Subjectivity in Participant- and Researcher-Generated Data in Qualitative Research

Dışbudak Kuru Ö. , Toker H., Özdoğan Z., Sevinç Ş.

The Qualitative Report Conference, Florida, United States Of America, 14 - 17 January 2020, pp.1-2

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Florida
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-2


This presentation aimed to share novice researchers’ understanding of subjectivity involved in qualitative data. Although novice researchers, five doctoral students in mathematics education, addressed several important issues in relation to subjectivity, we, in this presentation, will particularly focus on the subjective entities involved in the datum itself. As participant researchers identified, the qualitative data can be generated by either participants or the researcher, or both. No matter who generated the data, most of the novice researchers thought that there is subjectivity played a role in producing a particular set of data. For instance, some novice researchers stated that interviews and observations, the most frequently used data collection methods in qualitative research, allow researchers to generate data through the involvement of the participants. For instance, observation notes and semi-structured interviews were considered as partially researcher-generated and partially participant generated data. Why does that matter in terms of subjectivity? Novice researcher mentioned that different researchers may focus on different phenomena during observations or may ask different probing questions; depending on their theoretical background, research experience in that field, and research skills. Similarly, the data depend on the characteristics of the participants; such as how talkative they are and how much they are knowledgeable in that issue. Hence, novice mathematics education researchers considered these issues that lead to generating different data sets as an indication of subjectivity. Since subjectivity is one of the concerns in validity discussions,  it also needs to be considered in contemporary qualitative research, the theme of TQR 11th Annual Conference.