ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis in a field study

Claude Julie Bourque

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 4 - Law Building, Room 106
Date: 2012-07-11 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-12


Following the processes described by Harry F. Wolcott as description, analysis and interpretation in transforming qualitative data, we created a mixed method research design for a large scale study. The study examines the dynamics of change in scientific research and in the formation of scholars and involves 808 researchers affiliated to 60 different institutions in the province of Québec (Canada). We used five different data sources: official database of Canadian researcher curriculum vitas, a quantitative and qualitative websurvey (more than 100 items), interview transcripts, documents on programs and institutions, and publications listings from Web of Science. We attempted to compare beliefs and practices in health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, a complex research problem for which we created a holistic theoretical framework based on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social fields, the theory of social representations and the study of social networks. We designed a mixed methods approach (Tashakkori, 2006; Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2003) as part of an analytical strategy supported by SPSS, Ucinet and NVivo. The design was based on the convergent model described by John W. Creswell and Vicki L. Plano Clark (2011). The resulting account was structured along a precise writing strategy aimed at producing and presenting results with alternating references to the quantitative and qualitative cognitive environments of this design. The overwhelming amount of data constitutes the main source of risk associated with this design, which had to be mitigated by a significant investment of time in pre-analysis data processing, in order to avoid losing focus of the main objectives of the research. At stake were the capacity to mobilize external expertise for some of the analytical techniques and to constantly alternate between qualitative and quantitative analysis in the presentation of the results, while ensuring that readers could follow the cognitive changes implicated. Success depends on the strength of planning, on the writing strategy, and on the overall quality of the resulting product.