Saturday, June 23, 2007

‘Research Methods in Information’ chapters 7 & 8

Chapters seven and eight begin Part two of the book in which the author describes a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods beginning with case studies (chapter seven) and surveys (chapter eight). In each chapter the author describes and defines the method (both what it is and what it is not) and its important features then she provides further description of the process.

The case in a case studies must have clearly defined boundaries. The purpose of the study is also important in that it provides a means of keeping the researcher on track with the project rather than veering off in search of answers less relevant to the research question. Intrinsic (to gain understanding), instrumental (to examine a phenomenon), and multi-case.

Continued emphasis on the researchers’ responsibility. Added emphasis on the need for structure (in the form of a well defined means of organizing data) that does not interfere with or constrain the emergent process of qualitative research. She also covers the accepted means of establishing trustworthiness (in qualitative methods) and reliability (in quantitative methods).

Her chapter on case studies reminded me of what I learned about Action Research in a class this past spring. In Action Research, the researcher is focusing on one particular case in context not with the intention of generalizing results outside of the case but in order to better understand the inner workings of the community of stake holders involved and, perhaps, a particular phenomenon within that community with, in the case of Action Research, the added purpose of allowing the community to solve a community problem.

Is Action Research a type of case study? I don’t think so. I think Action Research is similar to case study and that, perhaps, case study would be one way of approaching an AR project but certainly not the only way. I’m still struggling with where AR fits into my larger picture of research as a whole.

Survey research allows one to “study relationships between specific variables”. Descriptive surveys seek to describe a situation by revealing relationships between the variables while explanatory surveys seek to explain the relationship between variables in terms of cause and effect (although there is a lot of debate about how far one can go towards saying variable A caused variable B since survey research does not seek to isolate variables).

I also found a citation to a study in this chapter (she uses it as an example of an explanatory survey) that I think will be very pertinent to my research into how members of an academic community seek information in electronic environments. [Tabatabai, D. and Shore, B.M. (2005) How experts and novices search the Web. Library and Information Science Research 27(20:222-48.]

No comments:

Live chat

About Me

My photo
I am... a wife a daughter a sister/sister-in-law an aunt a reader a librarian a doctor a quilter a niece a grandmother ;-) a cat owner 6 feet 1 inches tall a yoga enthusiast a cook

Blog Archive