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DBA 7102: Qualitative Research Methods I

 

Dr. Mary C. Lacity

Curators’ Distinguished Professor UMSL

Visiting Scholar, MIT

235 Computer Center Building

(314) 516-6127 (work)

mailto:mary.lacity@umsl.edu

http:/www.umsl.edu/~lacitym

 

COURSE MEETING TIMES:

 

Saturday January 20

Saturday February 10

Saturday April 14

10:15am to 5:00pm

10:15am to 5:00pm

10:15am to 5:00pm

WEEKLY OFFICE HOURS: Thursdays 5:45pm to 6:45pm, 235 ESH in person, on zoom, or by phone; Please bring any questions, struggles, or ideas to the professor’s attention at anytime.  

COURSE PREREQUISITES: Only students officially admitted to the UMSL DBA Program are allowed to register for class.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Doctoral level research requires the mastery of four knowledge domains:

1.     The philosophy of science to acknowledge one’s assumptions about the nature of social reality, the purpose of social science research and the researcher’s ethical obligations;

2.     The questions the researcher aims to investigate within a specific social science context;

3.     The research methods suitable for answering the research questions given the philosophical assumptions and research context

4.     The prior literature and theories that can help inform the research project.

Students also need strong oral and written communication skills to effectively share research findings with different audiences (e.g., academic, practitioner).

 

In the Qualitative Methods I and Scientific Inquiry in Business courses, students will begin to master all four knowledge domains and develop good communication skills.

 

Within the Qualitative Methods I course, students will pick the context they wish to study, pose what/when/why/how question(s) about the context that are suitable for investigation with qualitative research methods, collect two types of qualitative data (participant observation and interviews), analyze the data, and extract lessons from the analysis.  DBA students will also be exposed to some theories the professor uses in her research.

 

Within the Scientific Inquiry in Business, students will acknowledge their philosophical assumptions, become certified in ethical human subject research, conduct a literature search on their context, and identify theories that inform their research.

 

Bringing both courses together, students will hand in one completed research project that will be jointly graded by both Dr. Lacity and Dr. Mirchandani.

 

COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

 

Working alone or in groups, DBA students will design and execute a qualitative research project using two commonly used qualitative data collection techniques: interviews and participant observation (fieldwork). During the two courses, students will learn how to:

·         pose well-formed research questions,

·         position the research as a contribution to knowledge,

·         critically review the academic literature relevant to the student’s topic, including theories that inform the inquiry

·         defend the appropriateness of using qualitative research methods to answer the research question(s)

·         understand the philosophical assumptions underlying the inquiry

·         develop qualitative research instruments (such as an interview guide)

·         treat human subjects (i.e., participants) ethically

·         execute the research,

·         analyze the qualitative data

·         extract lessons for scholars and/or practitioners

·         communicate results orally and in writing

COURSE INSTRUCTOR:

 

Dr. Mary C. Lacity is Curators’ Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Visiting Scholar at MIT CISR.  She has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics, Washington University, and Oxford University. She is a Certified Outsourcing Professional ®, Industry Advisor for Symphony Ventures, and Co-editor of the Palgrave Series: Work, Technology, and Globalization. Her research focuses on the delivery of business and IT services through global sourcing and automation.  She has conducted case studies and surveys of hundreds of organizations on their outsourcing and management practices. She has given keynote speeches and executive seminars worldwide and has served as an expert witness for the US Congress.  She was inducted into the IAOP’s Outsourcing Hall of Fame in 2014, one of only three academics to ever be inducted. She was the recipient of the 2008 Gateway to Innovation Award sponsored by the IT Coalition, Society for Information Management, and St. Louis RCGA. She has published 26 books, most recently Robotic Process Automation and Risk Mitigation: The Definitive Guide (2017) and Service Automation: Robots and the Future of Work  (2016) (SB Publishing, UK, co-author Leslie Willcocks).  Her publications have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, MIS Quarterly, MIS Quarterly Executive, IEEE Computer, Communications of the ACM, and many other academic and practitioner outlets. 

GRADING AND DUE DATES:

 

It is vital DBA students plan time wisely. We will stick strictly to the class schedule to be sure DBA students finish the course project on time.

 

Assignment:

Grade %

Due Date:

Active class participation

10%

DBA student is prepared for class and actively participates in class discussions and activities.  (3.33 points per class)

Apply the Case Assignment worksheet –  Oral

January 20

Research Idea Assignment worksheet –  Oral

 

January 20

Apply the Case Assignment Final -Written

5%

January 22, 8am

Research Idea Assignment Final - Written

5%

January 22, 8am

Research Proposal worksheet – Oral

5%

Saturday February 10  

Research Proposal Assignment final – Written

10%

Monday February 29

Theory Landscape Assignment –  Written

10%

Monday March 19

Qualitative Research/Scientific Inquiry Project – Oral

5%

Saturday April 14

Qualitative Research/Scientific Inquiry Project – Written (This one research paper will be graded by both Dr. Mirchandani and Dr. Lacity)

50%

Saturday April 14

 

CLASS PARTICIPATION:

 

It is vital that students attend all face-to-face sessions. Please make attendance your number one priority. This class will only be valuable if each and every one of us makes a commitment to be prepared.  That means that each DBA student must have carefully read all the reading assignments prior to class and thoughtfully completed any required worksheets. The professor will assess the class participation grade based on session preparation, meaningful insights, plentiful comments, intellectual curiosity, and enthusiasm. In a rare circumstance that a DBA student has to miss class (such as an illness or family emergency), please contact the professor immediately.

 

COURSE MATERIALS:

 

Required readings for building qualitative research knowledge domain

Why this is a required reading

Image result for qualitative research in business and management Textbook: Myers, M. (2013), Qualitative Research in Business & Management, Sage Publications, Los Angles, 2nd edition.

This textbook on qualitative research methods is comprehensive, yet easy to read.  It elucidates upon:

·   the parts of a qualitative research project

·   four qualitative research methods (action research, case study research, ethnographic research, and grounded theory), 

·   three qualitative data collection techniques (interviews, participant observation, and documents),

·   methods for analyzing qualitative data, and

·   guidelines for writing results.

Lacity, M., Rottman, J., and Carmel, E. (2014), “Impact Sourcing: Employing Prison Inmates to Perform Digitally-enabled Business Services,” Communications of the AIS, Vol. 34.

We will use this reading on the first day of class to apply the concepts covered in the Myers Textbook;  Additionally, DBA students will add the theory of recidivism to their theoretical knowledge domain and impact sourcing to their context knowledge domain.

Lacity, M., and Janson, M. (1994), “Understanding Qualitative Data: A Framework of Text Analysis Methods,” Journal of Management Information Systems, 11(2): 137-155.

This article expands on the topic of text analysis methods introduced in Chapter 13 of the Myers textbook.  Additionally, DBA students will add speech act theory to their theoretical knowledge domain.

Sample interview guides & Voicethread

The professor will share sample interview guides and provide tips for getting rich answers from interviewees

 

 

Required readings/voicethreads for building theoretical knowledge domain

Why this is required material

Voicethread “Speed dating through my favorite theories” on major theories used in organizational studies.

DBA students will be exposed to a host of theories that may become useful to them in their doctoral level research.  Each DBA student will select one theory that interests them or is relevant to their research project for the Theory Landscape assignment.

 

 

Additional suggested readings from our own work expose DBA students to a variety of philosophical assumptions, qualitative research methods, and theories across several contexts and for academic, practitioner, and student audiences. 

 

Additional Suggested Readings

Why this is a suggested reading

Lacity, M., Rottman, J., and Carmel, E. (2015), “Prison Sourcing: “Doing Good” or “Good for Business?”  Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases, Vol. 4, pp. 99-106. And TEACHING NOTE

DBA students interested in careers as University Professors likely will be interested in learning how to write teaching cases and teaching guides; This article provides an example of a teaching case and guide based on the prison sourcing case study. 

Lacity, M., and Willcocks, L. (2016), “A New Approach to Automating Services,” Sloan Management Review, Vol. 57, 1, pp. 41-49.

This article provides an example of how to write up qualitative research for a top practitioner outlet; It is based on our case studies, interviews, and surveys on Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Lacity, M., Iyer, V., and Rudramuniyaiah, P. (2008), “Turnover Intentions of Indian IS Professionals,” Information Systems Frontiers, Special Issue on Outsourcing of IT Services, Vol. 10, 2, pp. 225-241.

This article provides an example of what two prior Ph.D. students were able to achieve in a qualitative research seminar.  They conducted 25 interviews with Indian IS professionals to learn about their turnover intentions; The three of us coded the transcripts, and the lead author did the writing for this particular outlet.  Vidya Iyer then extended this study for her dissertation research, “Understanding Turnover Intentions and Behavior of Indian IS Professionals: A Qualitative Study of Organizational Justice, Job Satisfaction and Social Norms”; DBA students will add theories of turnover to their theoretical knowledge domain.

Lacity. M., and Willcocks, L. (2017), “Conflict Resolution in Business Services Outsourcing Relationships,” The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 80–100.

This is an example of an emergent qualitative research process based on interviews with leaders of 32 BPO provider relationships. It is an example of searching for relevant theories AFTER data is collected.  This is published in a top academic journal.  DBA students will add theories of conflict resolution to their theoretical knowledge domain.

Lacity, M., and Rudramuniyaiah, P. (2009), "Funny Business: Public Opinion of Outsourcing and Offshoring as Reflected in U.S. and Indian Political Cartoons," Communications of the Association for Information Systems (CAIS), Vol. 24, Article 13, pp. 199-224.

I wanted to do a study based on a passion of mine: political cartoons. This project was intended with one goal in mind: HAVE FUN!  A student and I coded 165 political cartoons and extracted themes about offshoring from US and Indian perspectives; The article has been downloaded over 700 times. Although it is not frequently cited, I speculate the number of downloads means that other academics appreciate the fun as well! DBA students will add political cartoon theory to their theoretical knowledge domain and how to use and analyze secondary data (documentation) in qualitative research projects.

Lacity, M., Khan, S., and Yan, A (2016), “Review of the Empirical Business Services Sourcing Literature: An Update and Future Directions,” Journal of Information Technology, Vol. 31, 3. pp. 269-328.

A thorough literature review can result in several top quality publications and create a variety of outputs.  This outlet extracts two models based on a literature review of quantitative and qualitative articles and identifies gaps in knowledge. It is published in a top academic outlet.

Lacity, M., Willcocks, L., Khan, S. (2011), “Beyond Transaction Cost Economics: Towards an Endogenous Theory of Information Technology Outsourcing,” Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Vol 20, 2, pp. 139-157

This outlet used a subset of the above literature review of quantitative and qualitative articles to examine a particular theory, Transaction Cost Economics, and is published in a top academic outlet. Students will add Transaction Cost Economics to their theoretical knowledge domain.

 

PREVENTING PLAGIARISM

 

Please be familiar with the rules and regulations for academic honesty.  To check your papers for plagiarism, please submit your proposal and final paper to Turnitin available to all UMSL faculty and students through the Writing Center.

 

 

COURSE SCHEDULE:

 

Dates

Action

Learning Objectives

What is due

Weeks prior to start of class

Read closely Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of textbook.

 

Read closely Lacity, M., Rottman, J., and Carmel, E. (2014), “Impact Sourcing: Employing Prison Inmates to Perform Digitally-enabled Business Services,” Communications of the AIS, Vol. 34, Article 51.

 

Glance at Lacity, M., Rottman, J., and Carmel, E. (2015), “Prison Sourcing: “Doing Good” or “Good for Business? Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases, Vol. 4, pp. 99-106; This is a teaching case developed from the above prison sourcing article.

Become familiar with qualitative research design before the course starts

 

Apply general concepts from textbook to an actual research project that used a case study method based on interviews, direct observation and participant observation for data collection.

 

 

 

Saturday Jan 20

 

·   10:15 to 11:00 Course overview

·   11:00 to 12:00 Apply the concepts from text to prison sourcing case study

·   1:30 to 2:30  Apply the concepts from text

·   3:00 to 5:00 DBA students workshop/research pitches

 

Be prepared to discuss the prison case by filling in the “apply the case” worksheet. 

 

Come to class with 1 to 3 ideas as to what context you would like to investigate using qualitative research methods.  Please thoughtfully complete the “research idea” worksheet.

Monday Jan 22

 

 

Turn in final versions of Apply the Case and Research Idea Assignments online

Jan 21 to Feb 9

Read Chapter 10 of textbook, interviews

 

Read sample interview guides

Understand three types of interviews;

Identify potential problems;

Plan interviews;

Develop interview guides

Suggested: Fill in the interview part of the “qualitative research proposal” worksheet

Read Chapter 11 of textbook, participant observation/fieldwork

Understand types of fieldwork;

Learn two types of fieldwork traditions;

Plan fieldwork

Suggested: Fill in the participant observation/fieldwork part of the “qualitative research proposal” worksheet

Saturday Feb10

DBA students present research proposal, 20 minutes each student

 

Bring draft of completed Research Proposal to class.

Monday February 19 8:00am

Check draft for plagiarism by using the Turnitin software

 

Turn in completed Research Proposal Assignment online

Feb 20 to March 19

 

Watch voice thread “Speed dating through my favorite theories”

 

Read required reading from theory of choice

 

Complete Theory Landscape Assignment

 

Become exposed to a number of theories that may be useful to current or future research.

Turn in completed “Theory Landscape” Assignment by 8am Monday March 19 online

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 20 to April 14

·   Schedule and execute interviews and fieldwork

·   Transcribe interviews

Gain experience in qualitative data collection

Suggested: Fill in the data collection part of the qualitative research/scientific inquiry research project

Read Chapters 13 to 16 in textbook on Analyzing Qualitative Data

 

Read Lacity, M., and Janson, M. (1994), “Understanding Qualitative Data: A Framework of Text Analysis Methods,” Journal of Management Information Systems, 11(2): 137-155.

 

Glance at Lacity, M., Iyer, V., and Rudramuniyaiah, P. (2008) for examples of coding interviews; (unit of analysis was the individual)

 

Glance at Lacity. M., and Willcocks, L. (2017), for examples of coding BPO relationships. (unit of analysis was the client/supplier relationship).

Learn different ways to analyze text data;

 

Select an appropriate method(s) to analyze your own data

 

Apply the selected methods to analyze your transcribed interviews

Suggested: Fill in the data analysis part of the qualitative research/scientific inquiry research project

Read Chapter 17 in textbook on writing up results

Learn to write for an academic audience

Check draft for plagiarism by using the Turnitin software; Complete research qualitative Research/Scientific Inquiry Project

Saturday April 14

DBA students present final project

20 minutes each

Final Qualitative Research/Scientific Inquiry Project Oral Presentation and Written Paper Due

 

 

By the end of the course, DBA students will have gained knowledge and experience in four knowledge domains: