David L Morgan

David L Morgan
Portland State University | PSU · Department of Sociology

PhD

About

76
Publications
2,088,228
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18,259
Citations
Introduction
David L Morgan is currently an emeritus professor at the Department of Sociology, Portland State University. David does research in Qualitative Social Research and Mixed Methods. His most project was the book, 'Beginning and Advanced Focus Groups.'
Additional affiliations
July 1999 - July 2013
University of Michigan
Position
  • Professor
January 1986 - present
Portland State University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 1980 - December 1986
University of California, Riverside
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (76)
Article
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The rapid growth of mixed methods research over the past two decades matches what Fujimura (1989) called a "bandwagon effect." This study compares articles from the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, representing the core of the field, to a more peripheral set of randomly drawn articles. A content analysis of the two sets of articles shows strong d...
Article
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This article uses a bibliographic analysis to examine Robert Merton’s role in the ongoing history of the focus group. It begins by considering Merton’s own suggestion that the lack of attention to his early contributions was due to “obliteration by incorporation,” but the pattern of citation to his work does not fit the predicted pattern. Instead,...
Article
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Recent work in mixed methods research has called for more emphasis on qualitatively driven mixed methods. We examined the prevalence of qualitatively driven mixed methods through the twenty-year history of a key article, “Practical Strategies for Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods” (Morgan 1998). We focused on this article because it ha...
Article
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Because themes play such a central role in the presentation of qualitative research results, we propose a new method, Iterative Thematic Inquiry (ITI), that is guided by the development of themes. We begin by describing how ITI uses pragmatism as a theoretical basis for linking beliefs, in the form of preconceptions, to actions, in the form of data...
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Qualitative researchers face unique opportunities and challenges as a result of the disruption of COVID-19. Although the pandemic represents a unique opportunity to study the crisis itself, social distancing mandates are restricting traditional face-to-face investigations of all kinds. In this article, we describe options and resources for research...
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The article introduces a systematic comparison of video-based dyadic interviews and focus groups using newly developed tools for evaluating the success of one way of doing focus groups over another. We conducted a series of online discussions using a video conferencing tool, half of which consisted of four-person focus groups and the other half wer...
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Recently, there have been calls for renewed attention to the roots of Grounded Theory in pragmatism, and this article continues that effort at both the theoretical and the procedural level. From a theoretical perspective, it counters the claim that pragmatism is compatible with a relativist epistemology, as claimed by advocates of Constructivist Gr...
Article
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This commentary agrees with the editors’ recent decision to do away with triangulation as a term in mixed methods research, but before doing so, it argues for a review of its original popularity, and a careful consideration of what should replace it. Triangulation depends on the comparison of results from qualitative and quantitative studies that a...
Article
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Although theory building is often described as the ultimate goal of qualitative research, an examination of articles in Qualitative Health Research (QHR) shows that themes are actually the typical format for reporting results. In addition, articles that rely on themes often present low-level theories in the form of models that connect these themes....
Preprint
Full-text available
Although theory building is often described as the ultimate goal of qualitative research, an examination of articles in Qualitative Health Research (QHR) shows that themes are actually the typical format for reporting results. In addition, articles that rely on themes often present low-level theories in the form of models that connect these themes....
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This concluding chapter considers both the more innovative aspects of the previous chapters and additional topics that are ripe for further advances. One feature that several of these chapters share is an emphasis on creating more inventive approaches to interaction in focus groups, including areas such as video and theatre. Another new technique t...
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Recently, a debate has arisen around what can be called the “indistinguishability thesis,” i.e., the claim that it is impossible to distinguish between qualitative and quantitative research. In contrast, this article argues that the inability to define simple, sharp boundaries around qualitative and quantitative research does not eliminate the valu...
Article
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Interaction among participants is the fundamental mechanism that generates data in focus groups. Despite calls for ways to analyze interaction in focus groups, there is still an unmet need to develop such tools. We present a coding system to investigate interaction by emphasizing how participants use the substantive aspects of the topics they discu...
Research
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This book is a comprehensive introduction to the topic of dyadic interviews (i.e., interviews with two participants).
Chapter
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Focus groups are a qualitative method of data collection, which uses interaction among a group of research participants to generate information around topics determined by the researcher. While much has been written on how to design and conduct focus groups, few publications have explicitly addressed issues relevant to gerontological research. This...
Article
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Although evaluation researchers frequently make use of focus groups and individual interviews as sources of qualitative data, there has been far less attention to dyadic interviews that create a conversation between two research participants. This article describes dyadic interviews as a format that shares many of the advantages of focus groups, in...
Article
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One important category of mixed-methods research designs consists of quantitative studies that follow up on qualitative research. In this case, the themes that serve as the results from the qualitative methods generate hypotheses for testing through the quantitative methods. That process requires operationalization to translate the concepts from th...
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Although advocates of mixed-methods research have proposed pragmatism as a paradigm for social research, nearly all of that work has emphasized the practical rather than the philosophical aspects of pragmatism. This article addresses that gap by connecting John Dewey’s work on experience and inquiry to current issues in the study of social research...
Article
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In dyadic interviews, two participants interact in response to open-ended research questions. There are few precedents for using dyadic interviews as a technique for qualitative research. We introduce this method largely in comparison to focus groups, because both represent forms of interactive interviewing. We do not, however, view dyadic intervie...
Chapter
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The primary topic of this chapter is a practical approach to interaction in focus groups. This approach is practical in two ways. First, it examines how the process of interaction is related to the substantive information that the group participants generate. Second, it describes how a project's research design can affect the nature of the interact...
Chapter
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As Bill Gates famously noted, " The Internet changes everything, " so it is hardly surprising that online technologies are having a major impact on social science research. The revolutionary role of information communication technologies has been particularly important in creating new online options for collecting data. The power of this technology...
Article
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In the two sections of this article, I examine aspects of the analysis and reporting of interaction in focus groups. In both sections, I argue that the essential importance of interaction for producing the data in focus groups does not correspond to any requirement that the analysis or the reporting of that data should emphasize interaction. With r...
Article
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Abstract Relying on recent work in social cognition, we introduce the term health belief schema to summarize how an individual organises knowledge about health issues, in this case, knowledge about ‘who has heart attacks and why’. Using data from group discussions of this topic, we show several ways that social interaction influences the formation...
Article
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Success in college is not simply a matter of students demonstrating academic ability. In addition, students must master the “college student” role in order to understand instructors’ expectations and apply their academic skills effectively to those expectations. This article uses data from focus groups to examine the fit between university faculty...
Chapter
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This book chapter describes three aspects of focus group research. First, it covers emergent design, where the design of the later groups in a series is influenced by what is learned in the earlier groups. Second, it describes repeated focus groups, where the participants in a first set of groups return for further discussions. Third, it presents t...
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This article examines several methodological issues associated with combining qualitative and quantitative methods by comparing the increasing interest in this topic with the earlier renewal of interest in qualitative research during the 1980s. The first section argues for the value of Kuhn’s concept of paradigm shifts as a tool for examining chang...
Article
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Researchers have expressed considerable interest in the question of whether positive or negative social exchanges more strongly affect psychological health, but previous studies have been limited by using nonparallel measures of positive and negative social exchanges, by measuring negative affect only, and by relying largely on cross-sectional desi...
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This article explores the utility of focus group methodology as a tool for facilitating both community service and student community-based learning through an examination of a service-learning course, "Community Service Through Facilitating Focus Groups," taught by the authors during 1998-99 at a mid-sized public university in the Pacific Northwest...
Article
This study examined patterns of change and stability in religiosity over the life course. Open-ended interviews with 129 adults aged 65 and older provided a rich source of data for applying a life course perspective to the study of religion. Two theoretical constructs from the life course perspective (i.e., trajectories and transitions) were used a...
Article
The purpose of this article is to present results from a series of focus groups that were designed to explore the nature and personal meaning of prayer in late life. Eight focus groups were conducted consisting of 63 adults age 65 and older. Three major themes associated with prayer emerged from the group discussions. First, study participants iden...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to present findings from a series of focus groups that were designed to explore the content domain of negative interaction in the church. Altogether, eight focus groups consisting of sixty-three older adults were conducted. The results suggest that unpleasant encounters in church settings are a significant source of con...
Article
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As few as 50% of dementia cases are diagnosed by physicians. This study investigated how primary care physicians assess patients for dementia and identified barriers to dementia diagnosis in the primary care setting. Seventy-eight physicians in three geographic areas participated in 18 focus groups. Barriers identified included: (a) the failure to...
Article
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Obtaining a diagnosis of dementia for a relative can be a protracted and anxious time for family members. This paper reports results from a focus group study and a subsequently mailed survey of family caregivers on factors which delayed obtaining a diagnosis for a dementing illness. The average time between initial symptom recognition and diagnosis...
Article
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This article describes a series of research designs for combining qualitative and quantitative methods, using a Priority-Sequence Model that relies on the principle of complementarity. First, a decision about the priority of the two methods selects either a qualitative or a quantitative approach to be the principal method. Second, a decision about...
Article
Contacts with other widows are often seen as having particular value for those who are coping with bereavement. Both the benefits of associating with other widows and the difficulties of maintaining ties with married friends make it likely that recent widows' friendship networks will show increasing `homophily', based on substituting widowed friend...
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This study tested various models of the effects of positive and negative exchanges on positive and negative affect using structural equation modeling. Based on a probability sample of middle-aged and older adults, the relationships between social exchanges and psychological well-being were examined both within the total sample and within subgroups...
Article
This article uses data on ‘network instability’ to show how differences across multiple measurements on the membership of personal networks can yield important insights into the nature of these networks. The data come from a sample of 234 recent widows, aged 59–85, who completed seven interviews about their networks over a 1-year period. We use the...
Article
Because the early stages of coping with a stressful life event, such as widowhood, may differ from the coping that is necessary at a later point, there may also be differences in the roles that networks of personal relationships play in the earlier and later stages of life events. In addition, there may be differences in how the positive and negati...
Article
Providing a general introduction to focus group research, Morgan includes the appropriate reasons for using focus groups and what you can expect to accomplish with them. He provides a brief history of focus groups, a discussion of when to use focus groups and why, and several brief case studies illustrating different uses of focus groups. The autho...
Article
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Over the past decade, focus groups and group interviews have reemerged as a popular technique for gathering qualitative data, both among sociologists and across a wide range of academic and applied research areas. Focus groups are currently used as both a self-contained method and in combination with surveys and other research methods, most notably...
Article
Little is known about bereaved persons who refuse to participate in bereavement research, although participants have been assumed to be representative of the bereaved. This assumption is examined in a study of older women in their first, second, or third year of widowhood. To identify sources of sample bias, data from deceased husbands' death certi...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, focus groups and group interviews have reemerged as a popular technique for gathering qualitative data, both among sociologists and across a wide range of academic and applied research areas. Focus groups are currently used as both a self-contained method and in combination with surveys and other research methods, most notably...
Article
Using data from focus groups and individual interviews with family caregivers who had a spouse or a parent with Alzheimer's disease, we examined their reports of interactions with staff in formal care settings. Families most often discussed nurses' aides; they emphasized their desire for an ongoing relationship with staff members; and, they interpr...
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When patients cannot manage their medical affairs, a doctor-caregiver relationship emerges. We used focus groups to investigate this relationship in two studies with caregivers for a spouse or parent with cognitive impairments. Qualitative content analyses showed that negative mentions of doctors predominated over positive mentions, especially in d...
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Counting codes makes qualitative content analysis a controversial approach to analyzing textual data. Several decades ago, mainstream content analysis rejected qualitative content analysis on the grounds that it was not sufficiently quantitative; today, it is often charged with not being sufficiently qualitative. This article argues that qualitativ...
Article
consider some of the situations for which focus groups may be a particularly desirable [social science] research method (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article investigates the effects of different life events on networks of personal relationships through a comparison of recent widows and caregivers of a spouse with Alzheimer's disease. In both cases, we collected qualitative data from focus groups and coded each mention of another person according to their relationship to the widow or caregi...
Article
We tested the assumption that there is a role reversal in exchanges of social support: that the older one becomes, the less likely one is to send support and more likely one is to receive it. Using data from a community study in Southern California with 513 middle-aged and older respondents, the results show that both support-sending and supportrec...
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Recent developments in social cognition could enhance sociological social psychologists' understanding of the mind as both a social product and a social force; yet this work in social cognition has received little attention. Conversely, social cognition has not fulfilled its promise to show what is truly social about cognition. We argue that more a...
Article
Positive and negative aspects of relations with friends and family were examined among groups of widows in focus-group discussions, where relationships mentioned were coded as positive or negative. Approximately 40% of all mentions were negative, with family members receiving more negative mentions. Family relations showed commitments involving bot...
Article
Differences in participation in social networks were analyzed as a function of age, drawing on a theoretical model of substitution processes. Using an empirical approach from the study of participation in voluntary organizations, I separated the direct effects of age from indirect effects via age-based declines in resources. The results show that a...
Article
Coxon described a technique using card sorts to capture perceptions of the structure in social networks, but also expressed pessimism due to problems that limited its applicability. This paper addresses problems arising from “lumper-splitter differences” by first estimating their magnitude and then controlling for their effects. The magnitude of lu...
Article
The concept of shared knowledge structures is introduced as one way of demonstrating how personal relationships serve as a bridge between collective activity at the level of the social network and cognitive activity at the level of the individual. The field of social cognition has studied how individuals organize information, and social network ana...
Article
A strict medical model makes no allowance for the influence of social factors on medical judgments. If either patients' social characteristics or differences across social settings have an impact on these judgments, then their inclusion in the medical model should increase its explanatory power. This question is investigated among 415 residents of...
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Focus groups have received little attention from sociologists, although they are a commonly used qualitative technique in market research. The data collected in focus group sessions typically consist of tape-recorded group discussions among four to ten participants who share their thoughts and experiences on a set of topics selected by the research...
Article
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This paper develops a health-care career for the elderly through a study of the residents and staff in an old-age home containing both semi-independent apartments and a supervised nursing area. Negotiations between residents and staff over when to move to the nursing area follow five stages: disguising problems, minimizing problems, denying the imp...
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This paper develops a conceptual scheme that merges the qualitatively stated propositions of Blau's recent axiomatic theory of social structure with the quantitative approach of social network analysis. The conceptual scheme is used to describe a set of inescapable features of intergroup and intragroup relations. We examine, both qualitatively and...
Article
Using the theoretical outlines of Barker's (1968) theory of behavior settings, we postulate the existence of structural inducements to the participation of students in the extracurricular activities of the school. Consistent with the predictions of the theory, we find that the extracurricular behavior settings in small schools are "under-manned," a...

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Projects (3)
Project
I am in the final stages of writing a new book titled Basic and Advanced Focus Groups. The "basic" part of this book will essentially replace my "little blue book" on focus groups, since that series has been discontinued. The "advanced" part will cover a number of more specialized techniques and topics.
Project
Rose Barbour and I are co-editing a book titled A New Era of Focus Groups, which will be published by Palgrave-McMillian. We just submitted the final draft, so it should appear in early 2017.