5. A series of comments on research in science education

This comment takes of after the ethics comment, back to methods.

One methods of research is one where you continually change your theories when you are analysing your data. This process is known as an iterative process where you pose questions to your data based on observations (the observations can be transcribed speech or text in some kind). You can also start to pose questions when you start collecting data and by the process of continued observations, you can identify theoretical concepts. These theoretical concepts are linked in a tentative way to the data and the process continues in an iterative process. Grounded theory is one of these methods where you start asking questions when you start gather data. The iterative process is thorough and takes a lot of time. The generated theories/concepts are further developed, with time the process changes into verification and summary. In addition, the theoretical concepts tends to evolve into one core category. This is a summary of a summary from here:  http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/qualapp.php

In the link Trochim ends with:

”When does this process end? One answer is: never! Clearly, the process described above could continue indefinitely. Grounded theory doesn’t have a clearly demarcated point for ending a study. Essentially, the project ends when the researcher decides to quit.

What do you have when you’re finished? Presumably you have an extremely well-considered explanation for some phenomenon of interest — the grounded theory. This theory can be explained in words and is usually presented with much of the contextually relevant detail collected.”

GT is based upon constructivism (obviously, since you start with data and form concepts and theories from the data, late in the process you start to look into the literature) and is of both inductive and deductive nature. The iterative process can take both strategies. However, this can also be described as an abductive process. The process of reasoning goes another way than deductive and inductive reasoning. The researcher moves between data and theory back and forth, the understanding of it continually emerges.

Thornberg and Charmaz writes, in the introduction part (p 11) of The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis by Uwe Flick, in Grounded Theory and Theoretical Coding the following:

”Grounded theory (GT) is a research approach in which data collection and analysis takes place simultaneously. Each part informs the other, in order to construct theories of the phenomenon under study. GT provides rigorous yet flexible guidelines that begin with openly exploring and analysing inductive data and leads to developing a theory grounded in data. […] instead of pure induction, the underlying logic of GT actually moves between induction and abduction.”

Also, Thornberg and Charmaz states that the meaning of abduction is to select or construct a hypothesis in order to explain a particular empirical case or set of data, in such a way that any other hypothesis candidate is weaker or worse. After that you should continue your analysis with the help of your hypothesis. Further Thornberg and Charmaz describes the coding process in three steps, open coding (search data for segments to be coded), focused coding (search for segments or similar codes for most significant or frequent codes that makes analytical sense and remove other codes or segments of data) and lastly theoretical coding (analyse how categories or codes constructed from data might relate and possibly be integrated into a theory. However, there are probably not one specific way of doing grounded theory and it is not step 1, 2 and finally 3, the process goes around and ends when ”…the study reach theoretical saturation, meaning that gathering fresh data no longer sparks new insights, nor reveals new properties of the generated GT and its categories or concepts.” (ibid, p 167)

However, there are other methods of research and GT is one I probably never will use. Due to the research group I currently belong to do not use this method of research.

There are other kinds of research methods, one i phenomenology whom I never have been using. Picture below is very interesting, found here.

Skärmavbild 2016-03-26 kl. 14.17.27

Phenomenology I will have to continue later. To follow is also my thoughts on:

Fixed design: Research strategy where the research project is more fixed before data is collected.

Flexible design: Research strategy where the research project is developed further when data is collected and are being analysed.

Internal validity, reliability, triangulation and validity.


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