Friday, December 5, 2014

10 things I have learned about qualitative research

 I took a writing workshop not too long ago and one of the tasks was to brainstorm a list of things you know about doing the work you do.  Here are the first ten items on my list when I brainstormed with myself regarding what I know about qualitative research.  Interesting to see what pops up first when you are in a timed situation.

  1.  It can be hard.
  2. Not everyone appreciates QR in a quantitative world.
  3. You have to be as organized as an Information Specialist. 
  4. Two-thirds of the project is often in the collection is actually the least of your worries.
  5. Don’t get hung up on the kind of research or research tradition you are following—ground yourself in strong notions of inquiry...research traditions are like salad dressing; who wants to eat a salad without it.
  6. Think with...not at...your participants.  Think about relationships, partnering, learning. 
  7. Ethics are a process...they are always with you; you are always interacting with them:  Don’t leave home without them! 
  8. More is less.  Use qualitative research for what it does well—going deep; understanding perspectives; deciphering context.  Don’t make it do the job another kind of methodology could do better. 
  9. Make timelines realistic and flexible. 
  10. Make analysis ongoing; question yourself when you find that you are doing massive data collection...followed by processing...followed by analysis—why did it happen that way; was there another way to stage the work?

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