Qualitative research methods allow investigators to go beyond merely counting how often something occurs or with how many individuals. Rather, they provide insights in to how or why certain actions are taken or the ways in which people interact with or interpret their lived experiences. This added richness can be critical to forming effective interventions to create behavior change, which is common in not just health and medicine but educational practice as well. Yet, many researchers are hesitant to journey into qualitative research beyond a few open-ended survey questions, due to concerns about qualitative research lacking the rigor and validity of quantitative studies. Although there are many approaches to qualitative research and the accepted norms for conducting and writing up this type of research can vary according to your academic discipline, the following five tips can help provide a solid foundation for starting your qualitative journey.
In academia – like the rest of the world – our daily routines have been challenged over the past couple of weeks faced with continued effects of COVID-19. These challenges can derail us and our writing or they can present opportunities to look at new routes to success.
This week’s collection of articles identifies some opportunities for redefining your scholarship as we face uncertainty in the days and weeks ahead. First, consider writing as a research method, the urgency of public-impact scholarship, and life outside the boundaries of academia. Explore your research design and build new ways to connect with others. Consider your “plan B” options and re-evaluate the goals of your projects that may require some extraordinary measures in the weeks ahead. Finally, take time to enjoy life – even if it doesn’t go as planned.
Gustave Flaubert acknowledged his writing challenges with the following. “I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” Being faced with challenges, uncertainty, and results inconsistent with our intentions can be opportunities for exploring new lines of thought and action. We wish you safety and continued growth this week. Happy writing!