FS: "Not Everything that Counts can be Counted": Rigorous Design & Analysis in Qualitative Research
Date & Time
Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Educators often want to know about how individuals understand, or perceive, aspects of their educational experience or professions. We can quantify these things using numerical data or even transform narrative data into numerical data by counting how many times different sentiments, phrases, or constructs are mentioned by our research participants. While sometimes informative, these approaches alone risk transforming rich, multidimensional concepts into simple frequencies or magnitudes that tell us little of their robust and varied meanings. Qualitative research represents a systematic approach to narrative (spoken or written) that explores the meaning of people's experiences. It opens important ways of interrogating, and improving, education in the health professions. While it is more common for health professions educators to hold research backgrounds that are quantitative, many aspire to explore these multidimensional constructs, but remain uncertain about how to approach such research. The purpose of this focus session is to introduce health professions educational researchers who want to utilize qualitative research to a rigorous set of methodological prerequisites for doing it well. With a better understanding of what constitutes rigorous qualitative design and implementation, coupled with the opportunity to network with others interested in qualitative research, participants will gain the confidence to explore an approach inquiry that is new to them.

Session Objectives: 

  1. Explain why qualitative inquiry is the most appropriate approach for addressing certain types of research problems.
  2. Describe key characteristics of rigorous and appropriate qualitative research.
  3. Evaluate qualitative research articles.
  4. Identify introductory resources for scholars wishing to embark on qualitative inquiry.
Stefanie Attardi Stephen Loftus Jason Wasserman Valerie OLoughlin