Thursday, 3 May 2012

Building Sophistication into Research Design?

I've been reflecting lately on how as an academic I can encourage students to develop research projects that involve more than simply interviewing 20 people and looking for themes, attempting to build in more levels of sophistication into research design. I've been thinking about how I can set some standards for myself and have come up with these thoughts

1. Be participatory wherever possible...actively join with your participants in the search for meaning

2. Build designs that have more than one focus of attention (ie: have a stage 2 that focuses the microscope further on findings or participants from stage 1)

For example start with grounded theory then criterion sample a specific smaller group for narrative analysis, conversational analysis, case studies, etc.

3. Develop sufficient engagement with participants to explore meaning

As a therapist there are heaps of skills available for this purpose while remaining clear that research isn't therapy...

4. Code until higher order themes emerge not simply lists or models

Let the data inspire you, use theoretical triangulation if needed to squeeze more out of the analysis

5. Use tools to augment interviews, including genograms, timelines, pictures, video, photos, ect.

So much room to experiment here....we are trying computer based videos of therapy sessions, sociograms, file notes and many other ways to augment interviews at the moment

6. Code collaboratively and across disciplines

We are lucky enough to have Med students and music students in our Psych group, this makes collaborative coding less of a closed process and data open to more alternative interpretations

7. Select methods and write up results in a way that is most likely to inspire reflection or change..sometimes emotionally moving people

8. Think about how to disseminate your findings, what will have the most impact (note the small I)

Impact Factor is different from impact factor!!

9. Write more than the model in your Results section: include transcript excerpts, case studies, personal reflections, what most surprised you

Ill try and tackle these one by one over the next few weeks...(by Paul Rhodes)

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