decisions may underlie the sampling selection, which requires responsiveness to the needs of developing variation, verification, and the developing theory. Investigator Responsiveness Research is only as good as the investigator. It is the researcher’s creativity, sensitivity, flexibility and skill in using the verification strategies that determines the reliability and validity of the evolving study. For example, ongoing analysis results in the dynamic formulation of conjectures and questions that force purposive sampling. The researcher analyses the data, which would then determine future participant recruitment. Within the notions of categorization and saturation lie sampling strategies to ensure replication and confirmation. Responsiveness of the investigator to whether or not the categorization scheme actually holds (and is kept), or appears thin and muddled (and the scheme is changed), influences the outcome. In this way, it is essential that the investigator remain open, use sensitivity, creativity and insight, and be willing to relinquish any ideas that are poorly supported regardless of the excitement and the potential that they first appear to provide. It is these investigator qualities or actions that produce social inquiry and are crucial to the attainment of optimal reliability and validity. The lack of responsiveness of the investigator at all stages of the research process is the greatest hidden threat to validity and one that is poorly detected using post hoc criteria of "trustworthiness." Lack of responsiveness of the investigator may be due to lack of knowledge, overly adhering to instructions rather than listening to data, the inability to abstract, synthesize or move beyond the technicalities of data coding, working deductively (implicitly or explicitly) from previously held assumptions or a theoretical framework, or following instructions in a rote fashion rather than using them strategically in decision making. Verification Strategies Within the conduct of inquiry itself, verification strategies that ensure both reliability and validity of data are activities such as ensuring methodological coherence, sampling sufficiency,
developing a dynamic relationship between sampling, data collection and analysis, thinking theoretically, and theory development 2 . Each of these will be discussed briefly. First, the aim of methodological coherence is to ensure congruence between the research question and the components of the method. The interdependence of qualitative research demands that the question match the method, which matches the data and the analytic procedures. As the research unfolds, the process may not be linear. Data may demand to be treated differently so that the question may have to be changed or methods modified. Sampling plans may be expanded or change course altogether. The fit of these components with data to meet the analytic goals must be coherent, with each verifying the previous component and the methodological assumptions as a whole.
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- Fall '16
- Qualitative Research