Friday, August 28, 2009

Mixed Methods in Institutional Research (2)

After selecting the method comes:

1) Which and How people should be interviewed (choosing your sample).

a) Random Sample: where every member of the population have an equal chance of being selected but it might not represent the whole population.

b) Snowball Sample: done by making few contacts and ask them to refer you to other people.

c) Convenience Sample: done by talking to people to whom you have easy access.

The question of "Is the sample representative of the population?" depends on what characteristics are important to the researcher. a nice example was given to show what does a representative sample mean. (page 12)

2) What questions should be asked?

*Its important to remember that what you want to find is somewhat different from what you need to ask.

*When asking students whether a professor is knowledgeable about the subject only answers whether the professor appeared to be knowledgeable since students are not really expert on the subject.

*For a longitudinal study, instead of asking the person "Have you changed?". the interviewer should instead ask the same question of interest several times over time.

*Once questions are written, it should be tested and validated.

Skills in collecting qualitative data includes:

1) Techniques in designing primary questions and their follow up questions to elicit information and notice the complexities and implications of what is said.

2) Emotional techniques in creating the right atmosphere.

3) Creativity of being able to perceive undesignated material as data to reveal data new data.

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