PSYC31151 Qualitative Research Methods in Applied Contexts

Data analysis assignment, 2000 words* (excluding the reference list) [weighted 0.6]

*This assignment imposes a word count limit, rather than a page limit. Please follow the formatting instructions below and submit in the usual way via Blackboard. Please also retain a copy of your assignment in Word format: We may request this in the event of any queries about your word count.

 

We have supplied two sets of qualitative data on blackboard:

 

  1. The first 15 pages from a set of five interviews with first-time fathers about their experiences (most appropriate for TA, IPA, DA).
  2. A set of five doctors’ emergency calls (most appropriate for DA and CA).

 

Your task is to:

  1. Formulate an appropriate research question for your analysis that the data set you have chosen will allow you to answer.
  2. Pick from amongst any of the analytic techniques you have been taught during this Unit (TA, IPA, DA, CA) to produce an analysis of the data that addresses this research question.

 

Assessment criteria
The assignment will be assessed according to the marking criteria in your module handbook and also available on Blackboard. Criteria relate to the extent to which you attend to the following, points, which you should address in your write up. You will be given feedback on each of these criteria so you should make sure you cover everything described below (see also, FAQs, below).

 

  1. Statement of your research question: you should include a question that the data set you have chosen, and your subsequent analysis, will allow you to address.
  2. Justification of your choice of method: You should, referring to methodological literature, provide a justification of why you chose the method of analysis
  3. Summary of how you conducted your analysis: Again, referring to the methodological literature where relevant, you should provide a brief summary of the process of analysis.
  4. Report the results of your data analysis. This will be the largest section of your report. Part of your job here is to convince the reader that your findings (in relation to your research question) are valid. Make sure your analyses answer your research question. This is extremely important!! If they do not, modify your research question and/or the analyses.
    1. Include sample extracts in your results section to support your analyses. These are included in your word count so you need to think carefully about which might be the most persuasive extracts to include, and which best justify/illustrate the various points of your analysis. You should decide how many extracts is an appropriate number to include, taking into account common standards for reporting your style of analysis in the literature, the word limit, and requirements for the other sections of the report. You may have to cut data extracts in order to keep within the word limit. Make sure that you include information that makes it clear which interview/telephone call the extract has been taken from.
    2. If you are conducting a discourse or conversation analysis, give your extracts headings and line numbers and use line numbers to refer to relevant sections of data throughout your analyses.
  5. Discussion: You should evaluate your own analysis and reflect critically on the analytic technique you have used, comparing it with other qualitative data analysis techniques. As part of this evaluation you should consider how suitable your choice of analytic technique was (compared to other techniques you could have used), and the strengths and limitations of your analysis and the method chosen. Again, you should refer to the methodological literature where relevant.
  6. Style: Are all sentences clear and well-constructed with accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation? Are all sources referenced accurately and in line with APA guidelines?

 

 

General advice and layout guidelines

  1. Use size 12 font, double spaced.
  2. Take into account any feedback you were given on Assignment 1 – particularly around writing style, etc.
  3. When reporting the analysis, note that simply cutting and pasting several extracts into your analysis section without any narrative does not constitute an analysis.
  4. You should write your analysis and set out your data extracts in a style suitable for your chosen analytic method. Reading published articles that have used your method will prove helpful in getting the style right.
  5. Use headings for sub-sections of analysis. The type of heading will depend on your chosen method of analysis (again, read published articles for ideas and guidance).

Submit Assignment 2 by Mon 18th Jan 2021, 3pm, marks released Mon 8th Feb 2021, 3pm

FAQS ABOUT ASSIGNMENT 2

If you have a question not covered here, do ask in class, post on the discussion forum for this unit, or come to an assignment surgery. The following are real questions and answers submitted to the discussion board.

1) I’m a bit confused about the discussion section in assignment 2. You’ve written that there are 4 points that need to be covered:

 

  1. a) “evaluate your own analysis” > do you want me to talk about what went well/what went less well OR do you want me to consider the benefits of my analysis (what it allows me to do) and the limitations of my analysis (what it does allows me to do)?

A bit of both. We mean evaluation in a general sense, and don’t have specifics in mind. So long as it counts as an evaluation you will be fine.

 

  1. b) “Reflect critically on the analytic technique you have used, comparing it with other qualitative data analysis techniques” Should I talk about the benefits/limitations of my analysis compared with other methods?

Yes

 

  1. c) Consider how suitable your choice of analytic technique was (compared to other techniques I could have used)
  2. d) Strength and limitations of your analysis and the method chosen. When you ask me to talk about benefits/limitations about my analysis, isn’t that pretty much the same as the first question?

These were not listed as separate ‘questions’ in the assignment description. You’ll see they are simply pointers for things you should cover, not rigid questions with no overlap.

 

2) And when you ask me to talk about the strengths/limitations of the method chosen, isn’t that pretty much the same as what I cover in point 2?

No, they are slightly different things, but again, they were not a list of entirely separate things with no overlap. They were intended to be helpful pointers that might spark your thinking about how to go about writing a full and reflective discussion section, not rigid straightjackets. You must do a full and thorough evaluation but precisely how you do this is up to you. Let us know if you are still unsure and we can talk about it some more.

 

3) How detailed do we need to be in Assignment 2 when providing a “summary of how you conducted your analysis”? Should we include, for example, all of the initial codes used, or should we just say “I coded the data”?

You need to describe the process of analysis (including coding and theme development), but in order to do that well you do not need to name all the initial codes.

 

4) I take it when we are writing how we conducted your analysis it is acceptable to use the 1st person?

Yes

 

5) As there is such a limited word count are we able to assume people know what codes and themes are or do we need to describe what these are?

You do not need to define what a theme is but you do need to explain what your themes/codes describe (i.e., what do they capture in your data/what counts as a code/theme in your data?).

 

6) In the discussion do I compare my chosen method with all other methods (IPA, DA and CA) or just focus on comparing one in particular?

The assignment description says ‘techniques’ (plural) so you should at least mention more than one, even if you decide to concentrate in more detail on just the one.

 

7) The part where we have to evaluate our own analysis, does this involve discussing difficulties we faced when analyzing?

We have tried to spell out what we mean by that in the paragraph in the assignment description – an ‘evaluation’ is weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of your analysis. It would be very appropriate to discuss the difficulties you faced as part of that, but wherever possible try to relate those difficulties to issues discussed in the methods literature.

 

8) I am doing the transition to motherhood dataset and using a thematic analysis technique. How would i set out my sample extracts in the results? For example ‘i didn’t really know they were contractions’ … how would i let the marker know which extract it came from as none of them have line numbers?

You could you use a page number and interview number

 

9) For the discussion would we add in literature from other articles that are of a similar nature, such as those that have looked at motherhood, or is it purely literature that discusses the qualitative technique used?

Just literature on research methods

 

10) Are we supposed to use sub themes or is this optional?

Optional as not always necessary. But try to avoid a situation where you should have divided into sub-themes but didn’t!

 

11) I am still unsure of the structure of the report. Am i right that we don’t need an introduction, just a summary of how the analysis was conducted, results and discussion?

You should briefly introduce your assignment, and include signposting for the reader that tells them what you will be doing, and in what order. Don’t just launch into a summary of analysis. Remember you still need to write this in a way that flows logically.

 

12) Do you have any papers that use thematic analysis that you recommend to do a similar structure to?

There should be plenty on the reading list. I [SS] also sent everyone a copy of my TA

article via blackboard [Speer, S. A. and McPhillips, R. (2013). Patients’ perspectives on

psychiatric consultations in the Gender Identity Clinic: Implications for patient-centered

communication. Patient Education and Counseling, 91(3), 385-391] The structure of that

is pretty clear. But remember you are not supposed to be writing an article as such so your

structure will be quite different.

 

13) I am trying to access the ‘Frith, H. & Gleeson, K. (2004). Clothing and Embodiment: Men Managing Body Image and Appearance. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 5(1), 40-48.’ paper but it won’t let me view it for some reason.

This is one of the trickier ones to find but we accessed it by searching the a-z list of e-journals (via ‘search resources’ tab on the library homepage), then once you find the journal in that list, click on it and it will take you to the instructions for accessing. Obscure but should work!

 

14) I was just wondering if when writing up your results in a TA, is it best to have a theme name, a description of the theme and then a few quotes from the data, or can we include the quotes within the description and say things like… some of the mothers describe feeling “….” which shows …

Best advice we can give is to read a selection of example articles. Start with the paper of mine I sent via this email system, also loaded onto blackboard for the week on TA.

You CAN also include brief quotes within the actual description/analysis too, if they are very brief.

 

15) In thematic analysis when we put our quotations in to provide evidence for our themes, do we directly refer to them in the text, or just leave them embedded to show evidence?

Not quite sure what you mean, but you need to include extracts within the text of your assignment.

 

16) Do we need to include any appendices ie for transcripts or for including coding charts/diagrams if we wish?

Think we’d better say don’t include appendices. If you want to include a thematic map/chart and have enough words to do so, then include in main body of text.

 

17) For the discussion section do we need to present our evaluation of our own analysis, evaluation of TA as a method and in comparison to others as separate elements? Or could we amalgamate each of these sub-sections throughout the discussion section (as long as it flows coherently?).

Sure, feel free to amalgamate.

18) Can we mention that we did not carry out the interview and transcription ourselves (and eg. what consequences this may have on my decision to carry out a certain type of analysis?)

This would be a relevant methodological point to discuss.

 

19) I am using the men becoming fathers data set and I am just wondering whether our research question needs to reflect the whole data set, or if we could focus specifically on answering a question about (random example) fathers’ emotions at the time of birth?

This is a good question: Braun and Clarke (2006) make some useful points about this issue in their paper on thematic analysis.

Essentially, your research question does not have to be one that every single data item allows you to address. Sometimes you might have one interview, for example, that does not reflect the general pattern shown elsewhere across the rest of your data. However, it is good practice to mention/attempt to account in your analysis for any outliers that obviously do not fit the pattern. Sometimes they can reveal interesting things not shown in the rest of the data.

What’s important is that, if you are doing TA, you code the whole set of interviews and look for patterns across the data-set.

What you would want to avoid is a situation where you identify ‘themes’ which reflect only a small proportion of your data set, or, worse, you identify patterns only *within* each data item (each interview).

20) I want to ask a very similar question to that of number 19 on the FAQs but your answer focused on using all the interviews or not and my question here is, if we definitely use all the interviews can our research question focus on one section of the interview e.g. experiences of the actual birth or, experiences of first few days, or work & being a father? Or would we be marked down for our RQ not being well suited enough as big chunks of the interviews would not be included in analysis?

You won’t be marked down for having a particular focus in relation to your research question. In real world research, the researcher will inevitably have far more data than is needed to address the specific research question but will make use of the full dataset.

 

21) Top of Form

Total views: 77 (Your views: 2)I know someone has already asked about research question being more focused than data collected but I still don’t understand how we can make use of full dataset for analysis while being relevant to the research question. For example, I am doing CA, there are literature using CA which specifically draw attention on opening or ending of the interaction. Is that not recommended for us as it mainly covers part of the dataset? Or would that still be acceptable regarding our word limit?  Thanks!

Making full use of the dataset does not mean that you have to report on every single line/paragraph. Instead, you’re looking for and reporting on patterns and themes across the dataset BASED ON YOUR RESEARCH QUESTION. This means that some information will not be relevant so would not go into your analysis – even though it might be really interesting! 

 

22) One of the questions I was asked today was about the focus of your conclusion. Should it be about the research topic or the methods?

As with the remainder of the assignment, the focus is on your understanding and execution of qualitative research methods. We were also asked about referencing, please follow APA guidelines regarding layout.

 

Total views: 103 (Your views: 4)Bottom of FormSeptember 2020

 

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