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Coding is an interpretive technique that both organizes the data and provides a means to introduce the interpretations of it into certain quantitative methods.
Example 3: What are the special challenges that students who are born in Germany and have an immigrant background face?
Generally, this question can serve as basis for a qualitative study but it needs some further clarification. In Germany, we have immigrants from lots of different backgrounds: people from Turkey, Russia and the successor states of the former Soviet Union, Poland, successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, etc. Some are Muslims, some are Catholics and others are atheists. And they came for different reasons: work, war, breakdown of communism or having German ancestors. Hence, it is to expect that each group faces different challenges. It is thinkable to design a study where all groups are included, but this would be very large and extensive qualitative research project. The advice here is to narrow the question to one particular group of immigrants.
Bias in qualitative research affects the validity and reliability of findings, and consequently affects decisions. Know the five major categories of bias ...
Interview respondents with experience in the subject of interest, when moderating qualitative research.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Group Discussions Focus groups data collection method has several advantages in conducting a qualitative research. The following are various advantages of using a focus group to obtain data. There is flexibility of the focus group research in being used as a qualitative method or a combination of the former with quantitative techniques (., HCC Education Digital Library).The moderator is permitted to inquire into and examine unforeseen issues due to this kind of format. Has high face validity and naturalistic- as it includes storytelling, joking, disagreements, boasting and more (., HCC Education Digital Library & Morgan). It is relatively inexpensive/relatively low cost (., HCC Education Digital Library). Provides relatively fast results (., HCC Education Digital Library).Consumes lesser time unlike structured interviews in order to increase sample sizes and resource investment (., HCC Education Digital Library). It is helpful and important for needs assessment and project evaluation projects (Savithiri, 2009).Regarding the facts and numbers in research, meaning behind these facts can also be found and confirmed through surveys as it is qualitative in nature(Savithiri, 2009). It is relatively simple to carry out (., National Center for Postsecondary Improvement). It consumes less time as large sample size can be studied (., National Center for Postsecondary Improvement).Information is gained from group interaction due to group dynamics (., National Center for Postsecondary Improvement). It helps in obtaining and gathering contracted and incisive data of specific topic (Morgan).Many new perspectives and opinions are obtained which results in insights (Morgan). Sensitive topics can be discussed leading to personal disclosures (Silverman, 2004).Often these interactions result in creating ‘synergistic effects’ (Silverman, 2004).Vocabulary and language used can be observed (Silverman, 2004). It is much more efficient when the data being gathered is very much related to the researcher’s interests(Morgan).The moderator keeps the discussion in sync with the topic and makes sure one individual does not dominate the other; hence follows an ‘egalitarian’ method(Silverman, 2004 & ., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages). Non-verbal behavior as well plays a role in the moderator’s decision making and research results (., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages). High possibilities in resulting in rich and in-depth information or data (., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages & Deem, 1997). It is useful for exploratory research (Deem, 1997). Group interaction can be observed in a controlled setting(Deem, 1997). The reactions of participants towards each other can be analyzed (., Southalabama Education: Strengths and Weaknesses of Focus Groups). Previously neglected or unnoticed phenomena can be drawn towards the researcher’s attention(Silverman, 2004).Helps to inform the development of survey instruments(Silverman, 2004).Opportunistic use of focus groups results in improvised research design and impoverished data(Silverman, 2004). Though focus groups method of data collection has several advantages; the limitations of the same cannot be ignored. Has less experimental control(., HCC Education Digital Library).Data collected is usually difficult to analyze; as the discussion must be audio or video taped, field notes to be recorded and the verbatim to be transcribed (., HCC Education Digital Library & Savithiri, 2009).Requires or the need for carefully trained interviewers(., HCC Education Digital Library).Groups may vary considerably. Groups may be difficult to assemble (., HCC Education Digital Library).Discussion must be conducted in an environment that is conducive to conversation (., HCC Education Digital Library). There is high potential for leading and bias (., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages). Moderator or rather the facilitation of the discussion may be critical as the group largely banks on the assisted discussion in order to produce results(Savithiri, 2009).The need for skilled and trained moderators or interviewers is necessary (., HCC Education Digital Library).There is a high chance or risk for the moderator to dominate or ‘hijack’ the discussion(Savithiri, 2009). There may be difficulties in terms of the sample study results representing the population as participants are self-selected; hence generalization becomes difficult or impossible(Savithiri, 2009).The moderator may influence the group interactions thus distorting results or findings (Morgan). Participant’s involvement and contribution in the discussion also plays a major role(Morgan).Issues may arise if topics are controversial in nature leading to disagreements and arguments(Morgan).Results obtained may be biased as one or two prevalent people may influence the interaction or discussion(., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages).Dealing with sensitive topics is a challenge(., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages).Contrived or artificial environment also may influence the interactions and responses, thus leading to biased results (., Focus Groups: Issues Regarding Advantages and Disadvantages).Ethical issues may rise regarding confidentiality aspect (Deem, 1997). Measurement validity may be low(., Southalabama Education: Strengths and Weaknesses of Focus Groups)