Coding data and interpreting text: methods of analysis
The quantitative, and functionalist, research designs that Goffman refers to as 'traditional' are still present today. Influenced by positivism and the attempt to be 'objective' and 'scientific', many research designs systematically distance the researched from the researcher. As a consequence the researcher is much less likely to 'hear' the 'voice' of the participants. It is relatively easy to conduct a quantitative survey, or a group of one-off qualitative interviews, with a group of participants. It is easier to publish the results of a quantitative survey, takes less time to analyse, and will probably further the career ambitions of the researcher more effectively, depending on his or her disciplinary background. It is much harder to spend time with people listening to their voices, understanding their perspectives and sharing in their problems. Such research is harder to publish, takes more time and energy to conduct, and is often devalued when it comes to career progression. However, this sort of research provides a much more sophisticated understanding of the issues, will facilitate the formulation of more effective policy, and is politically and ethically sensitive.