Signup date: 28 Mar 2011 at 1:20pm
Last login: 12 Mar 2012 at 6:32pm
Post count: 282
This is a major problem. Qualitative analysis is poorly-understood by researchers. It's got to be 'rich, and 'thick'.
The NVivo program for a start, works on the quantitative assumption of parsimony, and one of the things I hate about Miles and Huberman is that they use this basic quantitative theory to try to squeeze real qualitative interview data into this mean analysis. I believe you can't do that. To present qualitative data, you have to keep the data holistic to the very last moment of analysis. Don't try to chunk it into nodes. I know this is a very personal viewpoint, but the gift in doing qualitative data collection and analysis is to understand that words are only useful in context, because meaning is always deferred.
I did very few interviews in my qualitative thesis - 20 in all - and these were retained in full to the end, and quotes were long. That way, I could show the complexities in the presentation of beliefs, and demonstrate that they were all internally contradictory. One of the research gurus, I forget which one, said that you only realise that you have too many interviews when you get to the point of analysis. As a journalist, I knew that, and limited the interviews. My super thought I had too few. My examiners admired the complexities I uncovered.
BUT, I've also helped out on a PhD which was done in NVivo, and to my mind it missed the point. The girl had ripped the 6-word quotes from their context, lost the emotional messages that were sent out by the over-coded analysis, and only 'got' it when I pointed out that qualitative is about meaning-exploration and therefore the 'means', rather than a reduction and code. She got it in the end, and her PhD is really good.
My first two degrees are in Humanities, and social science did my head in. It's so unsophisticated! Jane Austin wrote about 'this little piece of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush'. That's qualitative analysis.
So, nice big chunks of quotes, in context, finely explored, but well chosen. That's the secret. But it does use up your wordage!
I ended up with 92,000 after ditching 45,000. The examiners let me off the extra words.
Interesting, or maybe not. I'm shaking with anger. In the last two hours I've discovered that a book I ghost-wrote in 2002 was published in 2007, in the USA, by the woman I wrote it for. Because ghost-writing is speculative, you don't earn anything unless it sells. But that book (by its very nature and the huge reviews it attracted) must have sold for big bucks, and all my words are still all there. Earned nothing for six months of my life 24/7 when I was doing that.
Still in shock. I'm in email contact with my former agent who set this up so let's see what he can do. All the evidence is on my computer.
Plagiarism, to me, is a crime, whether it's academic, or commercial. It adds up to the same thing - theft.
Right - will look at that option, too! But the falling out with my super would appear to knock that on the head. I was for a few months his research associate - and when I was working with him as a colleague, he was fine, very complimentary indeed, and we wrote two reports and book together, too, and he's just published one of the bits of that as a joint paper (without telling me, but at least citing me as joint author!). Anyway, I've just written a couple of emails to my Uni suggesting they put a module of my specialism on a couple of the courses. Then I'd become an Associate Tutor, which would be great.
Thanks Bewildered! That's helpful! I do have limited facilities at the Library, so I can actually get in and can take out a couple of books for a couple of weeks because years ago I subscribed to a building appeal. I'm interested in this 'guest' idea, and will make enquiries.
Any views/hope/advice sought! My PhD was a bit difficult at the end, as I fell out with my super who is also the Prof. But it's a developing field, and I'd like to take my research forward, to test one of the theories I'd explored. Currently, I can't get a job in research as I'm 66, but I have a burning need to do this. A month ago I had to turn in my Library card. I've managed to get an extension on my Uni email, which gives me access to the electronic database, etc, until the end of July. Then I'm finished. My PhD is the only one ever done on this topic which is highly debated, and as I've said, it's been accessed more than any other piece of research on the Uni database.
But what do I do now? Do I just fall out of the balloon and on to the scrap heap? I NEED TO DO MORE WORK ON THIS!!! I'm writing a book, and putting some papers together, but I just can't find room in academia, and don't know how to navigate my way round. Please help this distressed Dr OAP!
For reasons that others have outlined, I actually think that doing a viva in this timescale is a huge advantage and that you'll sail through it because you've just asked yourself the questions, on the final edit, that they'll be asking you. No panic, get some distance (only a bit) and just enjoy it!
Plagiarism is rife. I taught MAs for two years and out of 16 students had two cases of plagiarism. The first was in a paper where I was second marker. The first marker had missed it completely, despite a clear change of tone. So I Googled the section that I suspected was plagiarism,and it was. The second was more serious, as it was the student whose dissertation I was supervising. She'd moved back to her home country, so I had to supervise by email. I'd already given her a plagiarism warning over the first bit of text she sent me. When she sent in her dissertation, every word was plagiarised from EIGHT different sources. I found the sources through Google, told the HOD, and we put it though Turnitin. She had to be failed, and I felt a bit sorry for her, but what can you do? I think that being able to spot plagiarism is a talent not many academics have. Moreover, I've just been proof-reading a PhD, and I'm certain he didn't write it. It has Made In India stamped all over it, if you like! So buying material is also endemic, even at PhD level (we've all seen young Gadaffi's PhD!).
I really do hate it. I checked out another piece on a charity website, knew it was plagiarised, checked it back to the original source, and saw that it had been stolen EIGHT times, and in one case a student had been awarded an MSc for it!
Right, I'm now up to 312! So this experience has shown me something important. It's that when your thesis goes online, it might be a good idea to alert people to it - because actually, who knows? Without really thinking that it might make any kind of impact, I'd posted the link on Linked In. When I saw what that had done (the initial stats were 203 four days ago) I just wondered why I was hiding this stuff. So I'm now emailing the people I've quoted, in an area I call a 'splinter in a niche discipline', and sending the link. Some other academics have been so enthusiastic that I've produced something that echoes their findings, that they've written to thank me. We get too used to taking a back seat, don't we? The purpose of learning is to share.
You've had some great advice, but I'd add another snippet. I always tell my students that any kind of exam is not trying to catch you out. It's trying to allow you to show off a little about the things you know, and gives you an opportunity to look at stuff from an interesting angle. So listen, and think, and take your time. Ask for clarification if you need to - after all, this is an inter-view (that hyphen is important!), not an interrogation. These may be your examiners on the day, but they'll be your colleagues in the future. My viva got a bit hairy at one point, but actually, what the guy was saying was perfectly correct. So I put my hands up and said, 'You know what, you're right, I'm wrong on that!' They were stunned. I'd fought hard for what I knew, but they really had me bang to rights on one point. So I had to revise. But the revision, and in fact, the criticism, was so valuable. It shifted my perspective. It helped me see the weak link in what I'd done. On my revision report they remarked how remarkably honest and reflexive I'd been in admitting the weakness, thinking deeply about it, and changing it. And they and I both knew that it was a much better thesis, ultimately. I was so proud of the finished product. So LISTEN. That's my best advice.
Hold back the actual research. Talk over ideas. But never give away the seed-corn. It may be more valuable than you realise. All those of us who've had experience of copyright theft are very wary of sharing real intellectual property, and there's a lot of theft on the internet.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest