by Teddlie and Tashakkori , p. Complexity, then, not only depends on the number of components, but also on the extent to which they depend on each other e. Many of our design dimensions ultimately refer to different ways in which the qualitative and quantitative research components are interdependent.Furthermore, the findings emanating from such studies can often create a platform for more extensive and focused work on the topic.
Still Have Questions? Qualitative description research strives for in-depth understanding but with emphasis first on literal description Sandelowski, and then on the understanding of human phenomena through analysis and interpretation of meaning people ascribe to events. The s saw some reaction against the rationality of design methods, notably from two of its pioneers, Christopher Alexander and J.
The fully-integrated mixed design is more complex because it contains multiple points of integration. First of all, it is necessary to think of the best way to operationalize the variables that will be measured, as well as which statistical methods would be most appropriate to answer the research question.
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