Violet Spinning Apple

2005 Methods Lectures

Team 1 final report
team 2 final report
team 3 final report
team 4 final report
team 5 final report
team 6 final paper
team 7 final report
syllabus for Women's Studies International 2009
questions for interview
consent letter for interviewees
how to have a chat online
PLA techniques (genograms etc)
message on writing from Margaret Atwood

some of the lecture notes will posted here for research methods class

Research Question

How are stigmas regarding HIV/AIDS gendered?

*What do people believe about women and men living with HIV/AIDS?

*Do those beliefs stigmatize people living with HIV/AIDS?

*Is the stigma gendered? Are beliefs about women and men who are HIV+ different?


Defining Stigma

Belief that people with a particular characteristics (in this case HIV/AIDS) are socially undesirable and therefore it is okay to devalue and discriminate against them.


Lecture: Literature reviews by judy aulette

Why do a lit review?

Shows the reader that you are a scholar in the field—that you know what the important issues are, what has gone on before you—that you know and understand the issues and that you have given them critical thought.


More practical reasons:

Need to know what has already been done (not just to show you are a scholar)

So you do not duplicate—okay to come very close but not very useful if you do exactly the same thing (unless the purpose is to see if the results were an aberration, ie., replicate to validate) 

So you can learn from what is already out there


What can you learn from what is already out there?

Theoretical perspectives: how people think about the issues you are interested in

Methodological information: what techniques have been used to gather information on the issues you are interested in

Empirical information: what is known about the issues you are interested in


Time consuming task: like sifting for diamonds

Must find information that is useful to you

Must find information that is not useful so you can safely discard it.


Step 1: identify the topics you will search

In this project you are given the place to start but you will need to refine according to your own interests (who are your subjects) and your critical reading of the information.





Step 2: Find the documents

Electronic sources in library

Women’s studies abstracts

Must be scholarly sources:

From a legitimate source (safest bet is journals)

Coherent argument

Based on methodical collection of evidence to back up argument


Step 3: summarize the documents

Write in your own words what the main argument is

Make a critical comment

Explain how it related to your proposed project


Step 4: Write a lit review synthesizing the documents you have prepared

Not a string of book reports (that is step 3)

Same format as a classic essay


Points 1-x (dominant understanding, challenging views, critical issues, less critical ones)

   It is a bad sign if every paragraph begins with the name of a new author.  Do not organize by author, organize by theme.

How do points 1-x fit together

Possible challenges



Technical details.


Cite everything that is not common knowledge or is not your own idea.

If you quote another source, that is good.  It shows that you are a scholar because you know what other scholars are doing and writing.

BUT you must give them credit.


If you paraphrase (author,date)

If you quote “quotation marks around entire quote” (author, ate, p.x)

When you name author use both names the first time and last name only after that.  After author’s name put date in parenthesis after the name. 


Bibliography should include a full citation of all works cited


Style: any accepted style is okay, apa, mla, asa—be consistent


Informed Consent by judy aulette


 History of informed consent

Nazis performed horrific experiments on prisoners in concentration camps.

Nuremberg Codes were first international documents advocating voluntary participation and informed consent.

1950s in US new and continued highly unethical research: Thalidomide, Tuskegee

1970s clamp down
 Institutions established rules and committees to oversee research
participants must be informed (know what research is about) and must give their consent 
Researchers must prepare two documents
1. ethical statement describing how they will protect participants in the study to give to human subjects committee
2. letter to give to participants explaining the research and asking for their consent
Protected populations (varies): under l8, aged, recent immigrants, mentally ill, might legally or ethically compromise  
Requirements of documents
must tell participants what research is about and what will be done with it. 
Must be free to withdraw at any time without repercussions. 
Must agree without coercion (including pay)
Must identify potential problems: physical, emotional and social. 
More requirements:
* done in private
* no names
* no identifiers
* exceptions: criminal behavior
Special rules about NGOs in South Africa
* Same protection as individuals
* Have right to review



Methodology connotes a set of rules and procedures to guide research against which its claims can be evaluated and understood.

It is thus fundamental to the construction of all forms of knowledge and provides the tool whereby understanding is created (Daly, 2003). Methodology is centrally concerned with how we as researchers conceptualize, theorize and make abstractions as it is with techniques or methods that we utilize to assemble and analyze information.

Of particular importance is the realization that the methods and techniques are chosen as part of a broader package. It is widely accepted that the method involves a set of standards that should be aspired to. Less widely acknowledged is the fact that assumptions and values underlie all methods as well as a particular view of how we are to understand the social world (Daly, 2003).



Numerous social researches have commented on the fact that one of the most obvious problems that we have with social science research debates is that concept of research methodology.


Pretorius (2002) asserts that it means different things to different people but that it is used as though there is consensual meaning attached to it.


He states (Pretorius, 2002) that the term methodology as we use it refers to the concrete modus operandi of doing research as well as the methodological models that influence the concrete research decisions.


Traditionally methodological approaches can be subsumed under two main paradigms, namely qualitative and quantitative (Daly, 2003; Pretorius 2002). Rabinowitz and Weseen (2000) states that qualitative and quantitative methods have been variously defined and the debate about the value and use of each have swirled within and around psychology for well over two decades. 


Distinctions are made on the level of research technique as well as the theoretical underpinnings.


Babbie and Mouton (2000) suggest that the selection of a method is dependent on the aims and objectives of the study, the nature of the phenomenon and the underlying theory.




The participants in this study were boys between the ages of 14-16 years attending schools in the Western Cape. Morrell (2001) postulates that the stages through which boys become men are a source of great anxiety and a rite of passage.



We selected schools with different racial, linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds. We also distinguished between rural and urban schools. Lindegger and Durrheim (2001) state that the rural-urban divides are important sites for studying different masculinities.



In this way we assured that we had participants across the historical divides of apartheid as well as rural-urban divide. We theorized that boys in the rural areas would be more in tune with the traditional or cultural notions of masculinity as opposed to urban boys who have been exposed to different influences and ideas of masculinity.


We used a purposive sampling method  (Babbie & Mouton, 2000; Terre Blanche  & Durrheim, 1999) to select boys to participate in the study. Purposive sampling is a sampling method that selects cases that meet particular criteria (Neuman, 2000). In this study the sampling method is appropriate since the participants are required to meet certain inclusive criteria viz, adolescent (14-16 year old) school going and male.


Collecting Information/Data Collection


Data was collected from focus group interviews with seven groups of boys from seven different Secondary schools in the Western Cape. Each focus group consisted of between 8-12 boys.  According to Morgan (1990) the number of participants is suitable for a focus group because it is large enough to ensure that the focus group does not fall flat if some members are silent and small enough to manage and provide everyone an opportunity to participate. 




Permission was requested from the Western Cape Education Department for schools in the Cape Peninsula to participate in this study.


Interpretation of information

Transcriptions were done from all the videotapes. The video recordings were used to analyze body language. The transcripts were analyzed by means of the process of discourse analysis. Potter and Wetherall (1987) conception of interpretive repertoires was used as a primary framework of analyzing the transcripts.

Ethical considerations



According to Terre Blanche and Durrheim (1999) children are a special population and as such particular care must be taken to respect their rights.  Since the principal of each school gave his/her consent, particular attention was given to ensure that learners were informed of the research and that their participation was completely voluntary. 


Significance of the study


Research with respect to gender issues has primarily focused on women with few studies done on men, particularly in South Africa.



 When undertaking a qualitative study, the researcher is both the instrument and the medium of doing the research. Thus his or her influence on the data needs to be recognized. 




In this chapter I provided an overview of how (methodology), where and with whom this study was conducted.  I also provided the ontological and epistemological assumptions of the method employed.


 Research paradigms and feminist methods by judy aulette

Paradigms in social science research

•1. Inductive or deductive?

•Deductive starts with theory then collects empirical data to “test” the theory. Logic: abstract to concrete.

•Inductive starts with empirical data and develops theories to understand and explain.  Logic: concrete to abstract.

•Your project is inductive. 


Qualitative or quantitative?

•Quantitative means you collect numbers

•How many did one thing or another.

•Useful to establish reliability

•Reliability means representativeness.

•Analyze through statistical procedures

•Usually large samples and representative samples

•Hypothesis testing, often deductive

Qualitative means you collect words to describe the qualities of what you are studying: ideas, behavior, emotions, etc.

• Useful to establish validity

•Validity is the “truthfulness” of the information you gather, eg, what is stigma?

•Analyze by searching for themes

•Usually smaller samples, not representative.

•Your project is qualitative


Positivist, intepretive or constructionist?


•Study objective reality

•Researcher is detached observer

•Usually quantitative, hypothesis testing

•Problem: ignores multiple realities, different ways of experiencing the “same” world.

•Problem: Researcher controls study and misses the real situation

•Problem: Researcher shapes findings but pretends to be invisible


•Study what participants perceive or experience as objective reality

•Researcher acknowledge that the way s/he sees world and participates in research influences findings.  Not outside observer.

•Usually qualitative

•Problem: the view of the participants might not be representative and may be biased in misleading ways

•Problem: view of participants might not be critical, politically savvy

•Problem: Objective reality exists but not acknowledged

•Your paper may be interpretive




•Study what society has constructed as reality and how people experience it

•Researcher is not detached, acknowledges critical suspicious view of “reality”

•Often qualitative but not necessarily

•Problem: objective reality exists

•Problem: interpretation dominated by researcher rather than participants

•Your research may be constructionist


Principles of feminist methodologies


•Feminists use broad range of methodologies.

•1. Replace the “view from above” with “view from below”.

•How? Ask “invisible” people: women, working-class people, racial ethnic people, and children.

•Why? Provides better understanding of those who have been ignored, censored, or oppressed. Gives us a more accurate picture of society by including them.

•2. Level hierarchies in research process. Blur lines between researcher and researched.

•How? Examine people’s experience from their point of view. Conduct research with the people whose lives are being examined: incorporate participants into the creation and implementation of research projects and decisions about use made of the findings.

•3. Integrate research and social action with the intention of changing the status quo. Not “value free”


writing proposals and interviewing participants Aulette


Questions to ask in the interviews

1.  How well informed do you feel you are about HIV/AIDS?

2.  How well do you think the people in your community are informed about HIV/AIDS? 

3.  How is HIV/AIDS different from other illnesses? 

      4.  Why is the rate so high in this area?

      5.  What do you think women should do to reduce the rates of HIV/AIDS?

6.  What should men do?

7.  Do you think that people who are living with HIV/AIDS are to blame for their illness?

8.  Do you think that men are more to blame or women are more to blame?  And why?

9.  How do the people in your community treat women living with HIV/AIDS?

     10. What about mothers living with HIV/AIDS?

11. How do they treat men living with HIV/AIDS?

12. What do you think about the way people living with HIV/AIDS are treated in your community?

13. What do you think should be done to challenge the negative ideas people in your community have about people living with HIV/AIDS?



Research Question:
How are stigmas about HIV/AIDS gendered


1.What do people believe about women and men living with HIV/AIDS?

2. Do those beliefs stigmatize people living with HIV/AIDS?

3. Is the stigma gendered, does it differ for women and men?

 important definition: Stigma is belief that people with a particular characteristics (in this case HIV/AIDS) are socially undesirable and therefore it is okay to devalue and discriminate against them.



Interview techniques

•1. You must get people to talk:

       What do you mean? Tell me a little more about. . . Can you give me an example

•You must keep people focused on the question.

•You must TAPE RECORD interviews

•Use the questions we give to you


Proposal outline

1. Cover page   Name   Title   10 key words

2.Abstract (100- 500 words quickly explaining what you will be investigating) 

3.Aims of the research (In general terms what question are you examining?) 1/2 page 

4.Rationale (why is this an important topic practically and theoretically) 1/2 page 

5.Literature Review (framework of the research) 5 pages 

6.Research Questions (similar to aims but more specific.  list the main question and subquestions. See the website for this information) 1/2 page 

7.Delimitation of the study 1/2 page (how you have focused your topic and will not be investigating certain issues.  For example, in this research you will not be looking at the experience of being stigmatized since you will not be asking people about their HIV status)

  8.Interpretations of key terms: in this case, gender, stigma, HIV/AIDS and what it means to say that stigmas about people living with HIV/AIDS are gendered. 1 page 

9. Research design( what is a methodology? what will you be using (in-depth interviews)? why?   

10. Research methods 2 pages (what exactly will you be doing? participants and procedures) 

11. Ethics statement 1/2 page 

12. Chapter outline 

13. Bibliography/works cited   

14. Appendix A: Letter of informed consent 

15. Appendix B: questions for interviews (be sure to pick these up in class or from Charlene in WGS)   


Analyzing Qualitative Data

Next assignment

5 transcripts


          Each transcript is typed page with questions and answers you recorded on the tapes

Fake name at top

Question 1

Answer participant gave to number 1



Do in groups (research on group work)

BUT your report/analysis should only include your five interviews


Steps to creating an analysis

1. Read through all five transcripts

Write down any themes that stand out

Put each theme on a separate slip of paper

2.  Read through each individual interview

Write down any themes that stand out.

Put each theme on a separate slip of paper

3.  Read through each question for all of the participants

Write down any themes that stand out

Put each theme on a separate slip of paper.

4.  What themes do you think might emerge?

Brainstorm in teams then suggest

Feelings: Anger, fear, sympathy,

Images: Distancing or othering, Women as promiscuous, Men as trouble makers

Victims, Helpless, Courageous, Heroic

Actions: individuals, families, government

Sources of information: public sources, print, tv, schools, individuals, unusual sources

5.  Put aside the transcripts and organize the little slips of paper with themes.

Put into piles that fit together (all these seem to be about emotions)

Name the piles.  What concept or issue do these seem to represent?

6.  Choose two or three “piles” that seem most interesting: surprising, not surprising, some special interest you have, something you know about the community you chose (think about your literature review too)

7.  Think about how the two or three piles fit together

8. Write a paragraph describing each pile

9. put paragraphs into logical order

10.  write a paragraph that introduces the piles.  “I found three key themes in analyzing the transcripts.  The first was  …”

11. Write a paragraph explaining the connections among the piles—a conclusion

12.  put paragraphs in order: introduction, pile 1 paragraph, pile 2 paragraph, conclusion.

13.  Go back to the transcripts and put in a quote or two into each paragraph illustrating theme/pile 1 in paragraph 1, theme 2 in paragraph 2 and a quote into the conclusion paragraph that illustrates the combination.

14.  read your literature review on gender, stigma and HIV/AIDS and ways these fit together.

15. Did anything in the literature connect to your piles and or to conclusion?

 Support ideas or contrast with them 

16. write a paragraph showing connection between your results and the literature review you wrote.


click on these helpful sites for rules about citations and bibliographies: