Advantages of interviews – face-to-face and telephone. The greatest advantage to face-to-face interviews is that it enables the gathering of more information and allows for deeper probing of those sharing their experience. The face-to-face nature of the interviews has the added advantage of providing information beyond the words uttered. Body language, tone and other social cues enhance the meaning of the experience shared by the participant (Opdenakker, 2006). Furthermore, semi-structured interviews, when conducted well, provide a forum for the participants to elucidate on their responses. It allows for the expansion of their interpretation of the experience (Opdenakker, 2006). Semi-structured interviews have the added benefit of the conversation not only guided by the researcher but allows space for any topics that emerge.
Focus groups share many similarities to individual interviews in terms of offering meaningful data. What they add is bringing together a group of people with a shared
experience (Given, 2008). Similarly, the conversations can be semi-structured and steered by the researcher, but rather than learning more about the individual participant, the group setting allows for a range of perspectives (Given, 2008).
Telephone interviews have the advantage of flexibility. They can be conducted at any convenient time, without travel involved, and offer a greater level of confidentiality than face-to-face (Opdenakker, 2006). The disadvantage is the reduced ability for the researcher to observe social cues, specifically body language.
38 Disadvantages of interviews. The risk for bias in conducting interviews relates to participants providing socially accepted responses (Davis, Couper, Janz, Caldwell, & Resnicow, 2010). Positive self-promotion can occur to increase the sense of reward or to avoid negative consequences (Davis et al., 2010). Regarding focus groups, there are some arguments over whether participants are further biased by the inclusion of other interviewees (Given, 2008). Moreover, the presence of the interviewer can impact on how questions are answered. Interviewer error occurs because the same interview administered by different interviewers could evoke entirely different responses (Davis et al., 2010). Face-to-face
interviews eliminates anonymity, which can impact on participation. Another drawback is the time involved in travel and participation.
Other research designs considered. The initial concept of the survey was to collect data from Before School Check nurses nationwide. However, this was deemed impracticable due to the scope and duration required for this type of data collection/analysis. Additionally, the original idea for the interviews was to talk to the parents/caregivers of children that had been identified as ≥98th BMI percentile and referred for this. This was rejected to avoid adding further pressure on these parents/caregivers.
2.5 Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics. The use of descriptive statistics was chosen as a method because it uses numerical and graphical techniques to classify, present and analyse data (Fisher & Marshall, 2009). The application of this method in the analysis of the survey defined measures of percentages and frequency of Likert scale data.
Qualitative thematic analysis. A thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to ascertain the major themes and features drawn from the answers provided in the
39 communicating with parents/caregivers of high weight children. In addition, thematic
analysis allowed for the identification of themes and patterns that emerged from the interview data in the processes for handling children’s weight problems.
Thematic analysis is a clearly defined six step process that involves repeated reading of the text and constant transformation of words spoken into major themes. It is easy to learn and with supervision, can be easy to implement. It is clearly explained and is therefore easy to learn for a novice researcher (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The six steps involve; transcribing data with initial ideas noted; coding the data with a systematic approach to begin organising themes; identifying themes from coded data and other potential sources; reviewing themes by checking through the coded data and producing a thematic map of the analysis; defining and naming themes; and producing the final report of the analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
Coding and identification of themes is a process that needs to be thorough and inclusive as it is the integral phase of thematic analysis. Organisation of the raw data is fundamental to the overall process of analysis (Tuckett, 2005). When coding is done systematically across the entire data set, chunks of data relating to the research question are identified. These can vary in size from one line to many lines of data. Coded data can be coded more than once and can overlap. Any data that is deemed relevant is coded. It is important for coding to be concise and attempt to capture the underlying meaning of the data item (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Constant reviewing and repeated reading is crucial during this part of thematic analysis.
Software can be used for the coding process, but it is quite common for hard-copy data with chunks of highlighted text to be used for coding. For this project, hard-copy data was coded initially before applying the cut and paste features in Microsoft Word and Excel.
40 Pieces of coded data were extracted from the entire data set and assembled in tables (both Excel and Microsoft Word) according to themes.
Thematic analysis is deemed a flexible approach that can be used across a range of qualitative research. As this analysis is data-driven, thematic analysis was considered the most appropriate approach because the research aimed to provide a comprehensive account of the participants’ views as opposed to determining a theoretical perspective (Cooper &
American Psychological, 2012). This inductive approach meant the codes and themes were governed by the substance of the data (Cooper & American Psychological, 2012).
Nonetheless, as the literature suggests, it is difficult to remain strictly inductive because the researcher will inevitably bring preconceived ideas to the data (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Therefore, the phenomenological approach to the project, acknowledges the researcher’s understanding as part of the analysis process (Matua & Van Der Wal, 2015).