Friday, December 12, 2014

12 More Things I Have Learned About Qualitative Research

This is the second half of my brainstorming list regarding what I have learned about qualitative research.  Again, when the mind is under pressure--what comes out?

  1. Use project management one would for business insure you have the best ways to organize your information; a good timeline; appropriate communication between team members.
  2. Create efficient, well-structured electronic data bases for your information.  It’s misguided to say that real qualitative researchers shouldn't use up-to-date organizational tools.
  3. Collect data and conduct QR with the notion that you will be sharing your materials in an archive and with a larger world.
  4. When someone throws you a bunch of methodological arguments that seem over your head, it may not be you—it may really be them.  Go back to basics and leave the fancy new words out of it and see if it really looks like something new.  Figure out how it would really work with this method—can it be done; what does it add to the way you do things?
  5. Think art; let your brain process things in different ways—go away and come back to it.
  6. Use visualizations—in all possible forms to help yourself to see the materials in new ways.
  7. Coding is nothing more than creating an efficient data base that can be used in multiple ways for the next parts of the project. 
  8. Fracture and tag ideas and text; then use the tags to juxtapose and re-vision the same materials—that’s where interpretation begins. 
  9. Most projects code once and then code again in different ways;  think, rethink, think about parts, think about new wholes.
  10. Spend good time on your question; let it serve as a means to bound your focus; get a good fit so it won’t be too narrow or too expensive. 
  11. Write extensively at ALL stages of the project.  Organize these materials as efficiently as possible for connection and retrieval—they are secondary data and you will need them as much as your raw materials.
  12. Think with others; Interpret collectively; Honor the interpretive meeting.

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