Editing my METHODS section

I’m editing my Methods section today. This will probably be a very boring post unless you’re interested in the constant comparative method. Probably no pictures, either.

Except for this random stock photography picture from free pixels

Okay, so let’s get to it. This is a typical editing scenario for me. I’m very algorithmically driven, so I like to compare things in a systematic way. First, I’ll compare my Methods section to Glaser’s article (1969). Next, I’ll compare my Methods section to the Method chapter in Creswell’s (2009) book. I’ll note things I need to improve. Next, on to Krippendorf. And then, a comparison to the cool examples I found . And then, I should have enough ideas for improvement. Sound good? BTW, this might end up being two posts. Or four.

I have in my hand a copy of my Methods section and a copy of Glaser’s The Constant Comparative Method of Qualitative Analysis, written in 1969. You can find it in the journal Social Problems. It’s not a long article, but it is difficult reading because it is so information-dense. I’m going to re-read the article and make sure my methods section has everything it needs. So, here I go:

  • I didn’t mention the constant comparative method explicitly in my methods section. I mentioned emergent categories, but I didn’t discuss the process at length.
  • I didn’t mention the memos I took as I worked with the emergent categories. I need to add these–probably to the appendix section of the entire document. Then, I can just refer to them in the text of the methods section.
  • I need to delimit the theory, or mention how I knew I was done with the analysis. I need to mention theoretical saturation. I know I reached it in my analysis, but I don’t think I did a very good job of telling about it in my methods section.

Okay, now for Creswell. There is a nice checklist on page 174, table 9.1. So, here is a list of the things recommended by Creswell’s table, but absent in my methods section:

  • Are the basic characteristics of qualitative studies mentioned? I didn’t do an overview because I went right into content analysis, so I can do some editing to add this.
  • I should probably mention some history of content analysis.
  • It looks like ethical considerations and validation checks belong here, so I’ll move them from the first chapter.
  • I might mention more about the coding of the data

From Krippendorf:

  • I can probably elaborate on what kind of information we can find from content analysis

From other articles:

  • It’s pretty clear that a better description of the process is needed. I need more specifics, like, “the documents were read as a whole…blah blah blah.” I need to be more descriptive of the actual steps I took to do this. It’s all in my brain, but I need to get it down on paper.
  • I used a data analysis method almost exactly like Thompson. I need to detail it better and cite him as a source.
  • It’s possible my genre stuff should go into method

Okay, so that’s it. I have a lot of updating to do.

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