The issue of bias in qualitative research is an important one, and demands special attention and discussion in any qualitative research methods class. This reflective paper, written in the tradition of teacher-research, presents an analysis of how my students and I, working in an online classroom environment, learn together about the role researcher self and subjectivity play in designing and conducting qualitative research. While researcher bias and subjectivity are commonly understood as inevitable and important by most qualitative researchers, the beginners in qualitative research classes are generally not very comfortable with the idea of research that is not value-neutral. A systematic and reflective analysis of some of the teaching and learning activities, and of the online exchanges in these classes suggests that issues that require more critical thinking and reflection are dealt better using the power of written word. When students write down how their understanding of an issue is developing, the knowledge gained from the experience of putting the idea in comprehensible sentences is many times the knowledge gained when they make a verbal and often casual comment on the issue being discussed in the classroom. Since online instruction allows students to work at their own pace, factors such as differences in students' ability to communicate - through verbal or written expression, and their level of understanding of the content can be better addressed in an online classroom. The students' and instructor's voices in this paper, and the unique framework in which they are organized convey their increased understanding of qualitative research as a process of self-discovery.
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Recommended APA Citation
Mehra, B. (2002). Bias in Qualitative Research: Voices from an Online Classroom. The Qualitative Report, 7(1), 1-19. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol7/iss1/2