TQM - Teaching Qualitative Methods
Teaching Quialitative Methods

Cancelled: 3rd TQM Conference
May 11th-12th, 2007

NOT Cancelled: Training Sessions
May 13th-15th, 2007

Course Deveopment Workshops  

Stream 1: Narrative analysis with software
Facilitator: Lioness Ayres

Although qualitative researchers have always analysed narrative data, the application of theories of narrative to qualitative research is a relatively new development. At the same time scholars, teachers, and researchers evidence a renewed interest in the production and interpretation of stories. The purpose of this workshop is to share the presenter’s experiences teaching qualitative research to Masters students in the School of Nursing. We will consider the advantages of traditional classroom techniques and distance technology in teaching qualitative research to students with little or no research background who may or may not be planning to conduct research of their own, as well as ways to facilitate the progress of students who are more sophisticated about the research process.
Participants will work together to:

  • Identify useful introductory readings for students.
  • Discuss ways for students to have personal experience interpreting narrative data in the classroom.
  • Identify some strategies for the elicitation, distribution, interpretation, and dissemination of findings from classroom-generated narratives.
  • Consider the ways data analysis software may be used to identify narrative aspects of qualitative data including content, structure, and voice, as well as specific features of stories such as implied ending, omissions, repetitions, and evasions.

Stream 2: Teaching Mixed Methods
Facilitator Pat Bazeley, Research Support P/L

Mixed methods research has regained acceptance and, indeed, popularity over the past decade, particularly in the areas of applied social research and evaluation. Few graduate students, however, are prepared for the specific demands of this genre of research methods. Combination or integration of diverse methods demands of the researcher multiple knowledges of traditional methods, a vision of what might be possible (and useful) and an ability to resolve the technical and interpretive complications which arise.

In the mixed methods workshop we will consider the possibilities for and issues involved in training students to be competent as mixed methods researchers and to work within mixed methods teams. From these considerations an attempt will be made to derive guidelines and activities for course syllabi, including the use of software for analysis. Some of these issues include:

  • what is being defined as mixed methods research;
  • the learning objectives of a mixed methods course;
  • the level at which training should/might occur;
  • prerequisites for mixed methods training;
  • the content to be covered in a training program;
  • learning activities at various levels;
  • writing skills for mixed methods;
  • resources available—print resources and computer software.

Stream 3: Embedding Software Instruction in an Applied Qualitative Methods Course
Facilitator: Donna L. Richter, Ed.D., University of South Carolina

Abstract: This workshop will share results of a course which was piloted in Spring 2002 in which basic instruction on N5 and NVivo were woven into a project-based approach to qualitative data collection and analysis.

In order to give graduate public health students an introduction to qualitative data collection and analysis and its use in funded research projects as well as thesis and dissertation work, a course was designed to provide an overview of qualitative data collection and analysis, including hands-on experience with data collection techniques and hands-on experience of two computer-based software analysis packages (N5 and NVivo). Students selected a topic for an actual mini-research project and went through all steps involved in setting it up and conducting the research, including developing the research question, selecting a data collection technique (in this case, interviews), developing an interview discussion guide, constructing an appropriate sampling framework, applying for Institutional Review Board approval of the research project, conducting the interviews, analyzing the data, and preparing and presenting their results. Students worked in teams, one team using N5 and the other using NVivo. All students were instructed in the use of both software packages.

Lessons learned from the experience of piloting this course will be shared, with emphasis on course syllabus development.

Stream 4: Teaching grounded theory using NVIVO
Facilitator: Silvana di Gregorio, PhD, SdG Associates

This workshop will offer insights on how NVIVO can be used to illustrate the processes involved in grounded theory analysis.

Participants will be using as an example a worked grounded theory analysis in NVIVO. But the process will be covered step by step starting with ‘open coding’ with participants working in pairs and then small groups using paper methods. Their feedback will be inputted into NVIVO by the facilitator who will illustrate how the software can be used to facilitate understanding of the ‘open coding’ process. In a similar way, journal keeping and memo writing and the development of more conceptual coding will be illustrated. Finally, conceptual model building will be illustrated using the Show Tool and the Modeler.

The style of the workshop is ‘learning by doing’ so that participants can experience this style of teaching, combining paper methods with the software tool to illustrate processes. There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion of this approach and of modifications to the suggested ways of using the software tool. Participants will be working towards constructing their own course syllabus using ideas from the workshop.

Stream 5: Using qualitative tools in teaching evaluation research
Facilitator: Kristi Jackson

Attendees at this session on Evaluation Research will leave with their own syllabus for teaching a course on evaluation design with an emphasis on using qualitative software to assist in the analysis of qualitative data. The goal of the session will be to:

1. Identify course readings and create course activities that encourage students to explore qualitative evaluation design issues.
2. Combine the above readings and activities with the use of a software package to manage qualitative evaluation data.

Topic areas will focus on the use of the software for managing and analyzing qualitative evaluation research. The software can be used to facilitate the following topics:

  • The purposes of evaluation research (Exploring, Describing or Explaining)
  • Deduction and Induction
  • Cause and effect
  • Hypothesis testing and grounded theory
  • Types of evaluation designs such as Planning, Process, Outcome, Efficiency
  • Action research
  • Theories, goals and objectives
  • Operationalization of concepts
  • Sampling
  • Units of analysis
  • Measuring change
  • Combining qualitative and quantitative data
  • Ethical issues such as informed consent, anonymity and confidentiality
  • Dissemination of results

A sample exercise:
At what point can efforts to ensure confidentiality break down? Identify as many threats to confidentiality in a qualitative evaluation research process as possible.
In what ways can a qualitative software program (and/or other software) help manage these threats and therefore ensure the honorable management of participant identities?