According to Markham, “The world might be said to be made up of that which is relatively measurable and that which is relatively unmeasurable. Different schools of thinking place different levels of emphasis on the very measurable and the very unmeasurable”.
Qualitative research methodology unlike quantitative research is used to find out about people’s feelings, opinions, behaviours, reasons for behaviours, attitudes & beliefs.
This paper aims to review and compare three of the qualitative research methodologies: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), Discourse Analysis (DA) and Grounded Theory (GT), and identify how they can be applied in coaching research.
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is an experiential qualitative methodology developed by Jonathan Smith, for use in new psychology research areas such as health psychology.
Shaw (2010) states that, “The central objective of IPA is to understand what personal & social experiences mean to the people who experience them”. This is achieved through the exploration of the participants experiences from their own personal perspective, the process that they use to make sense of the experiences and the meaning that they attach to their experiences.
IPA acknowledges that this exploration cannot be achieved independent of the researchers own perceptions and view of the world. The result is that IPA presents the researcher’s interpretation of the participant’s experience.
IPA uses open and non-directive questions within semi-structured interviews, or diary work (written, audio or video) with the researchers using the actual transcript to perform the analysis.
Discourse Analysis (DA)
“. . . an analysis of discourse is a scholarly analysis only when it is based on more or less explicit concerns, methods or theories. Merely making “common sense” comments on a piece of text or talk will seldom suffice in such a case. Indeed, the whole point should be to provide insights into structure, strategies or other properties of discourse that could not readily be given by naïve recipients”.
Discourse Analysis is a research methodology used within health psychology to explore the use of language through the analysis of the written, spoken and signed language, whilst acknowledging that the researchers viewpoint or discourse is also in play.
Whilst Gee, theorises that DA involves the analysis of the seven building task of language construction; significance, activities, identities, relationships, politics, connections, and sign systems and knowledge.
Willig, proposes that DA aims to enable the researcher to understand how the participants construct their own personal reality of everyday situations and requires analysis of text, deconstructing the text into themes, or discourses, focusing on whether the themes are self-related or participant-subjective.
Grounded Theory (GT)
"Theory which is derived inductively...