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

Volume 15 Number 6 November 2010
    Ronald J. Chenail, Ph.D., Sally St. George, Ph.D., Dan Wulff, Ph.D., Maureen Duffy, Ph.D., Laurie L. Charles, Ph.D., and Karen Wilson Scott, Ph.D., Editors
Robin Cooper, Managing Editor | Monica Tobin, Production Editor | Adam Rosenthal, TQR Web Site Coordinator

ISSN 1052-0147

Table of Contents


(Inter)Active Interviewing in Childhood Research: On Children's Identity Work in Interviews (pp. 1309-1327)
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Stina Fernqvist

Abstract: Seeing identity as work produced in interaction is a starting point in this current study, were analyzing interviews with children living in economic hardship, and how everyday life in economic hardship in one way or another becomes significant for their identity work, is the main empirical material. This article is intended to illustrate how to (a) combine James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium's (1995) active interview approach with elements from Erving Goffman's (1974/1986) frame analysis, and (b) introduce this approach as a fruitful way of analyzing children's narratives. Also, by regarding the interview as interaction and thereby acknowledging the respondents' participation in the research process, I argue that an interactive interview approach has both ethical and analytical advantages that should appeal to qualitative childhood studies. Key Words: Interviewing, Childhood Sociology, Interaction, Power, and Frames

Daughters' Perspectives on Maternal Substance Abuse: Pledge to Be a Different Kind of Mother (pp. 1328-1364)
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Anne P. Murphy, Joseph G. Ponterotto, Anthony A. Cancelli, and Susan P. Chinitz

Abstract: The purpose of this grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) study was to explore the experiences of racially and culturally diverse young mothers whose own mothers abused substances two decades ago when substance abuse peaked in inner city, urban neighborhoods in the United States and to identify the factors that have influenced how they parent their own children today. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten drug-free mothers who report having been raised by a mother who was addicted to drugs, primarily crack cocaine during their childhoods. The emergent grounded theory is that exposure to maternal substance abuse has a significant and unique impact on female children throughout their lifespan, with particular emphasis at the onset of motherhood. Among the goals the young mothers expressed is that they wanted to "be there" for their children, protect their daughters from sexual abuse, and raise sons who do not abuse women. Key Words: Grounded Theory, Maternal Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, Parent/Child Relationships, Resilience, Attachment, Child Abuse, and Neglect

The Heroes' Journey: A Young Couple's Experience with Choriocarcinoma (pp. 1365-1386)
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Dan Marlowe, Jennifer Hodgson, and Angela Lamson

Abstract: A 20 year retrospective qualitative case study was conducted to investigate the relational impact of choriocarcinoma (a type of gestational cancer) on a couple of child-bearing age. A unique feature to the study was that the primary investigator was the couple's biological son, initiating the first known auto-case study design. Using holistic content analysis, investigators learned that anticipatory grief played a central part in the couple's ultimate detachment and divorce. While the wife began to refocus her emotional energies on her children, in psychological preparation for her possible death, the husband focused on ways to keep the family finances together in preparation for life after cancer. He perceived her emotional detachment from him as abandonment. In spite of taking separate paths, the two perceived one another as heroes. The conceptual and clinical implications for a young couple battling gestational cancer are discussed. Key Words: Choriocarcinoma, Couple, Cancer, Case study, Holistic Content Analysis, and Gestational

The Role of Emotions in Fieldwork: A Self-Study of Family Research in a Corrections Setting (pp. 1387-1414)
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Joyce A. Arditti, Karen S. Joest, Jennifer Lambert-Shute, and Latanya Walker

Abstract: In this study, we document a reflexive process via bracketing techniques and the development of a conceptual map in order to better understand how emotions that arise in the field can inform research design, implementation, and results. We conducted a content analysis of field notes written by a team of researchers who administered an interview to caregivers bringing children to visit an incarcerated family member at a local jail. Our self-examination revealed themes around the team's discomfort connected to the institutional jail setting and intense emotions regarding the life situations of study participants, their treatment by jail staff, and our own concerns about leaving the research setting. We offer recommendations for scholars conducting research in similar environments with vulnerable participants. Key Words: Corrections, Emotions, Fieldwork, Qualitative Research, Reflexivity, and Self-Study

The Evolution of a Coding Schema in a Paced Program of Research (pp. 1415-1430)
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Charlene A. Winters, Shirley Cudney, and Therese Sullivan

Abstract: A major task involved in the management, analysis, and integration of qualitative data is the development of a coding schema to facilitate the analytic process. Described in this paper is the evolution of a coding schema that was used in the analysis of qualitative data generated from online forums of middle-aged women with chronic conditions who participated in a computer support intervention in the rural west. The coding schema evolved over three phases of the research project and included coding tree nodes based on study-driven categories and nodes that arose from the data and changes in conceptual thinking. This paper provides researchers with information about a potential approach that can be used when coding large amounts of qualitative data from a multi-phased study. Key Words: Qualitative Data Analysis, Coding Trees, and Chronic Illness

Exploring Asian Female Pastors' Leadership Roles in the Church: Using Deborah's Story (pp. 1431-1458)
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Yu-Fen Lin, Chi-Sing Li, Beverly J. Irby, and Genevieve Brown

Abstract: Women in many Christian cultures are told that men are strong and should lead the church. Consequently, some women rationalize that they should not assume top leadership roles in the church. When they do assume such roles, many female pastors experience challenges. The purpose of our qualitative case study was to give voice to Asian female pastors (AFPs) by having them share challenges they experienced in the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church and relate those challenges to the experiences of Deborah in the biblical story found in Judges 4 and 5. Reported in this paper are the results of focus groups centered on a feminist commentary of Deborah's story. The voices of the AFPs speak to reconstruct traditional patriarchal theological thought. Key Words: Leadership, Asian Female Pastors, Deborah, Women in the Bible, Feminism, Qualitative Research, and Case Study

A Grounded Theory Approach: Conceptions of Understanding in Engineering Mathematics Learning (pp. 1459-1488)
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Henry Khiat

Abstract: Mathematics is of utmost importance in engineering courses but studies on engineering students' conceptions of understanding in mathematics learning are found lacking in the literature. Therefore, this research attempts to address the above issue by answering the research question: "What are engineering students' conceptions of understanding in mathematics learning?" It employs the grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1998) and data are collected from in depth interviews with a total of 21 students and six lecturers. The substantive theory of engineering mathematics understanding (comprising of conceptual, functional, procedural, disciplinary and associational understanding) emerges in this study. The emergence of functional, disciplinary and associational understanding is unique in the context of engineering mathematics learning and has implications on successful engineering problem solving. Key Words: Engineering Mathematics, Conceptual Understanding, Functional Understanding, Procedural Understanding, Disciplinary Understanding, Associational Understanding, and Grounded Theory

Career Motivation in Newly Licensed Registered Nurses: What Makes Them Remain (pp. 1489-1503)
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Zarata Mann Banks and Jessica H. Bailey

Abstract: Despite vast research on newly licensed registered nurses (RNs), we don't know why some newly licensed registered nurses remain in their current jobs and others leave the nursing profession early in their career. Job satisfaction, the most significant factor emerging from the literature, plays a significant role in nurses' decisions to remain in their current jobs. This study examined the lived experiences of newly licensed registered nurses early in their careers. The researcher interviewed 14 newly licensed registered nurses to ask why they chose nursing as a profession and to determine factors that would influence their choice to stay in nursing as a career. Data were collected from newly licensed registered nurses through in-depth, face-to-face interviews, using a semi-structured interview guide developed by the researcher. Data analysis identified the emerging themes of altruism, self-fulfillment, challenging career, and the influence of role models as determining factors for nurses staying in the field. Findings suggest that those in positions of healthcare management should consider how they can create a workplace environment that provides newly licensed registered nurses the opportunity to fulfill these employment expectations. Key Words: Newly Licensed Registered Nurses, Career Choice, Motivation, Retention, and Qualitative Research

A Data-Driven Conceptualization of Teacher Evaluation (pp. 1504-1522)
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Seyyed Ali Ostovar Namaghi

Abstract: Research perspectives on teacher evaluation present evaluators with a set of possible acts. Local evaluation systems, on the other hand, specify a permissible set of acts from the total universe. The acts specified within a given locality act as conditions for teacher action. Using the sampling and analytical procedures of grounded theory, this study aims at exploring how evaluation of teaching performance in universities of Iran conditions practitioners' action (conditions), what teachers do in the face of these conditions (action), and the effect these conditions and actions have on practitioners' professional life (consequences). The findings will be useful for stakeholders since they show the other side of the teacher evaluation coin: one side being the research perspectives while the other being practitioners' perspectives. Key Words: Teacher Evaluation, Teachers' Perspectives, Grounded Theory, and Local Evaluation Systems

Asian International Student Transition to High School in Canada (pp. 1523-1548)
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Natalee Popadiuk

Abstract: There is a paucity of studies conducted with unaccompanied adolescent international students. In this qualitative inquiry, I present a thematic analysis of the critical incidents that Chinese, Japanese, and Korean participants reported as either facilitating or hindering to their transition to Canada. Using the Critical Incident Technique, I conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 participants aged 15 to 18 years who were attending three public secondary schools in Vancouver, Canada. I present the findings of seven thematic categories: making decisions, experiencing dilemmas, receiving advice, receiving help, impressed with environment, experiencing local annoyances, and participation in activities. Finally, I address the implications for school counsellors who work with these students, the limitations of this study, and directions for future research. Key Words: Adolescent International Students, Unaccompanied Minors, Asian Students, Sojourners, High School Students, Cross-Cultural Counselling, Cultural Transition and Adjustment, Qualitative Research, and Critical Incident Technique

Methodology in Seeking Stakeholder Perceptions of Effective Technical Oral Presentations: An Exploratory Pilot Study (pp. 1549-1568)
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Ena Bhattacharyya, Arun Patil, and Rajeswary Appacutty Sargunan

Abstract: Engineering communication studies indicate the importance of oral presentations as an indispensable component of workplace oral communication activities; however, since there is limited literature regarding stakeholder perceptions of effective presentation skills and attributes in technical oral presentations or final year engineering project presentations, the authors conducted a mixed method to seek the perceptions of selected members of the academic and professional engineering community involved in technical oral presentations regarding effective presentation skills and attributes required in these technical oral presentations. The paper describes the quantitative and qualitative research methods employed to seek participant feedback involved in the study. Key Words: Technical Oral Presentation, Communication Skills, Academic Community, Professional Engineering Community, and Research Methodology

Heuristic Inquiry: A Personal Journey of Acculturation and Identity Reconstruction (pp. 1569-1593)
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Ivana Djuraskovic and Nancy Arthur

Abstract: Heuristic methodology attempts to discover the nature and meaning of phenomenon through internal self-search, exploration, and discovery. Heuristic methodology encourages the researcher to explore and pursue the creative journey that begins inside one's being and ultimately uncovers its direction and meaning through internal discovery (Douglass & Moustakas, 1985). The purpose of this paper is to familiarize readers with using heuristic methodology in research. I (Ivana) share my personal notes of how I decided to use heuristic methodology in my research. In the discussion, I address the nature of heuristic methodology, including its limitations. Finally, I present excerpts from a creative synthesis in the form of three letters to illuminate the final self-reflections about the results of my research. Key Words: Heuristic Inquiry, Acculturation, Ethnic Identity, and Qualitative Research


Observing the Observer: Understanding Our Selves in Field Research (pp. 1594-1596)
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Michelle A. Manley

Abstract: In Observing the Observer, Shulamit Reinharz (2011) provides students and the novice researcher with an insightful and descriptive framework in which to understand the theoretical underpinning of ethnographical studies. The author presents an outline for comprehending unidentified and identified characteristics of the researcher in the fieldwork setting, making the self an essential tool of fieldwork. Key Words: Participant Observation, Field Research, Field Notes, Fieldwork, and Observer

Arts-Based Research in Education: A Review (pp. 1597-1601)
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Pamela Smithbell

Abstract: What is the difference between research that uses art, research about art, and research through art? Is arts-based educational research (ABER) a method or medium? What does arts-based research look like? How is it used and evaluated? Editors Cahnmann-Taylor and Siegesmund recruited an arresting array of contributors: paradigmatic pioneers, noted artist-scholars, as well as newcomers to the field. This volume condenses the history, unique features, social contributions, and controversy into a readable, scholarly, and practical text. Each artist-researcher develops a chapter comprised of multiple elements: biography, explanation of intent, critique, photos and open-ended questions. True to ABER epistemology, these contributors cultivate more questions than answers. Key Words: Arts-based Research, Qualitative Research, and Education

Qualitative Health Research - A Beginner's Guide (pp. 1602-1605)
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Feroza Sircar-Ramsewak

Abstract: Qualitative Research in Health: An Introduction by Carol Grbich is a research text for beginners in qualitative health research. Grbich explicitly and simply introduces the new researcher to the theoretical issues, concepts, methodologies, processes, techniques, approaches, and debates in qualitative research, with a specific focus on the health sciences. Her easily-readable text gives new researchers an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each qualitative method. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Health, and Qualitative Methods

A Critique of Four Grounded Theory Texts (pp. 1606-1620)
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Lise M. Allen

Abstract: This article is a review of Discovery of Grounded Theory by Glaser and Strauss, Basics of Qualitative Research by Strauss and Corbin, Constructing Grounded Theory by Charmaz, and Situational Analysis by Clarke across six categories, including the authors' purposes, structure of the books, practical applications of the books' methods, how the authors approach theory and data emergence, how the authors judge grounded theory research and finally, if the authors have achieved their purposes. For the most part, I found that all books accomplished their purposes. Discovery was weak in practical applications but strong on logical arguments for the usage of grounded theory. Basics contained many practical tools but some of the techniques discussed forced data into certain categories. Constructing was written in a very clear, easy-to-follow format that novices might find useful. Situational contained many tools, but with a focus on situations rather than actors. Key Words: Grounded Theory, Book Review, Glaser, Strauss, Corbin, Charmaz, and Clarke

A Practical Approach to Qualitative Interviews (pp. 1621-1623)
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Patrice R. LeBlanc

Abstract: Nigel King and Christine Horrocks (2010) provide a functional discussion of multiple topics related to interviewing in their book, Interviews in Qualitative Research. However, the authors present more than just a useful discussion of how to design, conduct, and analyze interviews. They simultaneously introduce the importance of philosophical approaches and ethics in relation to the topics discussed, making connections between these important notions and the qualitative research process they describe. Their practical approach to the topics presented makes their book a wonderful resource for novice researchers. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Interviews, Philosophical Approaches, and Ethics

Applied Interpretation: A Review of Interpretive Description by Sally Thorne (pp. 1624-1628)
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Sally St. George

Abstract: In this book review I focus on the connections between the concepts, applied and interpretive, in conjunction with Sally's Thorne's (2008) emphasis on using interpretive qualitative research to answer the questions that practitioners encounter in their work. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Applied, Interpretive, and Description

How-To Essays

Using Focus Groups in Preliminary Instrument Development: Expected and Unexpected Lessons Learned (pp. 1629-1642)
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Sylvia C. Nassar-McMillan, Mary Wyer, Maria Oliver-Hoyo, and Amy Ryder-Burge

Abstract: Focus groups can be utilized effectively across various stages of instrument development. This article details selected aspects of a process in which they were employed at the initial stages of item generation and refinement in a study of occupational stereotyping. The process yielded rich contextual information about the worldview and corresponding terminology of participants. In addition, the use of a tool developed and previously employed as an approach to clinical case notes (i.e., SOAP notes), produced surprising benefits in documenting the focus group data. The purpose of this paper is to describe this process and highlight the insights that emerged. The process and outcomes have methodological implications for qualitative researchers conducting focus groups as well as for those developing new surveys, scales, and measurements. Key Words: Focus Groups, STEM, Occupational Stereotyping, Item Development, and SOAP Notes

How to Read and Review a Book like a Qualitative Researcher (pp. 1643-1650)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: Reading a book with the intention of composing a review demands certain skills on the part of the reader that may differ when the goal of the read is for pleasure or scholarship. To help these reviewing readers to produce creative and useful review, the employment of qualitative research perspectives and procedures is suggested for reading books in a systematic matter leading to reviews that not only share the contents of the texts, but also transform the meaning of the texts producing new insights for the texts' authors and readers alike. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Book Reviews, and Reading

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