Student Responses Week 3

Answer each question seperately- do you agree or disagree and provide references


Topic 3 DQ 1

A doctoral learner has decided to do a qualitative descriptive study for his/her proposed dissertation research study topic because it is believed to be the best approach to address the research questions. The researcher’s choices of data sources for this particular study are to conduct interviews, to create and administer an open-ended questionnaire, and to review journal entries of the participants in the sample. Will these data sources generate the breadth and depth of the data necessary for this design? Why or why not? What challenges might the researcher encounter in collecting data from these sources? Explain.


There are three components that are included for the research study topic. 1. Interviews, which can be structured. 2. Open-ended questionnaires, which could be semi-structured. 3. Journal entries, which could be unstructured. I do believe that there is potential for a researcher to have what they need due to the three components and the variability of the three approaches that may be used for this descriptive study. What leads me to believe this is due to the use of journey entries. “Journaling helps students engage in introspection and analyze situations critically” (Schuessler et al., 2012). Alt et al. (2020), points out that, “unstructured entries were largely descriptive” (Alt et al., 2020). Which could then be interpreted and or mean that it is through the journey entries a researcher may be able to obtain or uncover information that an individual may not disclosure (because they may be uncomfortable, or the questions were not structured in a such a way to bring about the information) in an interview or through an open-ended questionnaire.


DeMarrais (2004) defines a research interview as “a process in which a researcher and participant engage in a conversation focused on questions related to a research study” (p. 55). Most qualitative research studies’ data are collected through interviews. Additionally, collective or group formats may also be utilized (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). The person-to-person interview is the most common form, where one person elicits information from another (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016).

In an unstructured or informal interview, the open-ended questions provide a forum for open conversation where the interviewer can ensure a wide range of topics are covered. Merriam and Tisdell (2016) also share that highly structured interviews in qualitative research with rigid predetermined questions, may not allow participants’ full perspectives and understandings. These limitations are challenges the doctoral learner should continue to evaluate throughout the process to ensure they are not too limited with variety of data. Merriam and Tisdell (2016) note that asking good questions is key to obtaining meaningful data. Interview questions can ask for opinions, experiences, knowledge, feelings, and follow-up questions are important to assist in complete answers to pre-determined questions. An additional challenge may present when participants are not willing or able to discuss the topic related the question (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016), putting the collection of data at limits for the doctoral student.    


Researchers can gain a better understanding of the phenomenon being researched by using one-on-one interviews, performing observations, and evaluating papers and artifacts. Participant interviews, open-ended questionnaires, and journal articles provide the data required for qualitative descriptive research (Bouncken et al., 2021). In terms of acquiring data to validate a phenomenon or objective, researchers gather the information through questionnaires, interviews, assessments, and observations (Hands, 2022). Researchers can obtain detailed, rich responses from participants, evaluate responses, and gain a better understanding of the phenomenon by asking open-ended questions.

One of the many challenges a researcher may encounter in using these data sources, such as interviews, open-ended questionnaires, and journal reviews, is a lack of relevant experience (Hands, 2022). For example, good interviewing skills don’t just involve asking questions at random. Instead, they involve asking questions with the goal of getting detailed answers. Questionnaires should only be used if they have been tested for validity and reliability and the researcher knows how to use them appropriately (Hands, 2022). When reviewing journal entries, researchers should consider their efficiency in conducting thematic analysis. 

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