Qualitative research and the delinquent blogger
Well, I just spent the last few days writing an assignment for a university course I am taking in qualitative research, which was made a little difficult by a daughter with hand foot and mouth disease. Said disease meant she couldn’t go to the daycare centre, and so I have been the good husband and stayed home with her Monday & Tuesday. Unfortunately it meant I had to go to work early on Friday and work all day Saturday, and then all Tuesday night out at uni, so that I could get it done.
I got the assignment submitted with an hour to spare, in case you’re at all concerned. Using my psychic powers, I suspect you’re not.
The topic of the paper was ‘The response and economic sustainability of a dairy-dependent community in the context of dairy deregulation: a qualitative data analysis’. The emphasis is on the qualitative data analysis, and essentially this involves going through a large number of interview transcripts and citing them to make the points that you are trying to make. The course itself has been very interesting, and opened my eyes to at least some of the benefits of qualitative research (being generally a positivist, it is hard to change paradigms without a clutch).
I think I like qualitative research at one level, but every positivist bone in my body reacts by wanting to put ‘anecdotally’ in front of every person’s quote. That would not be good form and perhaps show that you don’t quite get it.
At any rate, at least one saving grace, I thought, would be that I got a blog post out of all that work. I was halfway through editing it up to make a blog post out of it and then thought – darn, pesky ethics! I came to the realisation that these people who gave the interviews – even though de-identified – probably didn’t give permission (correction: I know they didn’t give permission) for their words to go across the internetz. So – no blog post for me. It wouldn’t be such a problem if, say, it were a quantitative exercise, except that with qualitative research you do tend to quote their actual words quite a bit and furthermore their words are meaningless without context, so their role and position is included with their words. As a result, I won’t be publishing the full three thousand words of butane-enhanced excitement that is ‘The response and economic sustainability of a dairy-dependent community in the context of dairy deregulation: a qualitative data analysis’.
But I might post up the introduction and the research bit – because it was uncannily accurate stuff.