Psychological Research Qualitative Methods

Assignment Requirement/Question File

Psychological Research Qualitative Methods

Friendship Lab Guidance

  1. Design and carry out an empirical project addressing a psychological research question with qualitative research methods.
  2. Write up the results of a qualitative research study according to relevant conventions and standards.
Step 1: Select 3 interviews from the ‘friendship’ data set
‘Step 1: Selecting interviews’ and this contains five interview transcripts (and each one is available in word and pdf format). You should select the interviews of three participants to download and use as your data set. The key things are to choose interview transcripts that you feel contain data that is relevant to the research questions (see below) and to choose only three of them. Do not try to analyse more than three of the transcripts in this folder as this will be too much work for you to get through and will not help you to get a good mark (the opposite, in fact).
If you want more information about this data (for example, video footage of the interviews or transcripts done in the more detailed ‘Jeffersonian’ style) you can get it here:
Step 2: Reflecting on the research questions

You will need to do data analysis that addresses two research questions. These ‘research questions’ are the questions that you want your analysis to address (not, for example, the questions that you ask in the interview). The research questions that your analysis must address are as follows:

  1. What do participants’ accounts reveal about their perception of the key features of friendship?
  2. What do participants’ accounts reveal about their perspectives on the factors that contribute to the ending of friendship?

A note about literature searching: To do your lab, you will need to look at some literature on friendship .Your marker will want to see that you can draw on existing literature to create a rationale for your study’s aims, and that you are able to consider how your findings fit with those of other studies of friendship. However, the main emphasis of this lab is on your learning about research methods rather than about friendship. So, when you are making a rationale for your study, we want you to place more emphasis on the rationale for your methods, and to draw upon relevant literature about research methods to do this. You don’t need an extensive review of literature on friendship.

Step 3: Analysing the data

You will analyse your four transcripts using Thematic Analysis, as described by Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke in 2006. The data analysis will include the following stages:

  1. Data familiarisation
  2. Initial coding
  3. Identification of themes and sub-themes
  4. Reviewing themes
  5. Theme definition and labelling
  6. Report writing

It is important to remember that, as is often the way in qualitative research, you may go back and forth through these stages and they may not always be totally separate from each other.

Where to get help and resources

Chapter 9 of this book: Sullivan, C. and Forrester, M. (2019). Doing Qualitative Research in Psychology. London: Sage
Step 4: Writing your report

Your lab report must be no longer than 3,000 words and should be word-processed. You must use a file format that will be accepted by Turnitin. The simplest way to achieve this is to use Microsoft Word, but you can check Turnitin for further information about accepted file types. The word count does not include the lab title, page numbers, your reference list at the end of the lab or any appendices. It does, however, include any references that are included in the main text of the lab (e.g., “as argued by Jones (2008)”). The word counts on all lab reports will be checked using the electronic copy that you submit. It is very important that you do not exceed the limit, as we will be able to identify those labs that go over the word limit very easily.

The School policy on coursework word limits is that when a maximum number of words is stated, you must not go over this number and we will enforce this policy strictly. If you exceed the word limit then your marker will simply draw a line at the point where the limit has been reached and will not mark beyond this point. This means that whatever you have written after this point will not contribute in any way to your mark. This could lead, for example, to your entire conclusion section not being marked – which would impact upon the mark you receive quite substantially.

There are no specific rules about how you format your lab (in terms of font, page margins etc.), although it is important that you format it so that it is easy for the marker to read.

You will need to include a ‘reflexive account’ with your lab report. This should be a single paragraph of around 300 words where you reflect upon the process of conducting the lab from a personal point of view, and where you consider any sources of subjectivity that may have influenced the research process.

  1. The report itself including reference list.
  2. A sample (one or two pages) of coded data showing initial detailed coding and thematic coding.

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