How did you validate your study?

Q. How were the categories used in your survey developed? Validated? Analyzed? How do you carry out thematic analysis?

The categories in my survey were developed and built in part, based on a larger survey developed in our larger research group with Dr. Bonk that has been with a variety of populations.  We had 159 participants respond to the larger survey after Dr. Bonk’s MOOC last summer and we had over 1,400 survey responses to users of MIT OpenCourseWare. My study questions and categories, however, were meant to be a simpler version of the larger survey. We established face validity, which is a qualitative measure of validity, through multiple rounds of review within the research group, as well as expert review from Dr. Bonk.  To be clear, the survey was simply meant to guide participants and inform the participant interviews, which would go deeper into investigating the research questions. The survey responses were analyzed primarily using descriptive statistics only as this was a limited sample size and face validity is not quantified with statistical methods. This is a clear limitation of the first part of this study that I want to improve on in future research.

The thematic analysis that is ongoing follows Braun and Clarke’s, 2006 paper that outlines a 6 phase guide to performing thematic analysis. This is also a recursive process that involves constantly moving back and forth through the phases, and as I am finding out, may take longer than initially expected.  (The six phases are 1. Familiarizing yourself with the data. 2. Generating initial codes. 3. Searching for themes. 4. Reviewing themes. 5. Defining and naming themes. 6. Producing the report.) I am currently in the coding phase and moving into the themes phase.  Some of my initial codes relate to elements of the survey such as “global nature of the project,” or “I love Whitacre’s music,” but other emergent codes have emerged more directly related to specific singing techniques such as “improved breath control,” or “learning about American styles of choral singing compared to classical European styles.”