Qualitative research is a mix of three interconnected concepts- ontology, epistemology and methodology (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005). The qualitative researchers approach the world with a set of ideas (ontology) focusing on a set of questions (epistemology) and then examine (methodology) the question in a certain way. The methodology is the only activity that faces criticism (Sarma. 2015)
Per Sarma, (2015), in qualitative research anything goes and has a non-scientific method. The Oxford English Dictionary defines scientific method or procedure, having “a systematic observation, measurement and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses”. In other words, it should have a system that measures similarities, and test predictions. The qualitative system does not have a way to measure variables, test hypothesis, and exactness. Therefore, qualitative research is considered story telling.
- What are the key characteristics of qualitative evaluation methods?
a.The design – must be an uncontrollable situation that you are seeking to find answers to. It is something that has taken place before now, and is still considered to be a problem. You must ask yourself what are you looking for in the research? How will your findings help the community, organization, people, etc.? Will there be any challenges, and if so, how will it affect the outcome?
b.The collection – must be done with an open mind. You can’t be judgmental, because it can alter or you can misinterpret your findings. There are multiple ways of looking collecting data (interviewing people, reviewing case studies, and analyzing what has already been done). One disadvantage you could have is the person being interviewed may not tell you everything. That is why it is important to make them comfortable
c.The analysis – treats each case study individually, gives you a complete look at what is happenings, and contains all its components. It has multiple ways of researching your data. After the review the data that is has been collected previously, it allows you to see if there are any similarities. This will help in any reconstruction of the program.
- What are the benefits of including qualitative data in the evaluation process? Qualitative data gives you a different understanding of what is being researched. Since the qualitative data cannot be measured numerically, it allows you to look at it holistically. It tells you what is currently happening. The way you collect, view, and your perspective from your findings can be done using multiple methods.
- Do you believe that an evaluator can deliver and complete a valid evaluation of a program or an agency without including qualitative data? Yes
Why or why not? Because quantitative data can provide information needed to improve or design a program. Although, it asks different questions, and identify the needs by numerical findings, it still ends up with the same outcome as qualitative data.
Sarma, S. K. (2015). Qualitative research: Examining the misconceptions. South Asian Journal of Management, 22(3), 176-191. Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/1732041530?accountid=34899