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

Volume 16 Number 1 January 2011
    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


Embracing the Visual: Using Timelines with In-depth Interviews on Substance Use and Treatment (pp. 1-9)
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Lynda Berends

Abstract: People typically seek treatment for addiction only when faced with a major crisis. Understanding the trajectory of substance use and treatment seeking may assist in identifying points for intervention. In this study I explored the use of visual methods with in-depth interviews to represent people's substance use, critical events, and treatment pathways. Ethics approval was granted with the condition that only aggregate findings would be presented, although occasional quotes could be used for illustration. Typical timelines were developed, along with text vignettes describing hypothetical participants whose experience matched that shown in these timelines. Benefits of the timelines include the combination of aural and visual data, along with the concise and holistic form of presentation. However, the use of typical timelines and hypothetical vignettes meant a loss of the richness found in individual portrayals of experience. Alternative approaches, such as the use of individual and summary timelines with text illustrations would preserve the conciseness of representation while enabling the voice of the participant to be heard. Key Words: Alcohol and Drugs, Addiction, Visual Methods, and Lifelines

Culture for Sale? An Exploratory Study of the Crow Fair (pp. 10-37)
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Thomas D. Bordelon, Marie Opatrny, Wendy G. Turner, and Steven D. Williams

Abstract: This paper describes an ethnographically-oriented participant-observation study conducted during the annual Crow Fair, held in south central Montana. Data collected included audio-recorded interviews with participants, participant observations, photographic and video recordings. Narrative interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the constant comparison method. Multiple data sources improved the veracity of this study through triangulation, and four themes emerged from the data: commercialization, alcohol abuse, spirituality, and community. The researchers discuss these themes and their conclusions regarding the "selling" of Native American culture as a form of cultural transmission. Theme analysis revealed the researchers recognized that the principal researcher had changed his view of the Crow Fair as being frivolous to having a deeper purpose and meaning to participants. Key Words: Native Americans, Crow Tribe, Culture, Commercialization, Qualitative Research, Ethnography, and Grounded Theory

Risk of Nursing Home Admittance among Working Age Residents with Mental Illness (pp. 38-65)
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Stephanie Jones Bernard

Abstract: The number of working age (18-64) nursing home (NH) residents with a mental diagnosis at admission rose from 70,600 in 1997 to 97,200 in 1999 (Jones, 2002). Utilizing the Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations (Gelberg, Andersen, & Leak, 2000), I examined factors associated with NH admittance in a sample of working age residents with mental illness. I conducted a qualitative analysis of 20 residents' healthcare and social experiences leading to NH admittance. Data came from semi-structured interviews, medical records, and clinicians. Results showed that homelessness, drug abuse, and low functional status were perceived by residents to play a role in their admittance. Overall, participants associated disadvantaged social and healthcare experiences with current NH admittance. Key Words: Nursing Home Admittance, Mental Illness, Drug Abuse, and Homelessness

Comprehensive Treatment of Women with Postpartum Psychosis across Health Care Systems from Swedish Psychiatrists' Perspectives (pp. 66-83)
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Inger Engqvist, Arne Åhlin, Ginette Ferszt, and Kerstin Nilsson

Abstract: Studies concerning the psychiatrist's experiences of treating women with postpartum psychosis (PPP) or how they react to these women are limited in the literature. In this study a qualitative design is used. Data collection includes semi-structured interviews with nine Swedish psychiatrists working in psychiatric hospitals. The audio-taped interviews are transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis. The findings consist of the categories: Protection, Treatment, Care, and Reactions. The psychiatrists describe emotions such as compassion, empathy and distress. A conclusion is that the psychiatrists focus on protecting the women from suicide and/or infanticide. Given the degree of stress the psychiatrists can experience caring for high risk challenging patients, health care organizations need to provide support and/or opportunities for peer supervision. Key Words: Psychiatrists, Postpartum Psychosis, Puerperal Psychosis, and Content Analysis

Female Drug Offenders Reflect on their Experiences with a County Drug Court Program (pp. 84-102)
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James C. Roberts and Loreen Wolfer

Abstract: This paper examines the experiences of a group of female drug offenders who successfully completed a county drug court program in northeast Pennsylvania. Using the constant comparative method, we analyzed interviews with these women for thematic patterns in order to provide an evaluation of this program based on participants' subjective perceptions of its strengths and weaknesses. While other drug court evaluations identify rewards for good behavior and compassionate program staff as important contributing factors to participants' success, women in this study credited their recovery and successful completion of the program primarily to fear of punishment and program structure. Our analysis also revealed patterns of improved self-images, improved physical and mental health, improved coping mechanisms, and improved interpersonal relationships. We end the paper with a discussion of implications for future research. Key Words: Drug Court, Female Drug Offenders, Constant Comparative Method, and Appreciative Inquiry

Anxiety, Knowledge and Help: A Model for How Black and White College Students Search for HIV/AIDS Information on the Internet (pp. 103-125)
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Kim Smith

Abstract: Using the "think aloud" protocol, which allows for the collection of data in real time, the researcher audio taped comments from 13 white college students from a predominately white university in the Southeastern United States and 15 black students from a predominately black university, as they explained how they searched for HIV/AIDS information on the Internet. A grounded theory analysis of the tapes revealed a three-stage model that students progressed through as they searched for HIV/AIDS information on the Internet. That model also revealed that all of the white students searched for general information about HIV/AIDS on the Internet, while all black students searched for general and specific information about how the disease affected the African-American community. Eighty percent of students regardless of race did not know how to properly search for online health information. The researcher discusses the need for online health information literacy training, the theories that might explain why black students searched the way that they did, and the challenges to providing culturally-sensitive online health information literacy training for African-Americans who have been historically suspicious of the United State's health care system. Key Words: Online Health Information Literacy, Grounded Theory, Think Alouds, Online Information Seeking Behavior, and Culturally-Sensitive Online Health Information Literacy Training

Teaching Qualitative Research for Human Services Students: A Three-Phase Model (pp. 126-146)
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Ruhama Goussinsky, Arie Reshef, Galit Yanay-Ventura, and Dalit Yassour-Borochowitz

Abstract: Qualitative research is an inherent part of the human services profession, since it emphasizes the great and multifaceted complexity characterizing human experience and the sociocultural context in which humans act. In the department of human services at Emek Yezreel College, Israel, we have developed a three-phase model to ensure a relatively intense exposure to and practice in qualitative methodology. While in the first phase students are exposed to the qualitative thinking and writing, they are required in the second phase to take a Qualitative Research Methods course that includes practice. The third and final phase includes conducting a qualitative research seminar. The aim of the present article is to shed light on the dilemmas involved in implementing the three-phase model. Key Words: Qualitative Methods, Higher Education, and Human Services

Career Paths, Images and Anchors: A Study with Brazilian Professionals (pp. 147-161)
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Zélia Miranda Kilimnik, Anderson De Souza Sant'anna, Luiz Claudio Vieira De Oliveira, and Delba Teixeira Rodrigues Barros

Abstract: This article analyses career anchors changes associated to images and professionals trajectories. Its main question: Do anchors careers change through time? We conducted twelve interviews involving professionals from the Administration Area, applying Schein's Career Anchors Inventory (1993). We did the same two years later. In both of them, the Lifestyle anchor was the most found, reflecting the need of a balance between family life and work. It was observed that the main anchors tend to remain as such, but in some cases, it is possible to observe changes which are associated to career transitions. The reapplication of the Inventory supports the use of this tool mainly due the relative stability founded in the career anchors, in different moments. Key Words: Career, Models, Transitions, Trajectories, Anchors, and Images

Work Experiences of People with Mental Illness in Malaysia: A Preliminary Qualitative Study (pp. 162-179)
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Su-Lyn Boo, Jaymee Loong, and Wai-Sheng Ng

Abstract: This is a preliminary qualitative study, using a basic interpretive approach, to investigate the work experiences of people with mental illness in Malaysia. Six females and four males (aged 30-70) from a residential home for the mentally ill participated in semi-structured interviews. Three inter-relating themes emerged, namely the experience of self at work, perception of work, and experience of others at work. All participants reported problems in either work or family relationships; most of which interfered with their work. In addition, findings suggest that the participants' self experience may be related to the extent of one's illness integration, experience of psychosis, attitude towards illness, locus of control, and self-efficacy. Limitations and implications of the study are also discussed. Key Words: Work Experience, Mental Illness, Mental Health, and Qualitative Research

Mandatory Identification Bar Checks: How Bouncers Are Doing Their Job (pp. 180-191)
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Elizabeth Monk-Turner, John Allen, John Casten, Catherine Cowling, Charles Gray, David Guhr, Kara Hoofnagle, Jessica Huffman, Moises Mina, and Brian Moore

Abstract: The behavior of bouncers at on site establishments that served alcohol was observed. Our aim was to better understand how bouncers went about their job when the bar had a mandatory policy to check identification of all customers. Utilizing an ethnographic decision model, we found that bouncers were significantly more likely to card customers that were more casually dressed than others, those who were in their 30s, and those in mixed racial groups. We posit that bouncers who failed to ask for identification did so because they appeared to know customers, they appeared to be of age, or they took a break and no one was checking for identification at the door. We found that bouncers presented a commanding presence by their dress and demeanor. Bouncers, we posit, function in three primary roles: customer relations, state law management, and establishment rule enforcer. Key Words: Bouncers, Bars, and Identification Checks

The Lived Experience of Late-Stage Doctoral Student Attrition in Counselor Education (pp. 192-207)
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Brad Willis and Karla D. Carmichael

Abstract: Doctoral student attrition occurs across academic disciplines and presents problems for noncompleting students and the programs from which they withdraw. The following research question guided the present study, "What is the experience of doctoral attrition in counselor education?" Six late-stage doctoral noncompleters from counselor education programs participated in research interviews that were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results showed two distinct types of attrition. Five participants reported a negative experience of encountering barriers that acted against the internal desire of the participants to obtain the doctorate. One participant reported a positive experience of an internal change that altered the priority of continuing in doctoral study. Results of the present study have implications for prospective and current doctoral students. Key Words: Counselor Education, Doctoral Student Attrition, and Grounded Theory

The QUIPPED Project: Exploring Relevance and Rigor of Action Research Using Established Principles and Criteria (pp. 208-228)
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Christine Chapman, Margo Paterson, and Jennifer M. Medves

Abstract: This paper is the last in a series of three manuscripts published in the TQR journal over the past few years. This work is part of a larger program of research that has been carried out by a team of researchers detailing various aspects of a three year action research project carried out from 2005 and 2008. This particular paper addresses issues of quality in action research by critiquing our research against five interdependent principles and criteria raised in the literature specifically by Davison, Martinson and Kock which was published in 2004. Our action research project aimed to facilitate interprofessional education for health care learners in the Faculty of Health Sciences at a Canadian University. Key Words: Interprofessional Education and Action Research

How-To Essays

YouTube as a Qualitative Research Asset: Reviewing User Generated Videos as Learning Resources (pp. 229-235)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: YouTube, the video hosting service, offers students, teachers, and practitioners of qualitative researchers a unique reservoir of video clips introducing basic qualitative research concepts, sharing qualitative data from interviews and field observations, and presenting completed research studies. This web-based site also affords qualitative researchers the potential avenue to share their reusable learning resources for all interested parties to use. Key Words: YouTube, User Generated Content, Web 2.0, Qualitative Research, and Learning Objects

Learning to Appraise the Quality of Qualitative Research Articles: A Contextualized Learning Object for Constructing Knowledge (pp. 236-248)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: Helping beginning qualitative researchers critically appraise qualitative research articles is a common learning objective for introductory methodology courses. To aid students in achieving competency in appraising the quality of qualitative research articles, a multi-part activity incorporating the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme's (CASP) Making Sense of Evidence Tool: 10 Questions to Help You Make Sense of Qualitative Research to evaluate the articles is shared. A Contextualized Learning Object for Constructing Knowledge or CLOCK approach is used to represent the appraising activity in terms of its context, content, evaluation components, exemplary outcomes, and options for customizing parts of the assignment. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Learning Objects, Contextualized Learning Object for Constructing Knowledge, CASP, Appraising

Qualitative Researchers in the Blogosphere: Using Blogs as Diaries and Data (pp. 249-254)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: Weblogs or blogs can provide qualitative researchers with a medium for expressing their thoughts and opinions on qualitative research methods and products as well as serving as the source of data for qualitative studies. Present examples serve as exemplary guides to the potential value of this virtual communication application. Key Words: Blog, Blogging, and Qualitative Research

Interviewing the Investigator: Strategies for Addressing Instrumentation and Researcher Bias Concerns in Qualitative Research (pp. 255-262)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: Instrumentation rigor and bias management are major challenges for qualitative researchers employing interviewing as a data generation method in their studies. A usual procedure for testing the quality of an interview protocol and for identifying potential researcher biases is the pilot study in which investigators try out their proposed methods to see if the planned procedures perform as envisioned by the researcher. Sometimes piloting is not practical or possible so an "interviewing the investigator" technique can serve as a useful first step to create interview protocols that help to generate the information proposed and to assess potential researcher biases especially if the investigator has a strong affinity for the participants being studied or is a member of the population itself. Key Words: Interviewing, Instrumentation, Researcher Bias, and Qualitative Research

Facilitating Coherence across Qualitative Research Papers (pp. 263-275)
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Ronald J. Chenail, Maureen Duffy, Sally St. George, and Dan Wulff

Abstract: Bringing the various elements of qualitative research papers into coherent textual patterns presents challenges for authors and editors alike. Although individual sections such as presentation of the problem, review of the literature, methodology, results, and discussion may each be constructed in a sound logical and structural sense, the alignment of these parts into a coherent mosaic may be lacking in many qualitative research manuscripts. In this paper, four editors of The Qualitative Report present how they collaborate with authors to facilitate improvement papers' coherence in such areas as co-relating title, abstract, and the paper proper; coordinating the method presented with method employed; and calibrating the exuberance of implications with the essence of the findings. The editors share exercises, templates, and exemplary articles they use to help mentor authors to create coherent texts. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Writing, and Coherence

Communicating Qualitative Analytical Results Following Grice's Conversational Maxims (pp. 276-285)
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Jan S. Chenail and Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: Conducting qualitative research can be seen as a developing communication act through which researchers engage in a variety of conversations. Articulating the results of qualitative data analysis results can be an especially challenging part of this scholarly discussion for qualitative researchers. To help guide investigators through this difficult communicative process, the authors suggest Grice's (1989) Conversational Maxims of Quantity, Quality, Relation, and Manner as general guidelines to follow when formulating and presenting findings in qualitative research products as well as basic assumptions to guide readers when judging the quality of result representations. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Qualitative Data Analysis, and Grice's Conversational Maxims

Face-to-Face in Writing: My First Attempt at Conducting a Text-based Online Focus Group (pp. 286-291)
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Steven R. Terrell

Abstract: Having completed graduate degrees in educational research and counseling, I have studied the theory of focus groups and participated in many while in a classroom setting. Interestingly, I had never moderated one until my first attempt in a text-based online environment. This paper describes my preparation for the session as well as the issues I faced while actually conducted the focus group. Readers will find that being prepared by establishing rapport with their group prior to the event, understanding the change of dynamics that distance brings to the process and handling the pressures of an expanded role as moderator, will help ensure a successful focus group session. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Focus Group, Online, and Distance Education

Utilizing Microsoft® Office to Produce and Present Recursive Frame Analysis Findings (pp. 292-307)
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Ronald J. Chenail and Maureen Duffy

Abstract: Although researchers conducting qualitative descriptive studies, ethnographies, phenomenologies, grounded theory, and narrative inquiries commonly use computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) to manage their projects and analyses, investigators conducting discursive methodologies such as discourse or conversation analysis seem to find such software packages not as useful. In our work with Recursive Frame Analysis (RFA), a systemic approach to the analysis of text and talk, we have taken a slightly different route by utilizing Microsoft® Office applications to produce and present our RFA findings. In the paper we describe RFA, explain how we use Word and PowerPoint to carry out RFA's semantic, sequential, and pragmatic analyses, and illustrate our work with some examples from a recent study. Key Words: Recursive Frame Analysis, Microsoft® Office, Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software, and Qualitative Research

How-To Data Collection Series: The Evolution of the Focused Discussion Group: From Non-Participant to One of the Crew (pp. 308-311)
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José Luis Calderón

Abstract: This article is part of The Weekly Qualitative Report's occasional series on "How-To Collect Qualitative Data." The qualitative data collection method described is that of focused discussion groups (FDG's). This method involves the moderator, or scripter as is the preferred term in focused discussion groups, to move beyond that of a non-participant data collector to that of an engaged participant-observer, observer-participant who is willing to get into the discussion with the participants and to provide accurate information to them while prodding them to discuss the topic in increasingly personally meaningful ways. Focused discussion groups are particularly helpful for working with marginalized, under-resourced populations around issues of health and poverty. Optimally, the scripter would share the sociocultural background of the participants. Key Words: Focused Discussion Groups, Focus Groups, Participant Observation, Health Information, and Marginalization

How I Learned to Conduct Focus Groups (pp. 312-315)
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Maribel Del Rio-Roberts

Abstract: The use of focus groups may provide researchers with important insights into research questions via participant discussion and interaction. As a human services practitioner and researcher, I became interested in learning how to conduct focus groups in order to apply these steps to my research and gain valuable insights about the human experience that the focus group interaction aims to bring to light. In this review, I will highlight the steps that I took to learn to conduct focus group research and through my experience I hope that readers gain familiarity and clarity into this unique qualitative research approach. Key Words: Key Words: Focus Groups, Qualitative Research, and How-to-Guide

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