This class is about qualitative research By now, you’ve carefully conducted a one-hour semi-structured interview, transcribed it, and coded it. At this point, you should have a very good idea about your respondent’s educational experiences, as well as your respondent’s thoughts and perceptions about a variety of issues. Your final assignment for this course is to write a research paper (we’ll call it a memo) that presents preliminary findings from the interview project conducted by students in your section. Your research memo will utilize data from your interview and the interviews of three additional respondents (conducted by students in your section). Note that there are no page minimums but typically this assignment requires 7-10 pages (double spaced). Do not exceed 15 pages (excluding the table/references). What is a memo? Analytic memos are analyses that describe what you are learning from your qualitative data. Researchers use memos to flesh out concepts and patterns that emerge from their data during the coding process. You can think of this research memo as a research paper that presents emerging or preliminary findings. This is your opportunity to demonstrate what you’ve learned about qualitative research methods and about how to use qualitative data. Your final memo will examine a research question or a theme and use data from four interview transcripts (yours plus the transcripts of three additional respondents) to engage with the theme you have identified. You can explore any question or theme that interests you, provided that it is covered by our interviews. For example, you might consider respondents’ divergent perspectives about feelings of belonging on campus, respondents’ different orientations towards office hours, or look at respondents’ initial perspectives about UCLA to their perspective now. You can choose respondents who share characteristics you think are important (all first-gen students, or all international students, for example) or you can compare respondents across some characteristic you think might account for variation in the theme you’re exploring. Some comparisons could include: students who study on north campus vs. south campus, transfer students vs. students who matriculated as freshmen, students w/ full-time jobs vs. students w/o them, etc. You must have a rationale behind your selection– don’t pick randomly (randomly selecting from a nonrandom sample doesn’t make sense!). There are many possibilities, so it’s up to you to decide. What goes in your paper? (The following sections can be paper headings)
Introduction: Written in the tone of an academic research paper, your introductory paragraph will introduce the theme (or research question) that the research memo addresses and explain why it’s important (or of interest)
Background/Literature Review: Your literature review should have at least two sources and one of them will be “No Harm in Asking.” The second article should be a relevant academic peer-reviewed qualitative article that has been published in the last twenty years. You will summarize each article’s methods and findings and explain how the theme or question you’re examining builds on or departs from the findings in each article. [This section will be 3-4 paragraphs] Methods & Analysis: In this section you will thoroughly describe all steps and research procedures that were part of this study from data collection to data analysis, explain why semi-structured interviews are an appropriate method for this analysis (cite Hermanowicz!), and explain the logic by which you selected the additional respondents you chose for this paper. [This section is typically 1-2 pages] Research steps and procedures should include and explain: the interview guide, your respondent selection, consent, conducting your interview, establishing rapport, transcribing your interview, coding your interview, any steps you took to mask your respondent, and how you compared/contrasted across respondents. Your table of respondent characteristics can go here. I only need you to make introduction, background/literature review, and methods & analysis.
The 4 transcrips I chose are R2 (Asian but was born in America), R19 (Asian and was born in Singapore), R4 (Hispanic), and for the fourth one, you can pick either R10 or R11 (both Hispanic). They are all not American ethnicity students and based on the interview, the Asians are financially well off right now vs the Hispanics that are struggling. All mostly have immigrant parents or have background story of parents growing up poor. However, Asian parents went to college and Hispanics parents didn’t go. So, for the theme I’m thinking to talk about parents expectation of college and college preparation (because all Asian parents are strict about going to college, meanwhile the mexican parents are not: they don’t even tell the kids about college from early age). R2 is mine.