One problem I see with all of the data and communication tools available to students is the lack of training on how to problem solve and conduct an analysis. In recent years, I have had to dedicate at least one entire class in how to conduct and analysis, and give a lot of support to students as they do their own analysis.
The idea came to me, as I was reading, that I could use the framework presented in the book to help develop analytical skills in my students and to help them to learn to construct knowledge from data by:
- learning how to collect relevant data. This requires skills in:
- document retrieval
- story telling
- interpersonal communication skills
- searching skills
- creating links between content and perception
- the ability to see the other person's perception
Since initial coding requires constant interaction with the data as it is collected, it is a better mechanism to identify gaps in the data early and to construct theory that is less biased (less likely to look for data that supports the theory rather than reading the data to create/construct theory which is then supported by the data).
Imagine giving workers this tool in knowledge work. Attach labels to information (perhaps using programs like delicious?) that is the initial categories. Then going back and reviewing the data to see if it fits into the categories or if there are gaps in the data. From this, their analysis was begin to emerge. The book includes other types of coding (which I am still reading about) that would help to structure an analysis.
3. Memo writing: I haven't gotten to this chapter yet. However, just by skimming the chapter, I perceive this as a way to reflect and document the knowledge creation process. By putting the analysis in words, the individual is creating knowledge for both themselves and others, making their learning transparent. I could see using a blog for this portion.
What struck me about reading this book, is how useful qualitative research methods could be in helping to prepare the 21st century knowledge worker. There still is a focus in most business schools and training programs on the quantitative data (hard facts) while qualitative research methods are considered "soft". However, much has been developed over the last 20 years in the field of qualitative research methods that makes qualitative research as valuable as quantitative research, as long as the research uses a systematic approach. In addition, the deeper thinking skills needed in good qualitative research could create opportunities for the construction of new knowledge and more complex ideas.