NSU Home  The Qualitative Report
An online journal dedicated to qualitative research since 1990

Volume 11 Number 2 June 2006
    Ronald J. Chenail, Ph.D., Sally St. George, Ph.D., and Dan Wulff, Ph.D., Editors
ISSN 1052-0147

Table of Contents

The Times They Are a Changing: Undertaking Qualitative Research in Ambiguous, Conflictual and Changing Contexts (pp. 209-228)
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Lea Kacen and Julia Chaitin

Abstract: This article explores qualitative research issues that arise when researchers engage in study within their own ambiguous, unstable, conflictual, and rapidly changing society. We explore the topics of the relationship between the researcher and the context, the difficulty in choosing relevant research questions under such conditions, and the relevance of generalizing or transferring findings from such contexts to other sites and populations. We present two research cases from the Israeli context: one that demonstrates an external conflict (between Israelis and Palestinians) and one that demonstrates an internal conflict (between Israelis and Israelis), analyzing them according to these three main issues. Our conclusions focus on the methodological implications that researching ones ambiguous and conflictual backyard have for qualitative researchers. Key Words: Research and Context, Reflexivity, Researcher as Instrument, Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, and Generalizability and Transferability

The Photo Essay: A Visual Research Method for Educating Obstetricians and Other Health Care Professionals (pp. 229-250)
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Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Terrance L. Albrecht, Charles Mahan, Bethany A. Bell Ellison, Tabia Henry Akintobi, Beth Reynolds, and Delores Jeffers

Abstract: When it comes to issues related to low-income women seeking early, adequate, or continuous prenatal care, the public health and medical communities continue to tell women to take responsibility for their actions. Rarely are messages aimed at providers. To help physicians see how factors in their offices and clinics can affect service utilization, the photo essay, a visual qualitative research strategy was developed using low-income minority and disenfranchised women who had recently given birth or were near to giving birth. Eight photo essays were completed. Together, the narratives, in collaboration with the photos, provided an opportunity for physicians to hear and observe women, as consumers, as they expanded their descriptions of their prenatal care experience. Key Words: Visual Research, Prenatal Care, Health Communication, and Access to Care

Understanding Student Self-disclosure Typology through Blogging (pp. 251-261)
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Vernon B. Harper, Jr. and Erika J. Harper

Abstract: Significant research indicates that student self-disclosure plays an important role in the learning experience and producing positive learning outcomes. Blogging is an increasingly popular web tool that can potentially aid educators by encouraging student self-disclosure. Both content analysis and focus groups were used to assess whether student self-disclosure reveals in descriptive, topical, and evaluative categories. The results indicate that blogging encourages student self-disclosure, and the implications of these findings are also discussed. Key Words: Blogging, Self-Disclosure, Education, Learning, and Internet Tools

Narratives of Developing Counsellors Preferred Theories of Counselling Storied Through Text, Metaphor, and Photographic Images (pp. 262-301)
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Gina Wong-Wylie

Abstract: Reflective practice is integral for developing counsellors to maintain self-awareness and to recognize influences upon ones personal theory of counselling. In this exploratory narrative inquiry research, four doctoral level counselling psychologists participated to uncover What are the personal stories of developing counsellors and in what ways are lived stories reflective of counsellors' personal theories of counselling?" The researcher employed a butterfly metaphor, and photographs to illustrate lived stories. Dawn, East, Crystal, Sean, and the researchers own lived stories elucidated personal counselling theories and approaches. The view that all theories are constructed portraits of theorists' lives is substantiated. A strong link between lived stories and preferred theories in counselling is demonstrated. Directions for future research are provided. Key Words: Narrative Inquiry, Counsellor Theory Development, Reflective Practice, and Metaphor

Understanding Implicit Texts in Focus Groups from a Systems Psychodynamic Perspective (pp. 302-316)
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Brigitte Smit and Frans Cilliers

Abstract: Many researchers have been inquiring into focus groups as a qualitative data collection method (Barbour & Kitzinger 1999; Krueger 1998; Morgan, 1998), but only a few have been able to analyse the different levels of understanding in focus groups, which we focus on in this article. The guiding research question is how do focus groups offer deeper levels of understandings from a systems psychodynamic perspective. Research participants were purposively sampled using maximum variation (Patton 2002). Data were collected during the focus group, and group data were analysed during data gathering. Meaning making and interpretation of data was done from the systems psychodynamic perspective. The main theme of inclusion and exclusion is evidence of hidden texts in focus groups. Key Words: Focus Groups, Systems Psychodynamic Perspective, Inclusion and Exclusion, Race, and Diversity

Goals and Distractions: Explanations of Early Attrition from Traditional University Freshmen (pp. 317-334)
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John L. Rausch and Matthew W. Hamilton

Abstract: This grounded theory study was designed to investigate the factors that influenced 20 "traditional" university freshmen to withdraw prior to the end of their first year at two Midwestern universities. A two-hour audio-taped interview was conducted with each of the participants, and the grounded theory method was utilized to analyze the interview data. Eighteen of the twenty participants had strong high school GPAs and ACT scores, and would not have been identified as being at-risk for attrition. The grounded theory that emerged from the participants' data indicated that an absence of clear educational goals, as well as individual and institutional distractions, interacted to contribute to the participants' withdrawal from their universities. Key Words: University Attrition, Grounded Theory, and Educational Goals and Distractions

Lived Experience of Women Suffering from Vitiligo: A Phenomenological Study (pp. 335-349)
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Leili Borimnejad, Zohreh Parsa Yekta, and Alireza Nikbakht Nasrabadi

Abstract: Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease, which through change of appearance and body image, exerts a devastating effect on people, especially women. The objective of this study is to explore lived experience of women with Vitiligo by the hermeneutic phenomenology method. The purposive sample consisted of 16 Iranian women. Data analysis followed Diekelmann, Allen, and Tanner (1989). The results showed four main themes: (1) Perceiving myself in a different light; (2) Vitiligo: Worry about others perceptions; (3) Vitiligo, Being influenced by cultural beliefs; and (4) Accepting and fighting the disease; Variations in experiences of living with Vitiligo. The women affected with Vitiligo during their marriage-ready years face various psychosocial problems such as rejection by associates, isolation, divorce, and forced choice of a single life. Key Words: Vitiligo, Phenomenological Study, Iranian Women, and Lived Experiences

Ring of Silence: African American Womens Experiences Related to their Breasts and Breast Cancer Screening (pp. 350-373)
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Eileen Thomas

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore womens memories and feelings concerning their breasts and breast cancer screening experiences in relation to their current breast cancer screening behaviors. Twelve African American women shared stories that were generated in written narratives and individual interviews. Two core themes emerged from the data analysis: silence and societal contradictions. On further review and interpretation of the core themes, one integrative theme became apparent: Ring of silence. Contradictory messages women receive from society, both voiced and unvoiced, can have a long-term effect on how some women perceive their bodies, and how they value early detection related to breast cancer screening. Key Words: Narratives, Breast Cancer Screening, and African American Women

Contextualising the Research Process: Using Interviewer Notes in the Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data (pp. 374-392)
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John Goodwin and Henrietta O'Connor

Abstract: In this paper we argue that for the secondary analysis of qualitative data to be effective researchers also need to subject any accompanying interviewer notes to the same secondary analysis process. The secondary analysis of interviewer notes can provide a great deal of insight into the research process and the attitudes, experiences and expectations of those originally collecting the data. Such information is essential if meaningful analyses are to be offered. Using interviewer notes from a little know research project on youth transitions carried out in 1960s Leicester, this paper aims to explore how the interviewers experiences of the research process and their perceptions are documented in the interviewer notes. The analysis of the data reveals a number of themes surrounding the original collection of the data that would have remained hidden if the interviewer notes had not also been subjected to the secondary analysis process. Key Words: Interviewer Notes, Secondary Analysis, Qualitative Data, Research Process, Interviews, Recording Data, Representations of Respondents, Sources of Bias

Studying HIV Risk in Vulnerable Communities: Methodological and Reporting Shortcomings in the Young Mens Study in New York City (pp. 393-416)
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Ananya Mukherjea and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Abstract: This article discusses racial-social-sexual categories as related to HIV prevention and traditional public health strategies, specifically, the Young Mens Study conducted during the 1990s. We critique the use of pan-ethnic categories such as Asian and Latino, and the often invisible position of Whiteness in race discussions. We also engage with and develop problem concepts such as men who have sex with men, and uses of gender and sexuality categories in order to better understand complex results in this kind of study. While we use a critical method derived from cultural studies in our review, both the quantitative and qualitative methods of studying health risks and intimate behaviors in vulnerable populations require careful consideration and reorganization. It is only in so doing that the lived realities of members of these populations can gain accurate representation. Interviews, surveys, and their statistical renderings can otherwise be too coarse and devoid of practical information. In considering the continued need for alliance-based organizing across communities of color, we address the media coverage and government response to preliminary results of this multi-site study conducted in several US cities that focused on young men who have sex with men and their sexual behaviors with respect to HIV risk. While the critique is centered in NYC, the arguments presented here potentially hold national scope. Key Words: Young Mens Study, People of Color, Race, Gender, Sexuality, HIV Risk, Men Who Have Sex with Men

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