Title

Panel Presentation - Promoting diversity in qualitative methods: Expanding beyond talking about occupation

Location

Hiawatha 1

Start Time

18-10-2014 2:20 PM

End Time

18-10-2014 3:25 PM

Session Type

Panel

Abstract

The objective of this panel is to promote discussion regarding the variety of qualitative methods, beyond interviews, that can be drawn upon to further the study of occupation. Within qualitative research, both in the broader health sciences and specifically in occupational science, the interview has been a primary method for data collection and subsequent analysis (Frank & Polkinghorne, 2010; Nunkoosing, 2005). Although interviews enable exploration of individuals’ perspectives on an experience or topic, there is increasing critical reflexivity regarding the limits of interviewing and on the confines associated with a sole or primary reliance on interviews in qualitative research. For example, critiques have pointed to interviews as limited in enabling researchers to grasp aspects of phenomenon that are taken-for-granted, tacit, or rarely spoken about. Critiques have also raised concerns about who gets defined as ‘information-rich’ within interview-based studies, as well as who becomes excluded due to differential capabilities to frame their thoughts, experiences, and perspectives in verbal ways (Mason, 2002; Nunkoosing, 2005; Suzuki, Ahluwalia, Arora, & Mattis, 2007). Given that occupational scientists seek to elucidate occupation at many levels and scales, such as an individual experience, a collective phenomenon, and a socio-political process, and seek to engage with diverse types of informants and collectives (Hocking, 2009), a primary reliance on interviews to obtain qualitative data will limit the capacity of scholars to illuminate the complexity of occupation. In this panel, members will discuss and illustrate their experiences drawing upon other methods, such as doing occupations with informants, using arts-based and visual methods, observation, and engaging with informants over a prolonged period of time to inspire each other to experiment with the ways they perform occupations. Panel members will examine what these methods can add to the study of occupation. In addition, panel members will address the importance of placing these various methods into methodologies, such as grounded theory or ethnography, and clearly articulating the epistemological assumptions informing how such methods are used and the ways in which the information generated is analysed. Audience members will be asked to share their experiences using a diversity of qualitative methods to research occupation and to further consider the range of possibilities and their prospects for advancing the study of occupation.

Key words: epistemology, methods, qualitative

References

Frank, G., & Polkinghorne, D. (2010). Qualitative research in occupational therapy: From the first to the second generation. OTJR: Occupation, participation and health, 30(2), 51.

Hocking, C. (2009). The challenge of occupation: Describing the things people do. Journal of Occupational Science, 16(3), 140-150.

Mason, D. (2002). Qualitative interviewing: Asking, listening and interpreting. In T. May (Ed.), Qualitative research in action (pp.225-241). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Nunkoosing, K. (2005). The problems with interviews. Qualitative Health Research, 15(5), 698-706

Suzuki, L.A., Ahluwalia, M.K, Arora, A.K. & Mattis, J.S. (2007). The pond you fish in determines the fish you catch: Exploring strategies for qualitative data collection. The Counseling Psychologist, 35, 295-327.

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Oct 18th, 2:20 PM Oct 18th, 3:25 PM

Panel Presentation - Promoting diversity in qualitative methods: Expanding beyond talking about occupation

Hiawatha 1

The objective of this panel is to promote discussion regarding the variety of qualitative methods, beyond interviews, that can be drawn upon to further the study of occupation. Within qualitative research, both in the broader health sciences and specifically in occupational science, the interview has been a primary method for data collection and subsequent analysis (Frank & Polkinghorne, 2010; Nunkoosing, 2005). Although interviews enable exploration of individuals’ perspectives on an experience or topic, there is increasing critical reflexivity regarding the limits of interviewing and on the confines associated with a sole or primary reliance on interviews in qualitative research. For example, critiques have pointed to interviews as limited in enabling researchers to grasp aspects of phenomenon that are taken-for-granted, tacit, or rarely spoken about. Critiques have also raised concerns about who gets defined as ‘information-rich’ within interview-based studies, as well as who becomes excluded due to differential capabilities to frame their thoughts, experiences, and perspectives in verbal ways (Mason, 2002; Nunkoosing, 2005; Suzuki, Ahluwalia, Arora, & Mattis, 2007). Given that occupational scientists seek to elucidate occupation at many levels and scales, such as an individual experience, a collective phenomenon, and a socio-political process, and seek to engage with diverse types of informants and collectives (Hocking, 2009), a primary reliance on interviews to obtain qualitative data will limit the capacity of scholars to illuminate the complexity of occupation. In this panel, members will discuss and illustrate their experiences drawing upon other methods, such as doing occupations with informants, using arts-based and visual methods, observation, and engaging with informants over a prolonged period of time to inspire each other to experiment with the ways they perform occupations. Panel members will examine what these methods can add to the study of occupation. In addition, panel members will address the importance of placing these various methods into methodologies, such as grounded theory or ethnography, and clearly articulating the epistemological assumptions informing how such methods are used and the ways in which the information generated is analysed. Audience members will be asked to share their experiences using a diversity of qualitative methods to research occupation and to further consider the range of possibilities and their prospects for advancing the study of occupation.

Key words: epistemology, methods, qualitative