Select SAGE journal articles
Selected journal articles have been provided to deepen your understanding of select topics. They are also an ideal rsource to support your literature reviews.
Each article is supported by key questions to help you reflect on what you have read.
Chapter 1: Qualitative Approaches for Research in a Data-Intensive World
- In the keynote address presented in this article, Professor Immy Holloway (2011) provided an overview of qualitative inquiry and the research process. Based on this overview, what are the most compelling reasons for choosing to conduct a study with qualitative methods?
- Looking at the section, ‘The Self and Others’ (p. 970), what are the positive characteristics of ‘personal involvement and the subjectivity of the researcher’ in qualitative studies? How might the situation of the online researcher compare and contrast with the circumstances described in this article?
- Tracy (2010) suggests that the first criterion for excellent qualitative research is a worthy topic. How might criteria for a worthy topic in online qualitative research compare and contrast with the descriptions offered in this article?
- Tracy (2010) states:
Meaningfully coherent studies: (a) achieve their stated purpose; (b) accomplish what they espouse to be about; (c) use methods and representation practices that partner well with espoused theories and paradigms; and (d) attentively interconnect literature reviewed with research foci, methods, and findings. (p. 848)
Building on the Qualitative eResearch Framework introduced in Chapter 1 and criteria outlined by Tracy (2010), describe additional factors which online researchers need to consider to design ‘meaningfully coherent studies’.
Chapter 2: Choosing Methodologies and Methods that Meet the Purpose of the Online Study
- Creswell et al. discuss the process which qualitative researchers can use to select, contrast, and implement five qualitative designs: narrative research, case studies, grounded theory, phenomenology, and participatory action research (PAR) (p. 237). While the article is focused on research in counseling psychology, the design principles can be applied to research in other fields. After reading the article, return to Table 1. Rewrite the questions in the ‘Illustration of Questions’ column with questions that apply to online research in your own field of study.
- Choose one of the five qualitative methodologies outlined in this article (narrative research, case studies, grounded theory, phenomenology, and participatory action research). Conduct a library search to find at least two published articles that use the selected methodology in a qualitative study. Compare and contrast the design decisions and approach to conducting the research with the ideas presented in the article by Creswell et al.
- Singh presents a step-by-step way to make decisions about meshing philosophy, methodology and methods. Critique Singh’s approach. What recommendations do you suggest to improve this approach? What lessons did you take away that you might use when designing a qualitative study?
- Singh aims to show readers a way to devise ‘a research approach by synthesizing from multiple perspectives and extending that synthesis to create knowledge’ (p. 132). Online researchers often need to synthesize conventional and emerging approaches into a coherent research design. What did you learn from Singh that you could use when drawing on multiple perspectives?
Chapter 3: Choosing Information & Communications Technologies that Fit the Research Design
- Advantages of Skype for interviews, according to Seitz, include saving travel time and money, conducting the interview in the participant’s own space, having more possibilities in terms of geographic access to participants, and creating less disruption in terms of scheduling and carrying out the interviews (p. 2). After reading Chapter 3, what other advantages can you identify for using videoconferencing tools to conduct research interviews?
- Seitz observes: ‘A “genuine connection” like people have in person can be hard to establish via Skype’ (p. 4). Based on your own experience with video conference technologies, do you agree or disagree? Why? Do you think that the connection would be the same or different using a large monitor or a mobile device? Why or why not?
- With the pervasive use of mobile devices, researchers are looking for ways to use these technologies for research purposes. Spinney observes that ‘mobilising our methods’ allows researchers to ‘move with our participants physically, virtually or emotionally’ (p. 242). After reading this article and Chapter 3, develop a research topic that you think is appropriate to study with mobile methods:
- Explain whether synchronous, near synchronous and/or asynchronous communications would be appropriate for studying this topic.
- Explain whether you would communicate with participants using text or visual approaches.
- Explain whether synchronous, near synchronous and/or asynchronous communications would be appropriate for studying this topic.
- Spinney discusses criticisms by Merriam (2013), who argued that equivalent accounts could be obtained by using written or verbal records. Do you agree or disagree with Merriam? Why or why not?
Chapter 4: Designing an Ethical Online Study
- Johnsson et al. argue that: ‘ethics review and guidelines are insufficient to ensure morally responsible research’ (p. 30). After reading Chapter 4 and the article, ‘Making Researchers Moral’, make recommendations for increasing trustworthiness in online research. Provide a rationale for your positions.
- Johnsson et al. refer to the ideas of Immanuel Kant, who is associated with deontological ethics. Conduct a library search for Kant’s writings. Explain why deontological ethics are appropriate guidance for researchers, and discuss the limitations of this theory.
- After reading Chapter 4 and the article, ‘Ethics, Reflexivity, and “Ethically Important Moments” in Research’ (Guillemin & Gillam, 2004), compare and contrast procedural ethics and ‘ethics in practice’ in the context of online qualitative research. How do the ideas about reflexivity presented in this article fit with the concept of phronesis, practical wisdom, discussed in Chapter 4?
- Guillemin & Gillam link practices of reflexivity with ethical decision-making. Think about your own ethical decision-making in research or in everyday life. What kinds of reflexivity practices do you use when facing a critical decision in a more important moment? Consider whether these practices are applicable in a research context.
Chapter 5: Conducting an Ethical Online Study
- Online researchers, particularly those conducting studies with participants across the globe, rely on electronic means of obtaining informed consent. This study by Ghandour et al. found that: ‘despite the differences in research objectives, study designs, and settings, it is evident that both student samples signed a consent form without truly being “informed”, a seemingly cross-cultural occurrence’ (p. 237). Do you agree or disagree with the analysis presented in this article? Explain.
- Conduct a search in your library and find another article that describes approaches for ensuring that participants are informed. Summarize the selected article. Compare and contrast the research methods, population, and findings of the selected article and the study from Ghandour et al. Identify at least one best practice and recommend at least one question for further research.
- Lunnay et al. discusses ethical dimensions of a study conducted in Facebook. Their research used photo-elicitation techniques with an adolescent population. They state: ‘Because using social media for research is ethically unproven, the burden of proof of ethical practice lies with the researcher’ (p. 106). After reading Chapters 4 and 5 and this article, do you believe that Lunnay et al. met the ‘burden of proof’? Why or why not?
- To prepare for this inquiry, the researchers made considerable arrangements to understand the settings, features and usage of Facebook before they submitted their proposal to the ethics review board: ‘We believe that the researcher should provide evidence of knowledge of the capacity, reach, and privacy functions of the chosen social media for [ethics review boards] to endorse researcher’s use’ (p. 107). Select a different social media platform (Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Reddit) and outline steps which a researcher should take to prepare for an ethical study using data collected on the selected site.
Chapter 6: Preparing to Collect Data Online
- Doctoral students learning to conduct research interviews encountered challenges Roulston et al. categorized as:
(a) unexpected participant behaviors
(b) consequences of the researchers’ own actions and subjectivities
(c) phrasing and negotiating questions, and
(d) dealing with sensitive issues. (p. 648)
Select one of these challenges. Based on your reading of the article ‘Learning to Interview’ and Chapter 6, suggest a minimum of three strategies which interview researchers could use to prepare for, prevent or mitigate these challenges when conducting interviews online.
- Roulston et al. report that:
The interview process was at times complicated by the students’ difficulty in being present or active listeners. Rather than listening, some students reported being engaged in analyzing the way in which the participants’ experiences fit with their own research interests or thinking about the next question(p. 661).
How is ‘active listening’ the same or different when communication occurs online? Describe steps that researchers can take to prepare for active listening in an online research interview.
- Tufford et al. explain that bracketing can help ‘mitigate the potential deleterious effects of unacknowledged preconceptions’ as well as ‘facilitate the researcher reaching deeper levels of reflection’ (p. 81). First, based on your analysis of the article, ‘Bracketing in Qualitative Research’, and what you learned from reading Chapter 6, explain why bracketing is important in online qualitative research.
- Tufford et al. point to a lack of consensus in the field about when bracketing should occur. Discuss the benefits and limitations of bracketing at each stage of the study: planning and designing the study, conducting the study, and/or analyzing the data. Based on your analysis, at what research stage(s) would you recommend that researchers use bracketing? Why?
Chapter 7: Collecting Extant Data Online
- Bourgonjon et al. state that: ‘Informed consent from the players was not deemed necessary because no registration was required to consult these public forums’ (p. 4). Based on your study of research ethics in Chapters 4 and 5, do you agree with their decision? Why or why not?
- After reading Chapter 7, discuss the strengths and limitations of the article, ‘Players’ Perspectives on the Positive Impact of Video Games’. If you could design a follow-up study, what methods would you use to answer what questions?
- While the study by Bourgonjon et al. (2015) did not require informed consent, the study by Tiidenberg et al. did solicit consent. Why? Do you agree with these researchers’ decisions? Why or why not?
- After reading Chapter 7, discuss the strengths and limitations of the article, ‘Selfies, Image and the Re-making of the Body’. If you could design a follow-up study, what methods would you use to answer what questions?
Chapter 8: Eliciting Data Online
- Synnot et al. collected data through face-to-face (synchronous) focus groups and online (asynchronous) focus groups. Why were these approaches appropriate (or not), given the population and purpose of the study? Discuss their Observations on the Research Method (starting on p. 435) in the context of what you have learned by reading Chapter 8.
- After reading Chapter 8, discuss the strengths and limitations of the article, ‘Comparing Face-to-Face and Online Qualitative Research with People with Multiple Sclerosis’. If you could design a follow-up study, what methods would you use to answer what questions?
- Seko et al. used both asynchronous emails and synchronous text chats to collect data. Why were these approaches appropriate (or not), given the population and purpose of the study? Discuss their methods in the context of what you have learned by reading Chapter 8.
- After reading Chapter 8, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article, ‘On the Creative Edge’. If you could design a follow-up study, what methods would you use to answer what questions?
Chapter 9: Using Enacted Methods Online
- Lyons & Carabelli outline challenges they faced in conducting an on- and offline participatory visual and performative study. Select one challenge which they identified, and make recommendations for alternative options that researchers could take to address it.
- Lyons & Carabelli describe the use of Facebook in their study. Using ideas drawn from Chapter 9, suggest additional ways that the researchers could have used online communications and/or social media to achieve the purpose of this inquiry.
- After reading Chapter 9 and ‘Collaboration through Simulation: Pilot Implementation of an Online 3D Environment’, describe the advantages and/or disadvantages of conducting a simulation in a virtual world. Explain why the researchers chose to conduct the study in a virtual world. Describe at least one example of a research topic appropriate to study in a virtual environment.
- Discuss the roles and responsibilities of the researcher who creates and conducts observations in a virtual world simulation. Which roles and responsibilities are common to any study where data is collected through observation, and which are unique to the virtual environment?
Chapter 10: Organizing, Analyzing and Interpreting Findings
- Mauthner & Doucet observed that:
[R]eflexivity has not been translated into data analysis practice in terms of the difficulties, practicalities and methods of doing it. Instead, there is an assumption built into many data analysis methods that the researcher, the method and the data are separate entities rather than reflexively interdependent and interconnected. Most methods continue to be presented as a series of neutral, mechanical and decontextualized procedures that are applied to the data and that take place in a social vacuum. (p. 414)
How can online researchers who are working in a ‘connected’ medium overcome this assumption? Be specific about your recommendations.
- Mauthner & Doucet asked: ‘Can reflexivity be encouraged and enhanced by building it into our research methods and processes, and by creating appropriate times, spaces and contexts to be reflexive?’ (p. 415). How can you build reflexivity into your data analysis process? Outline the reflexive processes which you could use at each stage of the study and, in particular, at the data analysis stage.
- Three researchers, Collier, Moffat and Perry, took a unique approach to analyze the same interview recording and transcript. After reading each researcher’s discussion of the interview with Kyle, what did you learn from reading their respective interpretations? Which approach do you think generated the most interesting insights? Why?
- The researchers ‘propose that cross-paradigm conversations can play an important contribution to meaningful reflexive practice’ (p. 401). How can ‘cross-paradigm conversations’ occur when researchers conduct their studies online?
Chapter 11: Writing, Reporting and Contributing to the Literature
- Reay (2014) outlined seven strategies for getting qualitative research published. Reay specifically names the journal she edits, and discusses strategies in the context of her field. After reviewing all seven strategies, create your own list and adapt these strategies to fit the factors important to journals in your discipline. You may want to look at submission guidelines for the top journals in your field for additional tips.
- Locate a published online qualitative study and critique it according to the recommendations Reay (2014) made in the seven strategies described in “Publishing Qualitative Research.”
- Compare and contrast the publication strategies described in ‘Opportunities and Constraints in Disseminating Qualitative Research in Web 2.0 Virtual Environments’ (Hays et al., 2015) with those described in ‘Publishing Qualitative Research’ (Reay, 2014).
- Once you have completed your own research, which web 2.0 opportunities will you use to disseminate your work and/or to interact with readers? How? Why?