Section 6: Data Collection and Qualitative Designs

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Welcome to Section 6: Data Collection and Qualitative Designs. In this section, we’ll explore how researchers gather information to learn more about people and the way they live their lives. Qualitative research isn’t about numbers or graphs; it’s more like storytelling, using detailed descriptions to understand the world from someone else’s point of view.

In Section 6.1, titled “Qualitative and Historical Research,” we take a journey back in time. Just like detectives, researchers look at old letters, documents, and even things like tools or clothing to figure out how people used to live and how their actions affect us today.

Next, Section 6.2, “Existing Data and Archival Records,” shows us how to find and use information that’s already out there. Researchers don’t always have to start from scratch—they can learn a lot from the wealth of data that others have collected, whether it’s stored in a library or online.

Then we come to Section 6.3, “Observational Research.” This part is all about watching and noting how people behave in real-life settings. Do researchers join in and participate, or do they watch quietly without getting involved? Both ways can tell us different things about people and their daily lives.

Section 6.4, “Surveys and Interviews,” focuses on asking people questions to get to know their opinions, feelings, and experiences. This could be through written questionnaires or one-on-one conversations, and the key is to ask the right questions to get meaningful answers.

Lastly, in Section 6.5, “Applied Research,” we learn about research that has a direct goal of improving something. For example, if a school wants to make the cafeteria better, researchers might test out new ideas for menus or seating arrangements and then see what works best.

As we go through Section 6, remember that each method we discuss is a different way to understand the colorful stories and experiences of people’s lives. These methods are the tools that help researchers paint a clearer picture of how people think, feel, and interact with the world around them.

Section 6 SLOs

Upon completion of Module 6, students will be able to:

  1. Differentiate characteristics and applications of various qualitative and historical research methods, understanding their significance in exploring behaviors and shaping societal understanding.
  2. Access, interpret, and apply archival data effectively in social science research, including understanding institutional roles and archival research methodologies.
  3. Implement observational research techniques, distinguishing between structured and unstructured observations, participant and nonparticipant methods, and the use of focus groups, while recognizing the benefits and challenges of observational research.
  4. Design and conduct surveys and interviews in social research, comprehend the importance of questionnaire design, and analyze survey data for research insights.
  5. Formulate case studies, program evaluation, and needs assessment in applied research, mastering the design, implementation, and evaluation processes to drive positive societal changes.


Modification History

File Created:  07/25/2018

Last Modified:  11/14/2023

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