1. Identify and briefly describe the focus of a potential qualitative research studythe study may be one that you are planning to undertake but does not have to be.
2. Identify two previous qualitative research studies relating to the research study you have set out (see note below)
3. Explain what you have learnt from the methodological approach adopted bythese research studies.
The development of the mental health care services in Saudi Arabia is recommendable. This development has taken place over a period. ( Fish 1990), says that the story of “the development of mental health care in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one that other countries in the middle east and all over the world can learn from as they transformed it into state-of –the-art systems adapted to the challenges of the 21st century.” However, despite this development, many people in Saudi Arabia are reluctant and rarely do they seek mental health services in hospitals. This study will explore the reluctance of people to seek mental health services in Saudi Arabia. The reasons behind the reluctance and other related issues will be discussed in details. This will lay a platform for further research and improvements.
Discussion of selected studies related to the topic of interest
This paper will discuss two qualitative studies. The first study is by (Raza 2016) which discusses the influence of religious beliefs on experiences of stress in Muslim women. The second study is by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), which discusses the relationship between religion and obsessive-compulsive disorder to determine whether religion is the cause of the illness. Although the two studies are not based on the same subject, their primary goal is focused on mental health and they are both qualitative studies hence they strongly relate to my research topic.
The main objectives of carrying out each study are very well stated and explained. In the first study by (Raza 2016), tries to examine whether religious beliefs affect the decisions of help seeking and experiences of some psychological beliefs such as stress. In the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), the researcher tries to examine the experience of some illness among the Muslim women and access the role of religion in such illness.
The two studies have not well explained the methodological approach they used to carry out the research. (Morse 1991) says that methodological approaches “should not be considered while doing a qualitative research since they are time-consuming and important data can also be collected even if they are not considered”. There is a tradition of using qualitative research on mental health since it makes the researchers confident of what they are doing and helps them come up with well-structured analysis (Maxwell 2012).
In the two studies despite not mentioning the methodological approach they have used, they have relied very much on interpretive description. (Hunt 2009) argues that interpretive “is a qualitative research methodology aimed at generating knowledge relevant for the clinical context of applied health disciplines”. Interpretive research is a good method to adopt when carrying out a qualitative research since it gives insights alongside with data (Henderson 1988).
Interpretive research method does not use very large samples but focuses on small samples, which makes it possible to apply methods of data collection like interviews and observations (Fish 1990). The methods for data collection used in interpretive research gives the researcher a good platform to well analyze the collected data since samples selected are small hence that minimizes the time taken during data collection (Sauntry and Gilbert 2001). The two studies have not well explained why they used this approach, however, many scholars prefer it for matters concerning health. In addition, from the literature given above from scholars, it is evident that this is one of the best methods to use while carrying out a qualitative research.
Organization of the field research
In the two chosen studies, interviews were the main tools for data collection. The interview is a verbal communication of two or more people with the objective of collecting relevant data for a research (Brinkmann 2014). In the first study by (Raza 2016), interviews were carried out directly on Muslim women and the researcher collected the data in the process of interviewing. The researcher has not explained well why interviews were used for data collection. Since this research needed responses and was based on opinions as given by the participants, this could be the reason for using interviews. In the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), interviews were also used for data collection. The interviews involved both open closed and open-ended questions and were focused on the areas like the history of presenting problems, religious coping, and religious development (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011).
In the first study by (Raza 2016), the participants were allowed to express their views freely but based on the interview questions. This allowed the researcher to get very rich and relevant data, which could give scientific information regarding the topic of study (Spradley 2016). In addition, in this study, the participants were assured of privacy of the data collected. In the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), interviews were carried out whereby each participant was given sixty to ninety minutes to participate. This helped the researcher to manage the time of data collection. It is a good aspect to set interview duration to allow humble time for each member to participate and to create time for data analysis (Cole and Bird 2013).
The first study by (Raza 2016), six participants were interviewed while in the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), fifteen participants were interviewed. The two studies are clear that the sample size was small. This made the researchers have humble time to interact with the subjects making it easy to collect quality data (Silverman 2016).
Despite scholars making it clear that interviews are among the best methods for data collection in a qualitative research, there are some challenges associated with this method. (Doody and Noonan 2013), argues that interviews “create a quantitative data and hence a lack of detail can be formed which means the interviewer may not be able to figure out why a certain participant reacted in a certain way”. Employing and training interviewers may be expensive and this makes the researcher spend many resources during data collection (Lewis 2015).
The process of including participants in the study
The process of selecting participants of any study can be done in different ways depending on the nature of the study. The two types of research that is qualitative and quantitative choose different approaches while selecting the participants. There should be a discussion by the researchers on which sampling method best fits the study (Patton 2005).
In the study by (Raza 2016), purposive sampling method was used to select the participants of the study. Purposive sampling is a non- probability method that is used to select participants of a study who have similar characteristics (Coyne 1997). In this study, six Muslim women were selected to participate in the interviews (Raza 2016). The participants were interviewed face to face either at the university or at their respective homes hence making them feel comfortable while sharing their experiences ( Raza 2016). This also helped the researcher to get quality and detailed data (Raza 2016).
In the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), the sampling method used for selection of participants was not well explained. However, the basic considerations while collecting the data were explained. These considerations included; a subjective account of religious symptoms, religious coping, religious development, and the role of religion in the treatment of mental symptoms (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011). Even though the researcher has not well explained the sampling method, it is evident from the basic considerations used to select the participants that the sampling method was purposive (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011). This is because the researcher selected the participants who had similar characteristics of the set considerations (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011). Fifteen young women were interviewed.
In both studies, the data was collected based on participants who had mental issues in the past and how they solved them. This shows that data from both studies was correlated. In addition, the participants of both studies were also interviewed based on their views about religion and mental health.
Transformation of the collected data into information
The next process of the transformation of the data into meaningful information usually called data analysis (Bailey and Gatrell 1995). In the first study by (Raza 2016), thematic analysis was used. Thematic analysis is a method of data analysis, which is commonly used to analyze qualitative data and is aimed at drawing patterns from data through the process of examining the data (Vaismoradi et al., 2013). The researcher began by preparing the data for analysis where the interviews were transformed to texts through typing in Microsoft word (Raza 2016). The data was then formatted so that margins could be used for identifying individual bits of data and after this process themes started to emerge (Raza 2016).
In the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), thematic analysis was also used. The data was first transformed from Arabic to English and then it was read three times (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011). In the process of reading the data, theoretical codes started to emerge (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011). At first, those codes were given low-level categories but as the reading of the interviews progressed, the linkage between low level-level codes and high-level codes started to emerge and hence themes also started to emerge (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011). These enabled the judge to be able to match quotes with the related themes (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011).
In both studies, ethical consideration was followed. In the study by (Raza 2016), it followed ethical guidelines by the British psychological society and Manchester metropolitan university. In these guidelines, the interviewees were required to sign the consent forms and submit before participating (Raza 2016). In the second study by (Al-solaim and Loewenthal 2011), the ethical guidelines are not well explained. However, the participants were assured of privacy and were allowed to choose where to be interviewed hence making them comfortable to participate. The participants were also allowed to withdraw anytime if they felt that the interviews were violating their rights. This created a conducive environment to carry out the interviews and collect data.
Effects of the acquired knowledge in my qualitative research
The knowledge acquired from the two studies examined has given me insights and enough experience to correctly determine the methodological approach I would use to carry out my qualitative research. The methods to use for data analysis and data collection will be based on the knowledge acquired.
I will adopt the method of interpretive research used in the two studies, which have been discussed. Interpretive research is a good way of doing qualitative research since it enables the researcher to be able to acquire enough knowledge from a given society and that makes it possible to get quality data which is not biased (Clark et al. 2013). This method also makes it possible for the researcher to acquire knowledge based on attitudes and reactions of the participants (Clark et al. 2013).
In my qualitative study, I will also use interviews as the main tool for data collection. Interview is the best method to acquire detailed information about personal feelings, perceptions, and opinions of people (Clark et al. 2013). These interviews will be carried out on individual participants in a private place. This will make it possible for the interviewees to express themselves freely without fear of embarrassment (Ritchie et al. 2013). Interviews also enable the researcher to choose the best participants since the researcher makes a judgment based on the subject’s behavior (Ritchie et al. 2013).
The quality of research is determined by the sampling method adopted by the researcher (Ritchie et al. 2013). In my research, I will use a purposive sampling method to select the participants. This sampling method does not include probability rather the subjects are chosen based on their similarity on certain characteristics developed by the researcher (Marshall et al. 2013). Purposive sampling method enables the researcher to reach the targeted group or subjects easily, hence its time effective (Marshall et al. 2013). In addition, purposive sampling allows the researcher to use different research designs (Marshall et al. 2013). It also gives the researcher good criteria to judge whether a participant should be included in the study based on his or her attitude regarding the study (Marshall et al. 2013). In this study, I will also advise the participants to be very specific regarding their experience on the topic. This will enable collection of quality data whose content does not go out of the topic of study (Marshall et al. 2013).
I will use thematic analysis in my qualitative study. I have chosen this method because it analyzes themes and is a good method if you want to understand a given study well (Marshall et al. 2013). In this method of data analysis, themes are the main categories for analysis (Aronson 1995). Thematic analysis is commonly used in analyzing clinical data (Aronson 1995). Since my research will be based on clinical data, I find this method one of the best to use. In addition, this method helps the researcher to build scientific arguments, which are testable by other researchers using scientific methods (Aronson 1995). It also makes data be analyzed in a systematic way and to avoid bias (Aronson 1995).
After a thorough study of the two studies, I have gained insight on how to carry out my qualitative study. I am able now to choose the methods I can use for data collection, the sampling methods I can use to select subjects of the study and the methods I can adopt for data analysis. In addition, I am also able to well explain the reasons behind choosing certain techniques and why I think they are the best to use. This will make it possible to correctly carry out my research.
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