In book: Encyclopedia of research design, Edition: 1, Chapter: Naturalistic inquiry, Publisher: SAGE, Editors: N.J. Peer debriefing was also leveraged to enhance the credibility and validity of qualitative research (Creswell, ; Lincoln & Guba, ). This was achieved through. Naturalistic inquiry is a label given to certain forms of phenomenological inquiry, including some qualitative research, much interpretive research, and many. epistemology, as found, for example, in our earlier work in naturalistic inquiry. ( Lincoln and Guba, ) and also shared to a greater or lesser degree by con-.
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emergent-paradigm (or naturalistic) inquiry ought to be case study (Lincoln and Guba, )- -the form and content for which are still under debate--not much. in naturalistic inquiry because it is so much easier and less rigorous than conventional inquiry is to betray ignorance of what is actually involved. Establishing. A Naturalistic Inquiry into downloader and Seller Behavior at a Swap Meet Naturalistic inquiry as an ethnographic approach is explained and.
As such, my focus in this article is to illustrate how methodological issues pertaining to naturalistic inquiry were addressed and justified to represent a rigorous research approach, rather than presenting the results of the research study.
The purpose of the study was to inform the evolution of pedagogical strategies for Web-based learning environments. There was a need for research about interactive online learning environments fo- cused on improving pedagogical practice rather than constrained to proving hypotheses Reeves, There were also calls for qualitative research to inform pedagogical innovation, as such research focuses on the detail of what occurs in a Web-based learning environment Windschitl, Thus, a qualitative research study into the use of the Web within a university postgraduate environment was instigated.
The method of inquiry for the study was a collective case study Stake, comprising two cases, which were two implementation cycles of the same postgraduate course offered by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Wollongong. Both cases involved two geographically separated groups of students and involved the implementation of Internet technology to facilitate interaction be- tween the two groups.
The insights gained from the first case were used to redesign the teaching and learning environment for the second case. I sought approval for the research by submitting appropriate documentation to the University of Wollongong Human Research Ethics Committee.
A letter of consent was distributed to all students in both cases.
I ensured participants of anonymity and explained to them that withdrawal as participants was possible at any time. All participants signed the letter, and the consent forms were archived.
In the first case, the introduction of Internet and videoconferencing technologies enabled students to ex- perience the use of technology while learning about its use in an educational context. An educational consultant from this unit provided instructional and technical support to the instructor. To facilitate this trial, there were two geographically separate classes.
Eight students met on campus, and six students met off campus in Sydney, 80 km north of Wollongong. Both classes were held on the same evening for 3 hours over a semester of 14 weeks. Videoconferencing and a course Web site facilitated interaction between the two geographically separate classes.
The instructor physically at- tended each separate class on alternate weeks. The researcher author physically attended every on-campus class. The use of a course Web site and videoconferencing was a new experience for most of the students. Thus, one reason why the instructor selected this course as a pilot study was to allow stu- dents to experience firsthand the process of implementation and evaluation of technology-based learn- ing.
In the second case, the course was implemented using Internet technology. There were two geographi- cally separate classes. Eleven students met on campus, and six students met off campus.
The two classes were held on different evenings for 3 hours. During the week semester, students attended eight class meetings and participated in asynchronous and synchronous online discussions during the non-meeting weeks. A Web site facilitated interaction among the students and instructor outside class time. The in- structor physically attended every face-to-face meeting. The researcher attended the face-to-face classes held on campus.
Participant observation enabled me to interact with the students as a peer. I exhibited a nonthreatening, nonauthoritarian presence. This facilitated the building of rapport and trust with the student participants. In the first case, the researcher entered the setting with no previous experience with the use of videoconferencing, creating Web pages, and using Web-based computer-mediated communication CMC tools.
The researcher observed how the students and the instructor interacted via the technol- ogy-based media and also experienced the use of the technology as she interacted with fellow students and the instructor using the technology. The student participants were aware of the research study, and because the course content was of a similar focus to the research, I was able to discuss observations with them.
My objective during this case was to observe phenomena and not deliberately influence the pro- cess of events. I entered the second case with insight gained from the first case. I interacted with the student participants as a peer yet also assumed the informal role of assistant instructor.
Saturation Data saturation or theoretical saturation is integral to naturalistic inquiry Glaser and Strauss, ; Strauss and Corbin, However, the saturation concept remains nebulous and the process lacks systematization. In other words, saturation is reached when the researcher gathers data to the point of diminishing returns, when nothing new is being added. Charmaz explains that saturation calls for fitting new data into categories already devised.
For their part, Morse et al. At this milestone, the data categories are well established and validated.
It stands to reason that, as Morse points out, saturation of all categories signifies the point at which to end the research. There is, of course, nothing sacrosanct about the principles and criteria for saturation advanced by authors such as Glaser and Strauss, Strauss and Corbin, and Morse et al. This also means sampling to the point of redundancy Lincoln and Guba, ; Strauss and Corbin, Sample size is important only as it relates to judging the extent to which issues of saturation have been carefully considered.
During the coding process, the size of the sample may be increased in order to collect addi- tional data until there is redundancy of information. However, increasing the sample size is not always necessary. Scenes, events, and documents may also be sampled with a view to refining ideas, identifying conceptual boundaries, and pinpointing the fit and relevance of categories Charmaz, As Morse and colleagues 16 point out: Returning to interview key participants for a second or third time is oriented toward eliciting data to expand the depth or address gaps in the emerging analysis while interviewing additional participants is for the purpose of increasing the scope, adequacy and appropriateness of the data.
Both purposes need to be served. Depth as well as breath of information will indicate sampling adequacy and make each theoretical category complete. However, it is not necessary to interview the same participants repeatedly if there are other sources of data. Formal theory is developed for a formal, or con- ceptual, area of inquiry Glaser and Strauss, Given the objective of generating a theory based on the thematic analysis of data, it seems that the use of formal theory to achieve saturation is forbidden.
As Blaikie argues, research that is concerned with theory generation may require sensitizing concepts, which serve as a point of refer- ence and a guide for theory development.
Stakeholder collaboration theory A substantive theory of stakeholder collaboration emerged from my exploratory study of antipoverty projects in Jamaica Bowen, , The antipoverty projects were supported by social funds — special grants provided by the national government3 to nongovernmental and community- based organizations, which served as local project sponsors.
Predetermined criteria for approving the allocation of funds included community participation in all phases of the project, from conceptualization and evaluation, and a 5 percent minimum contribution from the local sponsor. An extensive review of the literature on my research topic yielded three sensitizing concepts — citizen participation, social capital, and empowerment.
The conceptual framework interlinked the three concepts and served as an impetus for theory formulation. However, once data collection and analysis simultaneous processes began, I took particular care to let new concepts surface from the data and to avoid imposing extant con- cepts that reflected my own epistemological predilections.
The result was a new theory grounded firmly in the data. I used in-depth interviews, non-participant observation, and document reviews to collect data. Qualitative research such as this, which stressed in-depth investigation in a small number of communities, typically uses pur- posive sampling, as opposed to random sampling. Thus, eight funded projects were included in the study.
Each project had a dif- ferent focus: dispute resolution, family life training, parenting support, road repair, food processing, school expansion, nongovernmental organization sup- port, and building construction. In addition, 10 key informants knowledgeable insiders from the community and from relevant external orga- nizations provided supplementary data. I used an interview guide protocol for semi-structured interviews, conducted individually and privately with pro- ject organizers and community organization leaders at project sites.
Non- participant observation of community conditions and products, as well as reviews of project documents, also produced data for analysis.
Approximately 40 documents, including 26 newspaper articles and several government publications, were reviewed, placed in context, and coded for analysis. The research revealed that the approach to poverty reduction5 in social fund- supported communities is a process of development-focused collaboration among various stakeholders Bowen, , The process encompasses four stages: 1 Identifying problems and priorities; 2 Motivating and mobilizing; 3 Working together; and 4 Creating an enabling environment.
Each of these stages was a thematic category derived from specific codes, as listed in Figure 1. The first stage reflects community conditions, prompting strategies at the second stage of the collaboration process. The third stage consists of forms of interactions, and the fourth comprises elements that mirror consequences of social fund projects in beneficiary communities.
Themes and codes for stakeholder collaboration theory The underlying stakeholder involvement theory posits that collaboration increases the productivity of resources and creates the conditions for commu- nity-driven development. A detailed discussion of the theory itself is beyond the scope of this research note.
The focus here is on the coding process and my attempts, as part of that process, to achieve theoretical saturation. Coding In my grounded theory study, I used the constant comparative method for reviewing line, sentence, and paragraph segments of the transcribed interviews and field notes to decide which codes fit the concepts suggested by the data.
I per- formed coding at three levels — open, axial, and selective Strauss and Corbin, Open codes served to reduce the mass of largely textual data into man- ageable groupings. Key phrases that I had underlined in my field notes and later in the interview transcripts were included as open codes in the analysis. Line-by-line coding of interview statement Interview statement We the executive can do so much and no more.
We always try to keep all the members actively involved in everything we do in the community. After all, this community belongs to all of us; and we cannot depend on the Government to do everything for us. We have to take some responsibility too. Line-by-line coding We the executive can do so much and no more. Recognizing limitations We always try to keep all the members actively Importance of community involved in everything we do in the community.
The process of assigning and revising codes generated 56 different codes, most of which were related to the funded projects and the local sponsors.
Line-by-line coding of data is illustrated in Table 1. The respondent whose statement is analyzed was a member of the executive committee of a commu- nity-based organization that sponsored one of the antipoverty projects. By coding her statement line by line, it became clear that the respondent was stressing that, besides the Government, the people needed to play a role in improving their community.
In a back-and-forth interplay with the data, I constantly checked and rechecked the elemental codes and concepts. The analysis was based on an inductive approach geared to identifying patterns and discovering theoretical properties in the data. I scrutinized and compared data with data and with codes in order to organize ideas and pinpoint concepts that seemed to cluster together. Codes were clustered into substantive categories, and these category codes were compared across interview transcripts, observational data, respon- dent feedback, and data from documents.
If new categories were suggested by the new data, then the previous transcripts of interviews, together with data from observations and documents, were reanalyzed to determine the presence of those categories.
By doing so, I filled in underdeveloped categories and narrowed excess ones. Axial codes captured the essence of the data in terms that are more abstract than open codes. Frequent and widespread use of key terms suggested their relevance as conceptual categories. Bowen: Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept beyond the words in interview transcripts, key informant comments, and various documents — from a descriptive to an interpretive and explanatory mode.
I created selective codes by connecting and consolidating axial codes and at the same time, abstracting from the evidence contained in the data. Then I analyzed the selective codes to identify themes that cut across the data and further distilled them to create a core category of emerging themes.
It is important to note here that whereas codes are applied to the data, themes emerge from the data. The iterative process of collecting, coding, and analyzing the triangulated data resulted in the four central themes and the substantive theory.
An ana- lytic coding diagram served as a loom for weaving a story line of the many patterns discovered in my analysis of interview transcripts, field notes, and documents. The diagram provided a visual representation of relationships among concepts and eventually became part of an audit trail — the procedures and the path followed as the research proceeded Lincoln and Guba, Evidence of saturation Through the coding process and constant comparison, I sought to identify cat- egories within a set of data, find relationships within these categories, and identify core concepts that describe these relationships.
As I constantly com- pared categories during the coding process, I recorded hunches, ideas, and related questions in memos. Memos helped me refine and keep track of ideas that developed when I compared incident to incident and concept to concept in the evolving theory. I sorted these memos at the second level of coding — axial coding — so that their theoretical relationships would be identified and core cat- egories would begin to take shape.
I then rewrote the memos in an expanded, more analytical form. In the process of expanding and refining the memos, I discovered gaps and new relationships. I filled the gaps by either going back to the first-level coded data or to the communities to gather additional data from interview respondents and key informants.
The categories were refined as areas of commonality and divergence were identified. I looked for true patterns in the data and understood that single, iso- lated incidents would not be relevant to the theory construction.
As each theme emerged, it was clear that theoretical saturation was being achieved. The women would cook and fix the lunch while the men, mostly the men, would work on the road. Bowen: Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept coding process.
Ultimately, the four themes specified above and in Figure 1 encompassed all of the theory-laden data from the research. An outline of the emergence of one of the twelve thematic categories is pre- sented in Table 2. Because of space limitations, only a short outline is given here. The preliminary codes gave way to final codes and concepts, which pro- duced themes and generated the theory. A sampling of respondent statements, document excerpts, and observational comments is included in the table.
People need to work together to make the community a better place. Working together, we can achieve our goals for the community in terms of the economic conditions and the social problems we face. What is our main strength? We work together as one. The saturation of this and other thematic categories required the addition of data to the categories to maximize the variety of data supportive of the cate- gory.
Let us look, for example, at the final theme, Creating an enabling environment. I identified the sensitizing concept of empowerment in the literature on development projects and social funds. Two respondents did use the term empowerment, and so did a key infor- mant.
However, during the constant comparative process, I discovered that they were referring to what they had read in social fund documents rather than to reality as they had experienced it. In reality, the arrangements and processes in social fund-supported communities only vaguely resembled the picture of empowerment painted by the literature. As I gathered more data and continued coding, I noted that, while respon- dents of those communities continued to highlight problems and challenges, their focus had shifted to what their community could be like if they had addi- tional resources and if they were able to sustain the interest and support of community members and other stakeholders.
They would continue to feel the pride and satisfaction that had resulted from their initial work. As the diverse properties of the cat- egory became more integrated, the theme was delimited. An enabling envi- ronment was a major consequence of the first three stages — that is, Identifying problems and priorities, Motivating and mobilizing, and Working together.
In my study, a data category was considered saturated if it was reflected in more than 70 percent of the interviews, confirmed by member checks intervie- wee feedback on the analyzed data , resonated with key informants, and made sense given prior research.
I must caution against assuming that quantitative data, such as a percentage of interviews, are necessary for determining satura- tion. If quantitative data are considered, they should not be used in isolation of other indicators of saturation. Supporting data from document reviews and observations were taken into account as well. When I started hearing the same comments from different participants in different places, exposing me to the same data repeatedly, I concentrated on refining thematic patterns in the data categories.
Both the number of respondents and the number of times a the- matic category was indicated were also considered in the analysis. Trustworthiness While seeking data saturation and thematic exhaustion, I also paid attention to the trustworthiness requirement of qualitative research.
Evidence of trust- worthiness combined with evidence of saturation would signal to readers and evaluators of the research report that they could have confidence in the find- ings, and that the findings could be applied to new situations or experiences. Qualitative researchers who frame their studies in an interpretive paradigm focus on trustworthiness as opposed to the conventional, positivistic criteria of internal and external validity, reliability, and objectivity Denzin and Lincoln, ; Lincoln and Guba,