Qualitative Research in Information Sciences and Technology
Assists IST researchers in their efforts to learn about and employ appropriate qualitative methods in their research. IST 541 Qualitative Research in Information Sciences and Technology (3) As information and communication technologies (ICTs) have evolved, so too has our understanding of the role of the human contexts within which information technologies are situated. This has led to the need for appropriate methods of studying information systems and technologies in their context of use. There is a growing consensus that qualitative methods offer important research opportunities for this type of study. Therefore, researchers in such fields as the information sciences and technologies, communication technologies and information systems should have an understanding of the various types of qualitative methods so that they can determine ones that are most appropriate for addressing their particular research problems. The course is complementary to quantitative methods courses, in that it addresses problems that are not amenable to those approaches. For example, studies involving very small groups, individuals, societal level concepts and others often lend themselves to qualitative research techniques.This course begins by considering research topics that lend themselves to the choice of qualitative research methods. It then proceeds to examine the steps involved in conducting qualitative research. These include: developing the research question(s); choosing a particular research method (such as ethnography, case study or action research); making decisions about approaches to data collection (such as interview or focus group) and analysis (such as coding technique); and producing and publishing the results.This course explores concrete issues that researchers have encountered in their use of qualitative methods. It does this by drawing upon the collective expertise of distinguished scholars who employ qualitative methods in their own research. The course will examine published work that focuses on research findings as well as that which discusses methodological issues.