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Qualitative Methods

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					Qualitative Methods

Lisa Harrison: Chapter 5
         Qualitative and Quantitative (74)

Quantitative: Focuses on the analysis of numerical data
 (statistics, polling), and uses large sets of data to make
 generalizations and predictions. It is more detached (a large
 survey, for example).

Qualitative: focuses on the study of political behavior and
 attitudes and examines in depth a small number of cases,
 which are seen as interesting or illuminating. It seeks depth
 rather than breadth. Researcher immerses themselves in
 their topic.

…
            Qualitative and Quantitative

Can be used Together
Can use both approaches, yet they often use different types of
  evidence to research the same question.

       Examples:
            Polls and focus groups
            Statistics and interviews

…
       Advantages of Qualitative Research

Advantages:
    1) Greater opportunity to explore beliefs and attitudes
    2) Can explain “why” and “how” rather than just “what”
    3) Greater reliance upon the respondents actions and
    thoughts.

Versatility: Qualitative works provides a more open, and varied
    means of studying a subject (in-depth interviews, focus
    groups, for example).

In Quantitative research, interaction between researcher and
    reached is limited, and the Quantitative methods reflect
    this. (Polls can only provide a limited number of options,
    and time, for example.)
       Advantages of Qualitative Research

Ethnography: Importance of Meaning and Context
Qualitative research seeks to not only “what happened” but also
  “why” and “how.”

Why Something Happened
It is not satisfied with simply why a certain number of people
   voted, or that party enrollment has declined, but why? As
   such, ideas and culture of research populations become key,
   since all meaning is derived from context.

Emphasis, then, is on explanation, rather than description or
 prediction. …
             Types of Qualitative Methods

Focus Group: involves bringing together a small group (8-10 people) of
    carefully selected individuals for an in-depth discussion of some
    topic, guided by a moderator, to learn how people think about a
    topic.

Advantages:
    1) Ensure questions are actually answered.
    2) Solve the problem of wording: you can ask for elaboration.
    3) Allow researchers to probe respondents.
    4) Can measure effects of word order and context.

Importance of Observing Group Interaction:
Focus groups rely on interaction between the participants to generate
    insights into the subject. It allows researchers to test the strength
    of an opinion.
…
         Focus Groups: Policy Application

Policy Application: Focus groups allow researchers to see how
  people respond to certain questions, language.

    Example: Frank Luntz

…
    Disadvantages of Qualitative Research

Disadvantages of Qualitative Research

    1) Data can be atypical, and thus cannot be generalized.
    2) Problems of interpretation.
    3) Researcher involvement, they may be come too involved,
       they might “go native.”
    4) Time-consuming.

…
      Differences between Qualitative and
                  Quantitative

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative
A key difference between the two approaches relates to
  sampling.

  Sampling:
     Quantitative: the sample can be random.
     Qualitative: is much less likely to be random. Instead,
     rely on contrasts within a group under investigation in
     search of trends.
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