Research Tools of Qualitative Data Collection
Collection sources and techniques.
- Qualitative research includes data collected through observations interviews, questionnaires, phone calls, personal and official documents, photographs, recordings, drawings, journals, e-mail messages and responses, and informal conversations.
- In qualitative research the researcher is the primary data collection instrument.
When qualitative researchers obtain data by watching the participants, they are observing.
- A researcher who becomes a part of and a participant in the situation under observation is called a participant observer.
- A researcher can be an active participant observer a privileged, active observer or a passive observer.
- A nonparticipant observer observes the situation but does not participate in the situation while observing it.
Field notes are the records of what the observer has seen or heard. Field notes contain literal descriptions as well as personal reactions and comments on what the observer has experienced and thought about during an observation session. Field notes may be guided by a protocol developed prior to the observation session.
An interview is a purposeful interaction in which one person obtains information from another.
The unstructured interview is like casual conversation and allows the qualitative researcher to inquire into something that has presented itself as an opportunity to learn about what is going on at the research setting.
In a structured interview, the researcher has a specified set of questions that elicits the same information from all respondents.
For interviews, researcher should include convergent and divergent questions and pilot-test them with a group of respondents similar to the target sample.
Following basic guidelines for interviewing can help improve communication and can facilitate data collection
A focus group is a group interview. Researchers conducting focus groups should ensure that all participants have a chance to state their points of view.
An e-mail interview can be used to elicit responses from busy professionals who can respond to an e-mail either synchronously or asynchronously.
A questionnaire is a written collection of self report questions to be answered by selected group of research participants.
Developing and presenting questionnaires takes presentation should be attractive.
Be sure to protect participants, confidential information.
Useful educational records include archival documents, journals, maps, videotapes, audiotapes, and artifacts.