Six Characteristics: What makes the research study qualitative in nature?

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Six Characteristics: What makes the research study qualitative in nature? by Mind Map: Six Characteristics: What makes the research study qualitative in nature?

1. 1) Researchers must understand the meaning. According to Merriam, the aim of the researcher is to understand someone's experiences based on their environments and interactions (p. 5).

1.1. In Complicating Conditions: Obstacles and Interruptions to Low-Income Students' College Choices, Rebecca Cox is trying to understand why students who are considered low income and underrepresented racial/ethic groups are not beginning or finishing post secondary educational goals.

1.2. She wants to "highlight the nonlinearity and to better understand the cultural ecology of sixteen low income African American and Latino students" (Cox, 2016, p. 6).

2. 2) "The researcher is the primary instrument for data collection" (Merriam, 2002, p.5). A researcher can collect data through verbal and nonverbal forms of communication (Merriam, 2002, p.5).

2.1. Cox selected a group of sixteen low income students in two inner-city high schools located in the Northeastern part of the United States (Cox, 2016, p. 1). She interviewed African American and Latino students from their junior year in high school to their first year after graduating high school (Cox, 2016, p. 1).

2.2. Cox used the "college choice" model to explain the process of how traditional college students transition from high school to college (2016, p. 3).

2.3. She compared two similar high schools and similar sets of students to gain a better picture of why students were not meeting their postsecondary goals (Cox, 2016, p. 6).

2.4. Also, she asked students about their extracurricular and curricular experiences and their family views regarding post secondary education (Cox, 2016, p. 9).

2.5. Cox used an audio-recorder and transcribed the interview using a professional transcription company to capture student's point of view to encourage accuracy (Cox, 2016, p. 9).

3. 3) Qualitative research is an inductive process. "Researchers gather data to build concepts, hypotheses, or theories" (Merriam, 2002, p.5).

3.1. The study concluded students did not obtain their goal of gaining a post secondary education because of life circumstances (Cox, 2016, p. 1).

3.2. Research explained the three reasons for students not obtaining a post secondary education for three reasons (Cox, 2016, p.1). First, students are not prepared financially for the cost of attendance (Cox, 2016, p.1). Secondly, students did not enroll in coursework to prepare them for college during their high school years (Cox, 2016, p. 1). Thirdly, students do not understand the college process including admission or financial aid options (Cox, 2016, p.1).

3.2.1. 4) Qualitative research is richly descriptive emphasizing pictures and words (Merriam, 2002, p.5). She interviewed students to describe their postsecondary plans, their implementation of their plans, and "actual trajectories as the students moved through high school" (Cox, 2016, p. 6). Cox turned the interviews into a narrative. First, she wrote a detailed account of each student. Secondly, she wrote about the student's participation in college planning activities using students' and counselors' point of views (Cox, 2016, p. 10). Life circumstances are easier to understand in narrative form. Numerical data does not have the ability to show issues making the life's of students unstable. For example, Shikera moved into the homes of several relatives after the death of her mother (Cox, 2016, p. 13). The constant moving affected her academically. Narrative forms explains her obstacles.

3.3. Cox is doubting if the "college choice" model is accurately showing the information regarding students not enrolling or finishing their post secondary goals because community colleges are not included in the "college choice" model (Cox, 2016, p.4).

4. 5) Collecting data is flexible for qualitative researchers. In addition, researchers are limited because they may not be persuaded to adopt the worldview of the people they are studying (Bryman, 2004, p. 282).

4.1. Cox concludes African Americans and Latinos who are considered low income students are not qualified as successful because the "college choice" model only uses data from four year universities. Low income students including African Americans and Latinos usually enroll at community colleges which portrays an unrealistic study for this group (Cox, 2016, p. 4). She thinks community colleges should be included into the "college choice" model to receive a better outlook on students in the sampling group (Cox, 2016, p. 4) . This comment makes her flexible as a qualitative researcher.

4.2. Cox was limited because she was an outsider. She used faculty members such as guidance counselors of the schools to help her understand the student's views and environment (Cox, 2016, p. 6).

4.3. Cox thinks academic backgrounds and limited funds contributed to the fact why students did not accomplished their post secondary goals. However, I feel this is an outsider point of view. There may be other unknown reasons the students did not feel comfortable discussing resulting in a limitation for the study.

4.4. Cox also concluded completing FAFSA was challenging for students with complicated custodial relationships (Cox, 2016, p. 18). Cox could study how completing FAFSA is another obstacle for disadvantaged students.

5. 6) Qualitative research focuses on a process explaining a topic over time (Bryman, 2004, p.281).

5.1. The study lasted three years to collect data regarding student's experiences (Cox, 2016, p. 6).

5.2. Interviews during and after graduation filled in the gaps to fully understand the students to make sure their feelings were being actually portrayed (Cox, 2016, p. 10).

5.3. Despite wanting to pursue a post secondary education, two students went to community colleges. Five out of ten students enrolled into four year universities without delay (Cox, 2016, p. 11).

5.4. Over time, Cox sees other factors that affect students' progress towards their post secondary goals. For example, Shikera did not feel safe at her high school due to constant fights (Cox, 2016, p. 13).

5.5. Cox did not think about the out reach of community colleges before the study. Shikera had to delay enrolling into college due to her life circumstances. However, a community college reached out to her (Cox, 2016, p. 14). .

5.6. Sofia had trouble going to college because of her transportation issues and the lack of a book voucher (Cox, 2016, p. 15). The lack of accountability for colleges could be another factor in describing why students do not reach their post secondary education goals.

5.7. Cox used three categories including residential mobility, complicated family configurations, and financial exigencies to compare the students participating in the study (Cox, 2016 p. 16).