Using Multiple Methods in Qualitative Research Design

By Sherrod, Melissa McIntire | Journal of Theory Construction and Testing, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

Using Multiple Methods in Qualitative Research Design


Sherrod, Melissa McIntire, Journal of Theory Construction and Testing


Abstract:

Life history and historical methods were used to obtain an in-depth understanding of the life of a woman, Colice Caulfield Sayer, who was involuntarily committed to a state mental institution for 43 years, and to reveal how the lives of successive generations were altered by her removal from the family. Colice wrote poetry, diaries, personal notes and letters to family members. Data from these writings was used to gain an understanding of her thoughts and emotions. Interview data were obtained from family members who remembered her. A review of the literature in law, medicine, women's roles and childrearing from the 1930s to the 1960s was presented as secondary data. Archival data obtained from court records and family historical documents were also included. Using multiple data sources necessitated the development of a combined research method that could discover meaning in a story that could not be understood using one method. This study and the research design that was created to accommodate the data provide means to understand multiple realities and to advance our understanding of the uses of qualitative design in healthcare research.

Key Words: Life History, Phenomenology, Historical Method, Multiple Methods

In 1934, Colice Caulfield Sayer, a wife and mother of four children, was involuntarily committed to the St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburg, New York. Colice was committed following a hearing which was attended by her husband, the family doctor, a local judge, and her brother and sister-in-law. She was not notified the hearing would take place and was never allowed to speak in her own defense. Colice was accused of insanity by her husband, Edgar, who testified that she threatened to kill him. The family doctor noted that Colice needed inpatient psychiatric hospitalization due to Involutional Melancholia, a condition described in the literature as one that magnified less desirable personality traits such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and emotional instability. The condition was associated with changes in the endocrine system of middle aged women known as menopause (Alien & Henry, 1933; Ayd, 1961). Inpatient psychiatric hospitalization was most likely considered for Colice's protection as well as for her husband, Edgar (Katz, 1966). As a result of these actions, Colice was legally removed from her home, taken from her children, and stripped of all material possessions.

According to Colice's written diaries and family narratives, Edgar had ulterior motives for having his wife committed. A known serial philanderer, Edgar was having an open affair at the time of his wife's commitment. Edgar did not want Colice and did not want to be financially responsible for her. He testified he was impoverished and asked that Colice be named a ward of the State of New York, a move which absolved him of all legal and financial responsibility for her care. His request was granted. When Colice was brought to the St. Lawrence Hospital, she arrived as a pauper and was under the continuous authority of the state until her death in 1977, 43 years after her admission.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to gather data from multiple sources in order to describe the life of Colice Caulfield Sayer within a historical framework, particularly examining how society, medicine, and the legal system affected the course of one woman's life. In addition, the research intended to explain the effects of family loss on successive generations and to gain insight into what was meaningful to them about the loss of their family member. Finally, the research gave a "voice" to Colice, to allow her the opportunity to tell her story to as wide an audience as possible.

Design

Several approaches were selected for the study due to the challenges provided by the source material. The material was both copious and varied. Because one design could not capture the richness of the data, adequately answer the research questions or provide insight into the historical context of the story, the study was designed around the data, using life history and historical methods concurrently. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Using Multiple Methods in Qualitative Research Design
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.