Discussion: Participant Selection
To prepare for this Discussion:
There are â€œrules of thumbâ€ that guide each qualitative approach. Review Pattonâ€s chapter on sampling types, and study sampling strategies in research articles on the approach you have chosen.
Review the articles on data saturation and theoretical saturation, and consider which criteria you will follow to estimate â€œhow many.â€ Remember, in qualitative research, one case can be enough. If your phenomenon is complex or you are interested in a range of experiences, then you will need more cases.
Reflect on your research problem and question. What are the essential characteristics of participants that you want to recruit?
Write the following:
Present the most current version of your research question and state the phenomenon of interest.
Describe the criteria for inclusion and exclusion.
Describe in detail the choices for sample size, data saturation, and theoretical saturation. Justify your choices with citations of research studies that use the same strategy and/or of methodological articles that describe the rationale.
Put yourself in the participantâ€s position, and consider the assurances you would want to hear to ensure that your privacy is respected and that your identity will not be revealed when the study is published. Include those assurances in your invitation.
What is the current version of your research question?
Reflect on the choice of interviewing as the data collection method for addressing your proposed study. Why might you choose interviewing over other qualitative data collection techniques (e.g., focus groups, observational data collection)?
Consider the kinds of questions you would like to ask. Are they personal? Embarrassing? Might they put your participants at risk? Provide some examples of the kinds of questions you would like to ask.
Identify one or more possible ethical considerations given the types of questions you would like to ask. For example, if you are asking someone to reflect on his or her experience as a drug addict, perhaps that person will reveal stories about hurting loved ones or breaking the law. How might you handle this?
Assignment: Final Project Step I: Revising the Problem/Purpose Statement and Choosing the Approach
Beginning this week and extending through the rest of the course, you will work on the components that constitute your Final Project, a qualitative research plan. You will produce the Final Project in a stepwise fashion; during each week, you will work on a new step. You will receive from your classmates and Instructor feedback on each step that you will incorporate into the final document.
Note: Be sure to watch the â€œFinal Project Guidelinesâ€ video included in this weekâ€s Learning Resources in preparation for Final Project Step I.
The Final Project is composed of six steps. These are presented in the video, and the instructions for each step are described in detail in the week each occurs.
Step I: Revising the problem/purpose statement and choosing the approach
Step II: Developing an interview guide, invitation, and data collection protocol
Step III: Conducting the interviews, taking notes, and journaling
Step IV: Transcribing and organizing data and peer debrief
Step V: Considerations for qualitative analysis, including analysis plan, coding strategies, and software choices
Step VI: Final submission and reflection
Step 1: Question Revise and submit your draft problem statement, purpose, research question, and approach for Instructor approval.
For this weekâ€s Journal entry, respond to the following three prompts:
Progress: What has been happening in the course since your previous Journal entry?
Problems: Describe your skill and experience in doing interviews. What do you bring to the table? What skills do you feel you lack?
Plans: Look toward the next week. What will you do to overcome the challenges of inexperience and of access to participants?
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