Qualitative Research Project – SOC234 2021
For this project, students will be required to complete two components:
- Analysis – Qualitative conduct and analysis of online interview and focus group data (during Lab time)
- The Written Report – Introduction (to the social issue and research question); Background: Qualitative Methods, Data and Findings; and Conclusion.
You need to submit ONLY The Written Report via Turnitin on the SOC234 Moodle site, by the due date. The need to add the data you generate from your qualitative analyses at the end of each relevant Lab to a Google doc for your group to share (see the accompanying ‘Lecture and Lab Guide’). Individual students will then copy key parts of the data, and use this to write their own seperate final Written Report (see below).
The analytical tasks, activities, and outputs for the Mixed Methods project are as follows. You MUST
read the accompanying ‘Lecture and Lab Guide’ for detailed instructions on how to complete these analyses:
1. Develop qualitative interview schedule questions (7-8 questions) (Lab 2) 2. Run In-class Interview, and compile quotes/critical thoughts (Lab 3) 3. Run In-class focus groups, and compile quotes/ critical thoughts (Lab 4)
The Written Report
You should write your over-arching research question clearly at the top of your report (this will not count towards the word count). Note that, due to the many parts to this assignment, you are allowed to go
just over 10% above the official word count (2,200 words) if you would like to. The suggested
word counts for each section are designed to average to this total. Your written report should then have the following structure:
1. Introduction (approx. 125-175 words):
You need to identify what your social issue is, hint at why it is important and what the research gaps are (which you will describe more fully in the Background section below), and how your research question will help address the gap in this issue. (Note that you will choose your social
issue and research question in Lab 1 – see the Lecture and Lab guide – and you will then work on it for the rest of the subject, so please make sure it is something you are interested in!)
2. Background (approx. 450-550 words):
Write a background section on the issue, describing the issues in greater detail, as well as the gaps in the existing research and the link back to your chosen research question (i.e. why your research question is important and fills a substantial gap in the literature). You must find and report on at least two acceptable references related to the social issue in this background section. At least one of these references must be from a study that has used used qualitative methods, and one from a study that has used quantitative methods.
3. Qualitative Approach and Methods (approx. 450-550 words):
Here, you need to write up how you went about doing your mock-interview and focus group. You will need to write it from the point of view as though you conducted these online interviews and focus groups for real (i.e. do not write it as though you are interviewing your class-mates). As noted in the Lab and Lecture guide, you will conduct mock interviews in Lab 2 and focus groups in Lab 3, and in each instance, the person(s) interviewed should pretend to be a different person (or group) in line with your social issue. You (or they) may wish to create a fictionalised backstory for the character they are to play. You should need to provide the following details for your hypothetical study, justify their use, and address likely concerns (as though you were conducting this study in real life, with many more participants):
- Recruitment/Entry – include issues with recruiting online, and the role of potential gatekeepers
- Interview schedules – Please include a list of your interview/focus group questions as dot-points, or in a table (these will NOT count towards the word count for your assignment). You should follow these with justifications for the using these questions (which WILL count towards the word count), including why structured, semi-structured etc.
- Interviewer role and group dynamics – including discussion on your position taken, reflexivity and power dynamics that emerged between interviewer-interviewee, and within focus group
- Ethical concerns – with any of the above
- Conducting Online Research – you should reflect on how conducting the interview
- r focus group online affected the interview dynamics – one on one and as a group – and consequently how it affected the results.
This section should include at least two acceptable references about qualitative methodology in general (preferably one each about interviews and focus groups), and at least one acceptable reference about conducting qualitative research in an online environment.
4. Qualitative Results and Critical Assessment of Findings (approx. 450-550 words):
In this section, you need to write up your findings from the interviews and focus groups. You should include the quotes and critical comments you submitted at the end of Labs 2 and 3 here, though you are free to re-write (and possibly condense) them as you wish to suit your report and word length.
You should note the implications of the findings for the social issue here, but you should do so in the context of critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the interview and focus group methods. Your interpretation of the data should include: a critique of the strength and limitation of qualitative research in general (as say compared to quantitative); critiques of interviews as opposed to focus groups, and critiques of online/offline methods. This section should include at least one acceptable reference about writing up qualitative results (one from each of your methods).
5. Conclusion and Discussion (approx. 300-400 words)
You will need to summarise your findings from both methods here, and discuss how the findings relate to and complement each other. Then discuss the implications of the findings for the social issue you are investigating, any ethical issues that have arisen from the research, and any issues concerned with conducting the research online. Finally, you should discuss how any aspects of the study might have been improved to obtain better results.
NOTE – In total, your assignment should include at least six acceptable references. Acceptable references include academic books, academic book chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles. The
prescribed readings for this subject are acceptable, if they meet these criteria. Newspaper articles (print or online) and the lecture notes are NOT acceptable references.
- Clarity of research questions
- Understanding of qualitative method theory and application
- Skill and insight in undertaking qualitative methods, and presenting qualitative findings (quotes, vignettes etc)
- Quality, sophistication and perceptiveness in interpreting results
- Insight into the issue raised from conclusions
- Quality, sophistication and perceptiveness in critiquing methods
- Appropriate bibliography
- Correct spelling and grammar