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Discussion Assignment: Making Research Valid—and Why It Matters
When you studied the article “Quantitative Designs: An Overview” last week, you learned reasons that research studies need to be valid and the meaning of validity in quantitative studies. The reading, this week, pointed out that validity takes on a different meaning when applied to qualitative studies. Specifically, you studied the process of triangulation as the major tool to use when one wants to assure that a qualitative study is valid.
For this assignment, take on the role of a researcher who has been asked to serve on a panel discussion about triangulation. Your charge is to read a qualitative study and consider which version(s) of triangulation could be used to ensure its validity.
Carefully read the following summary of the study:
The goal of this study was to find out to what degree, and in what ways, preschoolers care about others, show their concern, and exhibit compassion. The researcher defined this goal based on M.L. Hoffman’s developmental theory of empathy. The researcher used a qualitative research approach because she did not want to measure specific instances of concern or compassion; rather, she wanted to find out as much as possible about ways in which these behaviors manifest themselves, and the extent to which children exhibit them. The researcher decided to ask children to create stories in which they expressed wants and hopes. They could use pictures, story boards, puppets, or other tools. The collected data were then analyzed by the researcher, and several prominent themes emerged. All themes showed that the children focused in a majority of their stories not only on hopes and wants for themselves but to a great degree also on hopes and wants for other people, like their classmates, friends, and/or family.
You find yourself considering the following questions:
- If I were the researcher, which version (or combination of versions) of triangulation would I use to ensure the validity of this study?
- How would my choice(s) contribute to the validity of the study?
Note: As you consider your responses to these questions, you realize that there are no absolute right or wrong answers to the questions, only stronger or less strong arguments for choosing from the available triangulation versions.
Post your responses to the two questions.