[Air-L] qualitative analysis for hypothesis generation and testing

Todd Harper laevantine at gmail.com
Tue Oct 25 05:11:44 PDT 2011

I think you're right in that a more qualitative approach is good for the
sort of exploratory research it sounds like you're doing. In general you
probably want to move away from conceptualizing this as "hypothesis testing"
and more toward thinking of it as exploring research questions. Qualitative
inquiry is usually less good at saying "this is definitively true or false"
and much better at giving you a picture of lived experience is within your
focus, either through artifacts or speaking with/observing people directly.

Instead of framing your question as "[x] statement" and proving it true or
false, you instead as "How do the implicit and explicit assumptions of users
affect their approach to privacy?" and run with the ball from there.

this was among the first qualitative research texts I ever used and I
thought it was really valuable.

another possibility, if this is an update to the book I'm thinking of (the
cover used to have a picture of pebbles on it, I think?) Sorry, just got up
and my recall's not the best.

Hope this was of some help to you.

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 4:05 AM, Seda Guerses <sguerses at esat.kuleuven.be>wrote:

> i have a question about qualitative analysis methods. colleagues and i are
> studying different approaches to privacy within computer science. we want to
> analyze how they differ based on their implicit and explicit assumptions as
> well as their objectives. based on previous research, we already have some
> hypotheses about privacy research within computer science. in part of our
> study we want to use qualitative methods to inquire whether our hypotheses
> hold. we also plan to do content analysis to elicit further themes which may
> not be captured with our hypotheses. i am wondering if there are
> papers/books on qualitative analysis methods that could help us frame and
> design our study?
> it is not usual or accepted within my subfield of computer science to use
> qualitative methods, so all recommendations and tips are very welcome.
> thank you,
> s.
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Todd Harper
Postdoctoral Researcher, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab --
laevantine at gmail.com

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