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

Volume 16 Number 4 July 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, Ph.D., Managing Editor | Laura Patron, Production Editor | Adam Rosenthal, TQR Web Site Coordinator

ISSN 1052-0147

Table of Contents


From Qualitative Data to Instrument Development: The Women's Breast Conflict Scale (pp. 908-932)
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Eileen Thomas

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to describe the initial development of the Women's Breast Conflict Scale, a predictive instrument designed to identify women who may be least likely to follow recommended mammography screening guidelines. This new instrument incorporates self/body image, teasing, family norms and values, and societal/media influence - themes identified from three qualitative studies and five years of qualitative data collection. The themes aided in the development of a conceptual model (Breast Conflict), which provided the framework for this instrument. A description of the traditional steps involved in instrument development is provided to aid qualitative researchers in the development of meaningful instruments that incorporate the human experience as perceived by the people for whom the instrument is designed. Key Words: Instrument Development, Mammography Screening, and Qualitative Data

Self Image and Physical Education- A Phenomenological Study (pp. 933-948)
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Renée Perrin-Wallqvist and Eva Segolsson Carlsson

Abstract: In this study our aim was to investigate (a) how the awareness of one's self-image reveals itself as a phenomenon, and (b) if self-image is influenced by physical education in a social context with teachers and pupils. Six pupils, aged 15 and 16 years, attending compulsory school were interviewed with the use of an empirical phenomenological psychological method. The Empirical Phenomenological Psychological (EPP) analysis of the interviews resulted in two main themes in terms of self-concepts: self-image as self-contemplation and the factors of influence upon a pupil's self-image in physical education each with three subthemes. We end with a discussion about the different aspects on the noetic and the noematic perspectives on self-image and self-contemplation.Key Words: Phenomenology, Physical Education, Self-Image, Self-Contemplation, Verbal, and Non-Verbal Communication

Modifying the Body: Canadian Men's Perspectives on Appearance and Cosmetic Surgery (pp. 949-970)
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Rosemary Ricciardelli and Philip White

Abstract: In postmodern scholarship there has been a temporal shift to thinking of the body as malleable rather than fixed, which has opened space for the remaking of the self via the remaking of the body (Featherstone, 1991; Giddens, 1991). Among men, this process is thought to interact with shifting understandings of masculinity. In this study, 14 interviews were conducted to investigate experiences of masculinity, physical appearance and cosmetic surgery among Canadian men who had undergone or were contemplating cosmetic surgery. Responses suggest that bodily presentations and experiences of masculinity continue to influence how people feel about themselves and their perspective toward cosmetic surgery. Findings are discussed in relation to contemporary constructions of masculinity, body, and identity. Key Words: Body Modification, Appearance, Cosmetic Surgery, Masculinity, Risk Theory, and Grounded Theory

Doctoral Students' Conceptions of Research (pp. 971-983)
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Rod Pitcher

Abstract: In this paper I report a study of the conceptions of research held by a sample of doctoral students at an Australian research-intensive university. I take a unique approach by using metaphor analysis to study the students' conceptions. The students in this study were recruited for an on-line survey in which they answered questions relating to their conceptions of research. I arrived at four categories that I have labelled research is explorative, research is constructive, research is spatial, and research is organic. Key Words: PhD Students, Conceptions, Metaphors, Metaphor Analysis

Methodological and Ethical Dilemmas Encountered During Field Research of Family Violence Experienced by Adolescent Women in Buenos Aires (pp. 984-1000)
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Natalia Luxardo, Graciela Colombo, and Gabriela Iglesias

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to examine some obstacles and dilemmas related to methodological strategies and ethical considerations that arose during the fieldwork of research focused on family violence during the stages of pregnancy and childbirth in adolescent females in Buenos Aires during 2007. From this study, we are able to contribute some reflections in the arena of qualitative and mixed methods inquiries. Some of the problematic topics encountered were: institutional constraints, questionnaires with categories too abstract for the target population, lack of interest in participating, orthodox methods that did not work in the field and ethical protocols that only focused on informed consent. We conclude that optimizing a research endeavor is affected by the emergent components of fieldwork, and the reformulation and incorporation of new techniques of data collection should be suitable to the specific requirements of the population under study. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Methodology, Ethics, Violence, and Adolescent

Collecting International Merchant Seafarer Oral Histories: Experiences and Reflections (pp. 1001-1017)
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Tom Matyók

Abstract: Investigating highly mobile labor populations presents researchers with unique challenges and opportunities. In this paper, I share my experiences and reflections in collecting international merchant seafarers' oral histories and propose to move the dialogue forward regarding the use of hybrid qualitative research practices. Seafarers are constantly moving, at sea and in port, and traditional research methodologies are inadequate in determining the nature of modern-day seafaring. I suggest how qualitative research methods must be flexible enough to accommodate researchers' needs in a chaotic global milieu. Investigators researching highly mobile labor populations, as well as mobile immigrant and refugee communities, can gain insights into the challenges and methods available for meeting those challenges.Key Words: Migrant Labor, Oral Histories, Interviewing, Qualitative Research Methods, and Globalization

Visualizing the Intersection of the Personal and the Social Context - The Use of Multi-layered Chronological Charts in Biographical Studies (pp. 1018-1033)
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Patrick T. Hiller

Abstract: This paper outlines the theoretical reasoning and technical implementation of a particular approach to creating multi-layered chronological charts in qualitative biographical studies. The discussed method elucidates the interpretation of traditional life chronologies where the individual's "objective" life facts are reconstructed free from analysis. The novelty of multi-layered chronological charts lies in their ability to enrich the visualization of a temporal connection between personal and social contextual factors based on categories determined by the researcher. In doing so, such charts make existing interview data more accessible and processable. In-depth, thematic data analysis can be supported through the visualization of prominent life aspects or the presentation of integrative perspectives of individuals' lives. Case examples are presented to demonstrate how methodological and theoretical objectives are fulfilled through the customized use of genealogy software. Based on the underlying research problem, multi-layered biographical charts can be customized for different research purposes and connected to an array of complex linkage systems. Key Words: Biography, Biographical Chart, Chronology, Genealogy Software, Life History, and Visualization

Understanding a Pakistani Science Teacher's Practice Through a Life History Study (pp. 1034-1062)
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Nelofer Halai

Abstract: The purpose of the single case life history study was to understand a female science teacher's conceptions of the nature of science as explicit in her practice. While this paper highlights these understandings, an additional purpose is to give a detailed account of the process of creating a life history account through more than 13 in-depth interviews. It includes a discussion of what the author calls composite observations where the observations of the teacher and the researcher are presented as a single unified story. Also discussed are ethical issues specific to life history created due to the intimacy created by such a study that required the development of a great deal of trust and rapport. Key Words: Life History, Nature of Science, Teaching and Learning in Science, and Single Case Study

Philosophical Roots of Classical Grounded Theory: Its Foundations in Symbolic Interactionism (pp. 1063-1080)
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Khaldoun M. Aldiabat and Carole-Lynne Le Navenec

Abstract:Although many researchers have discussed the historical relationship between the Grounded Theory methodology and Symbolic Interactionism, they have not clearly articulated the congruency of their salient concepts and assumptions. The purpose of this paper is to provide a thorough discussion of this congruency. A hypothetical example about smoking among college students is included in this paper to illustrate this relationship. This paper will be useful for qualitative researchers who seek a fuller understanding of how the assumptions and concepts provided by Symbolic Interactionism can inform the researcher who adopts a Grounded Theory methodology to investigate human behaviour. The relevance of this congruency for nursing researchers is discussed. Key Words: Symbolic Interactionism, Grounded Theory, Philosophical Congruency, and Nursing Research

Insights into Attempts at Using Action Research in a Collaborative Work in a Policy Review Exercise in Botswana (pp. 1081-1095)
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Anthony Tsatsing Koosimile

Abstract:In this paper I embrace the thinking that writing on one's experiences in the use of qualitative educational research strategies and principles could potentially contribute to furthering knowledge in the field. In adopting an action research framework to guide collaborative work in a policy review exercise in Botswana, I found that collaborative work is itself a challenge. Similarly, given the political nature of policy formulation, significant effort and attention is required to facilitate broader reflection and debate on the adoption and use of qualitative research strategies in policy matters in Botswana. Generally my experience suggests that the strictures of underlying political life could be a powerful framework that profoundly shapes and constrains the perspectives and choices in policy review. I conclude with some statements concerning some lessons learnt during the policy review exercise. Key Words:Action Research, Collaborative Work, Teaching Practice Internship, University of Botswana, Policy Review, Lessons Learnt

Interpreting Community Accountability: Citizen Views of Responding to Domestic Violence (or Not) (pp. 1096-1123)
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Jacob Z. Hess, Nicole E. Allen, and Nathan R. Todd

Abstract: In spite of common public condemnations of domestic violence, survey research suggests that citizens aware of actual abuse often believe they cannot or should not personally respond. Through in-depth interviews with 20 local citizens across the political spectrum, we sought to explore this dynamic more carefully by better understanding community interpretations of domestic violence and its appropriate response. This paper explores ten specific views identified in these interviews as potentially relevant to citizen action (or inaction) in response to known abuse. After examining subtle consequences of each belief, we explore broader implications for community mobilization and propose several ways of facilitating a more thoughtful and extensive deliberation about domestic violence among the general public. Key Words: Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Community Accountability, Hermeneutic Philosophy, Qualitative Research

Science Instructors' Views of Science and Nature of Science (pp. 1124-1159)
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Mehmet Karakas

Abstract: This qualitative study examined how college science faculty who teach introductory level undergraduate science courses including the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, and earth science, understand and define science and nature of science (NOS). Participants were seventeen science instructors from five different institutions in the northeastern U.S. and all of them were interviewed. Consistent with previous research, the findings revealed that the participants in this study held sophisticated and complex conceptions of NOS. In some instances their views were in line with the views promoted by science philosophers, and in other instances their views were more mixed and naive. Findings show that engaging in scientific inquiry is not enough to ensure informed conceptions of NOS.Key Words: Science Education, College Science Teaching, Nature of Science, Qualitative Research

How-To Essays

Online Dynamic Asynchronous Audit Strategy for Reflexivity in the Qualitative Paradigm (pp. 1160-1171)
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Frank LaBanca

Abstract: The trustworthiness of a qualitative study can be increased by maintaining high credibility and objectivity. Of utmost importance to these factors is the reflexivity of the researcher. Standard journaling techniques are frequently used to maintain an audit trail and document tentative interpretations of a study. One of the major limitations to paper-based reflexivity is the lack of regular audit feedback. Online blogging tools can facilitate reflexivity and subsequent auditing with ease. Blogs are potentially cost-free, and only a rudimentary understanding of a web browser and word processing program are necessary for effective use. Moreover, blogs provide a simple, contiguous interface for an effective auditing process. An analysis of a reflexivity blog and subsequent audits is examined here. Findings indicate that the multiple perspectives of the auditors gave additional insights and that might not normally be considered by a researcher, providing a multi-arrayed perspective to interpretation of a study data set. Key Words:Reflexivity, Blog, Data Audit, Qualitative Inquiry, and Case Study

How to Conduct Qualitative Research on the Patient's Experience (pp. 1172-1189)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: From a perspective of patient-centered healthcare, exploring patients' (a) preconceptions, (b) treatment experiences, (c) quality of life, (d) satisfaction, (e) illness understandings, and (f) design are all critical components in improving primary health care and research. Utilizing qualitative approaches to discover patients' experiences can provide valuable information for practitioners and investigators alike. In this paper, the author describes how researchers can select from among five major qualitative designs (i.e., primary qualitative research, qualitative evaluation, collaborative inquiry, mixed method, and qualitative meta-study) and five preeminent qualitative methodologies (i.e., descriptive, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and narrative) to create studies to meet their patient-centered research needs. Key Words: Patient Experience, Qualitative Research, Research Design, Patient-Centered Healthcare

Book Reviews

A Review of Qualitative Research: Studying How Things Work (pp. 1190-1194)
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Kristen Chorba

Abstract: Qualitative Research: Studying How Things Work by Robert E. Stake reviews the processes, procedures, concepts, and assumptions of qualitative research in a way that encourages the reader to consider multiple elements of the design, implementation, and reporting of a study. This book is appropriate for a wide range of qualitative and mixed-methods researchers, including those who are just beginning and those who have moved beyond the basics and are working on their own studies. Stake's clear and conversational style makes this book easy to understand and apply to one's own work, but the text will challenge readers to take their reasoning about and understanding of qualitative research beyond an introductory level. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Qualitative Research Design, Dissertation Proposal, Interpretation

The Sense and Sensibility of Qualitative Research (pp. 1195-1201)
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Bernard Smith

Abstract: David Silverman's new edition of Qualitative Research addresses how to engage in qualitative research with increased sensibility. The book is divided into seven sections with 23 chapters written by premier researchers. The chapters are written for students rather than the writers' peers, and while every chapter makes extensive use of the authors' fieldwork and data, John Heritage's chapter on conversational analysis (CA) stands out because he demonstrates to the reader how he made sense of a recurring piece of talk he calls an "oh-prefaced response." The papers are clearly written with helpful summaries and suggested further readings and online resources. Less helpful are the questions posed at the end of each chapter. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Practices, Ethics, Theory, and Methods

A Revolutionary Collage of Same Sex Attraction Stories (pp. 1202-1206)
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marcela polanco

Abstract: Tony E. Adams' (2011) book presents what could be considered a revolutionary, humanizing understanding of same-sex attraction. This is accomplished by providing a relational understanding of "the closet" and experiences of coming into, living in, and coming out of the closet. It is a production of significant social relevance, denouncing the marginalizing effects of the domains of heteronormativity. While highly scholarly, his evocative storytelling makes this book accessible to an interested reader regardless of his or her degree or area of specialization. Key Words: Autoethnography, Same-Sex Attraction, Relational Perspectives.

Resilience of Gendered Spheres in Translational Migration: A Comparison of Two Cultures (pp. 1207-1213)
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Jose Luis Calderon

Abstract: Sheba George's ethnographic study used participant-observation methods, purposive sampling, and an insider's transnational journey to examine changes in family and social roles that result when nurses from Kerala, India, immigrate to the United States ahead of their husbands. The author concludes that the economic and political gain immigration affords nurses does not translate into enhanced social status for their family in India nor for their husbands in the U.S. when they undergo a gender role transferal from primary breadwinner to homemaker whilst their wives pursue their nursing careers. In a key observation, the author emphasizes that this role transferal also caused shifts in gender structure within the U.S. Kerali community. The purpose of this paper is to offer a review of George's examination of resilience of patriarchal cultural mores and gender roles of Kerali "nurse husbands" in the U.S. and to cross-culturally compare their resilience to that of Puerto Rican men who were born and raised in Puerto Rico before migrating to the US mainland. This comparison is born of George's experience as a first-generation Kerali American and that of this reviewer as a first-generation Puerto Rican American. Key Words: Participant Observation, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Transnational Migration, Patriarchal Cultural Mores.

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