We use qualitative methods in survey design and for stand-alone projects. In addition to forming the base for qualitative studies of many types, focus groups are used to explore new issues or topics which are poorly understood and are a useful starting point for questionnaire design. As a tool to identify needs, to discover what people think when they make decisions, and to help understand why people think the way they do, focus groups are also useful in program and policy evaluation in all types of organizations.
Cognitive testing for questionnaire design utilizes think aloud interviews in which respondents are asked to describe what goes through their minds as they answer survey questions. Recordings or transcriptions of their accounts are used to assess and improve survey questions.
ISR also offers a number of short qualitative research methods courses, such as:
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Interpreting and Reporting Qualitative Data: An Overview
- Conducting Focus Groups for Social Research
- Using Computers in Qualitative Analysis: An NVivo 12 Workshop
ISR can also provide assistance to faculty members at various stages of their qualitative research process, including assisting with overall qualitative research design, assisting with in-depth questionnaire design, conducting in-depth interviews (telephone or in-person), interview transcription, NVivo data analysis, and/or writing summary reports. In the past, ISR has assisted faculty members with the completion of various large scale SSHRC-funded projects, including, the Canadians and the Past Project (2013), and Ministry of Ontario funded project, the YouthRex (2015, 2020) project. In addition, ISR research team conducts focus groups for York University’s annual Cyclical Program reviews, and for special-topic projects, such as for York’s Office of the Vice Provost Academic Working Group on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.