After the first analysis the data meaning units are extracted and commented on. These are units which would, when if taken out of context, still make sense to the reader. Often the meaning units are lengthy and will contain a number of various meanings. However, the longer the meaning unit, the clearer the context should be.
Generally, it is these meaning units that are analysed in interpretive research. They are coded and then categorised. Categories can be revised and changed to better reflect and accommodate the data.
The full transcripts and the recordings are all kept so that other researchers can have access to them and carry out their own studies to check the validity of the research.
Examples of interpretive research are
- action research
- case study research
Ethnography is the study of people and their customs and culture, differences and habits. An early ethnographer was Margaret Mead the famous anthropologist who studied the people of Papua New Guinea, and. of course lived among them.
Having said this, the ethnographic study that is commonly cited is that of Jane Goodall, who studied the lives and habits of the primate living in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. This classic study involved her observing their behaviours, how they interacted with each other and with her. She lived with the and shared their lives for several years. Her observations included the ways they found food and shelter, how they socialised, how they communicated, mated and so on.
To begin an action research cycle, a problem area must be diagnosed. Then a variety of ways of tackling the problem can be devised and tried, one at a time.
Action research is cyclical, with the planning stage coming first, followed by the action of the researcher in carrying out the plan (the action phase). The third stage is the observation stage and the fourth stage is that of reflection. After reflection should come learning, the final phase of the cycle.
In the learning phase, Then, after analysing the data, the cycle is repeated as many times as necessary for the researcher to be satisfied that the research has been completed, at least temporarily. Action research is ongoing, with the fourth reflective stage being very important as this, combined with learning leads to further research.
Phenomenology is both a philosophy and a research method. As the latter, it highlights the study of experiences as a way of coming to terms with, and studying, the reality of our society, particularly of our social world.
Case study research can be used by positivists and interpretive researchers, which make it unusual. The research in longitudinal, taking place over an extended period of time in several places. It can be used either to construct theories in interpretive research, or to test hypotheses in positivist research studies.
In case studies the researcher is neutral and a non-participant in the social action. In order to do this type of research the researcher needs keen observatory skills and multiple other abilities so that he or she can successfully analyse the data.