Will Demonstrate My Knowledge and Understanding of the Contribution to Qualitative Research to Psychology
Will Demonstrate My Knowledge and Understanding of the Contribution to Qualitative Research to Psychology
This essay will demonstrate my knowledge and understanding of the contribution to qualitative research to Psychology through the discussion of published qualitative research. Firstly, what is qualitative research and how does this differ from qualitative research? According to Smith “Qualitative analysis is concerned with describing the constituent properties of an entity” whereas “Qualitative analysis is involved in determining how much of the entity there is” (Smith et al. , 2008 p. 1) Quantitative research is any data that is in numerical from such as statistics, percentages etc.
Quantitative research compels a drop of phenomena to numbers for statistical analysis. This type of research is mostly interested in adding the number of incidents, the size, or amount of connections between individuals, objects or things, rather than interpreting a person’s social experience. The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. The object of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical theories or hypothesis pertaining to the phenomena. Smith et al. , 2008) Qualitative research presents a more deep informative interpretation of the social phenomena under examination through collection of data from real-life verbal reports – for example, interview transcripts or written accounts therefore interpreting what a piece of text means or what a person is saying in an interview rather than finding the statistical properties of it. This interpretation or analysis is then expressed through comprehensive tidings of participant’s experiences insights and perceptions of phenomena.
Qualitative researchers try to figure out human emotional behaviours and the meaning of events (Smith et al 2008). According to Smith “Qualitative approaches in Psychology are generally engaged with experiencing, describing and interpreting the personal and social experiences of participants” (Smith et al,. 2008 p. 2) This will to be shown in details in the Study. The Qualitative study that will be discussed in this paper is “Having a sibling with schizophrenia” Barnable, Gaudine, Bennett and Meadus (2006).
Schizophrenia is one of the most major health problems facing contemporary society (Barrowclough et al. 1992). Very little interest has been given to the happenings of people with siblings suffering from schizophrenia. The intention of the article was to tackle this by investigation the effect of having a sibling with schizophrenia. The study was conducted by Alexia Barnable, Alice Gaudine and Lorna Bennett from the Western Health Authority, Corner Brook in Canada. The study’s research question is “what is the lived experience of a sibling who has a brother or sister with schizophrenia”. The question suggests there will be a narrative interpretation of the data.
The type of qualitative research method used was called a phenomenological study. Phenomenology is associated with the ways in which humans learn knowledge of the world around them. The study was explored using hermeneutic phenomenology. This was influenced by IPA, Interpretative Phenomological analysis. This is the research method used to grasp an interpretation of how participants see and experience the world (Smith et al. , 2006). IPA admits that it is not possible to attain an individual’s private life however researchers are encouraged to act in a way so that the participants will tell their inside perspective.
The aim is it get an understanding of another individuals feeling’s beliefs and judgement about the phenomena being examined. The analysis believes the story rhea person portrays, tells us about their personal feelings. This takes a relative approach which means there is no real truth. The researcher is interested in getting a deep understanding of personal and lived experience (Smith et al. , 2006). Six participants whom were all adult siblings who lived within a 1 hour radius of a city in Atlanta Canada and had either a brother or sister with schizophrenia took part in the study.
They were required to be over 18, willing to participate in the study, have lived and cared for a sibling with schizophrenia and lived in Canada. The participants ranged from their late 30’s to early 60’s. The siblings with schizophrenia ranged in ages 20 to late 50’s. Four of the participants were older and two were younger than their sibling with schizophrenia. The participants interacted with their siblings on a daily or weekly basis. The researchers used the interview approach which was used to elicit each participant’s thoughts and feelings.
Semi-structured interviews allowed the participant to talk about their experiences in a quiet controlled environment. This qualitative method also allows the researcher to gain a deep understanding of how the participants copes having a sibling with schizophrenia. The interviews were recorded and lasted 45-90 minutes in which each participant got to choose the location of the interview. The 2nd interview was conducted 3 months later to allow the researchers to confirm that the account given in the 1st interview was an accurate analysis.
Each participant stated that the previous summary given was an accurate account of their experience. The data from the interview was translated verbatim. Most qualitative methods require analysis to be transcribed verbatim (Willig et al. , 2001). The transcripts were examined over and over by each researcher. The researchers all agreed the analysis showed 4 main themes by use of thematic analysis. This means identifying themes within transcripts (Willig et al. , 2001) The first theme recognised was “struggling to understand” (Barnable et al. 2006).
All participants felt helpless and frustrated because they didn’t understand what was wrong with their sibling. Even after diagnosis they did not comprehend what the illness was, where it originated or what the consequences were. They were not familiar how to access information about the illness and found it hard to understand the symptoms of a person with schizophrenia. The next theme identifies the struggles the participants endured to get help from Health Care professionals. The participants felt the professionals did not see the family’s needs for information.
Information was scarce and made the participants anxious and helpless. The 3rd theme was “Caring for the sibling “. This theme shows a number of issues surrounding caring for the individual with schizophrenia. The participants told the researchers they felt good sometimes caring for their sibling however other times they felt exhausted and overpowered physically and mentally. Being a carer for their siblings with schizophrenia at times, affected their life dramatically in terms of relationships with other family members, financially, and their work lives. The final theme is “Seeing beyond the illness”.
The researchers found that there was a sense of admiration participants felt towards their siblings and how much they had overcome. They said the whole experience has changed their outlook in life. They now see what the siblings have overcome, their abilities and not their illness. The study shows a number of findings relating to siblings of people with schizophrenia. The major finding that all participants stressed the need for is more information surrounding the illness. The scarcity of awareness and facts from the Health Care professionals was the most frustrating thing for the participant.
They emphasised the necessity for knowledge and support from others. Barrowclough and Tarrie state that the way in which family’s communicate with the patient and deal with the illness is crucial in shaping the direction of the illness (Barrwoclough et al,. 1992). This information would be crucial to doctors and nurses in the health care profession. Family members with the help of doctors and nurses should be included in their health care plan. From the results of the study it is clear that the participants and all the family members need to be provided with emotional support.
Carers of people with schizophrenia are under an enormous amount of stress emotionally, physically and mentally. Some implications can be seen in the study. All participants were white, from the same culture and had degrees, diplomas and careers. People from different socioeconomic backgrounds may have had a different account of this experience. Only one male took part in the study therefore males may find the experience dissimilar to females. One final limitation that could be suggested is the participants are living in the now. All participants’ siblings had no relapses since the illness began.
Further research could be carried out on participants with relapses. It can be said without a doubt that qualitative research is a massive contribution to Psychology. The hermeneutic phenomenology method used by the researchers provided a deep clear insight into the lived experience of 6 individuals with a sibling with schizophrenia. The methods used have high reliability and validity as this qualitative study can provide crucial information to the Health care professionals for extra help, support and advice on schizophrenia patients.
The semi-structured interviews were as important as it gives the researcher and the participant quiet one-on-one time together. The qualitative research was able to recognise that the need for family members to be involved with the patient to improve the outcome of the individual with schizophrenia. The research has shown how much pressure and stress is put on the siblings. Researchers need to further investigate in the cross-cultural and male individuals to see if similar needs are required. A study carried out on Immigrant family’s coping with the illness also showed the need for more help (British journal Psychiatry 1995).
Investigations into the impact on how social support could have on family members dealing with a sibling with schizophrenia. Other studies such as participants dealing with siblings who have had a relapse of the illness and how they are coping. Finally investigations into the current psychiatric health system and how it could be changed to help with not only the person with schizophrenia but their siblings also need to be made aware of who they can talk to and how to deal with the situation as the experience can lead to family conflicts and other stressors.
All of this information would be beneficial to Psychiatric health care professionals.. Hermeneutic phenomenology was the type of research method used in the study. Phenomenology is associated with the ways in which humans learn knowledge of the word around them. The study was explored using Hermeneutic phenomenology. This is influenced by IPA, Interpretive phenomological analysis which is the research method used to grasp an interpretation of how participants see and experience their world.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 January 2017
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