Electronic Resources for Research Methods

Qualitative research

  • Becker, Howard S. (1996) The epistemology of qualitative research. [From Richard Jessor, Anne Colby, and Richard Schweder, eds., Essays on Ethnography and Human Development. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.]  
    "'What's the epistemology of qualitative research?' To me, it's an odd question. I'm an intellectual descendant of Robert E. Park, the founder of what has come to be called the Chicago School of sociology. Park was a great advocate of what we now call ethnographic methods. But he was equally a proponent of quantitative methods, particularly ecological ones. I follow him in that, and to me the similarities between these methods are at least as, and probably more, important and relevant than the differences. In fact, I think that the same epistemological arguments underlie and provide the warrant for both."
  • Becker, Howard S. (1993) Theory: the necessary evil.  Santa Barbara, CA: University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Sociology.
    [Originally published in Theory and Concepts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives from the Field, David J. Flinders and Geoffrey E. Mills, eds., (New York: Teachers College Press, 1993) pp. 218-229.] "Qualitative researchers in education have begun to question the epistemological premises of their work. Or, at least, someone in the arena is questioning those premises, and the questioning worries the researchers who actually do the work of studying schools, students, and education close up. Attacks on qualitative research used to come exclusively from the methodological right, from the proponents of positivism and statistical and experimental rigor. But now the attack comes from the cultural studies left as well, from the proponents of the "new ethnography," who argue that there is no such thing as "objective knowledge" and that qualitative research is no more than an insidious disguise for the old enemy of positivism and pseudo-objectivity."
  • Boeree, C. George (n.d.) The qualitative methods workbook Shippensburg, PA: Lotus Blossom Productions.
    The Qualitative Methods Workbook is an "e-text" prepared for the college course Qualitative Research Methods (PSY 405) at Shippensburg University. While the contents are copyrighted, they may be downloaded and hardcopied for educational and personal uses without permission, as long as the source is noted. All other rights are reserved.
  • Bruce, Christine & Gerber, Rod (1995)  Phenomenographic research: an annotated bibliography. 3rd. ed. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology, Faculty of Information Technology.
    "The Database of Phenomenographic Research has been compiled over a period of three years out of resources identified and held in the Centre of Applied Environmental and Social Education Research at the Queensland University of Technology. The database represents a wide range of books, journal articles, conference papers and research reports in the field of phenomenographic research from its development in the late 1970s and early 1980s through to the present.
    Coverage of the database is not comprehensive. However it does include core materials of significance in the development of phenomenographic research and what has come to be called phenomenographic pedagogy. The database also includes a selection of materials on phenomenology and interviewing techniques which may be of interest to the phenomenographic researcher. Papers in languages other than English are not included. To indicate the directions which the early phenomenographic researchers have taken, more recent papers by Ference Marton, Lennart Svensson, Roger Saljo and Lars Dahlgren also appear." There is a link to a 1997 update of the bibliography, but nothing between 1997 and 2000
  • Chenail, Ron (2000) Qualitative research resources on the Internet. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Nova Southeastern University.
    Includes links to Web pages, individual papers on the Web, Calls for papers, abstracts, and proposals, syllabi, and a link to The Qualitative Report
  • Combs, Mark P. (1995)  Representative research: a qualitatively driven approach.  The Qualitative Report, Vol. 2, No.3
    "Research methodologies represent complex sociohistorical evolutions within the social sciences ranging from reductionist to reflexive sensibilities (Tuchman, 1994). These inquiries each emphasize dissimilar variations of data analysis as found in their subsequent conclusions obtained from and during the research process. Unlike quantitative methodology with its explicit formulaic constructions, qualitative research includes a veritable cornucopia of methodologies, paradigms and methods.
    This paper briefly reviews those experiences encountered and processes which unfolded during a pilot project for a research class. Although Miller and Crabtree (1992) proposed a research roadmap with associated typologies within qualitative research, this paper focuses on the process of learning to "drive" with this roadmap by synthesizing theory to the field and back to theory. Agar's (1986) observation of research, specifically ethnography, as requiring "intense personal involvement. . .and an ability to learn from a long series of mistakes" (p. 12) best characterizes the research process written about here."
  • Haig, Brian D. (1995) Grounded theory as scientific method.  Philosophy of Education
    Paper in an annual publication of the Philosophy of Education Society - but which does not appear to have been published since 1998. "Grounded theory is regarded by Glaser and Strauss as a general theory of scientific method concerned with the generation, elaboration, and validation of social science theory. For them, grounded theory research should meet the accepted canons for doing good science (consistency, reproducibility, generalizability, etc.), although these methodological notions are not to be understood in a positivist sense. The general goal of grounded theory research is to construct theories in order to understand phenomena. A good grounded theory is one that is: (1) inductively derived from data, (2) subjected to theoretical elaboration, and (3) judged adequate to its domain with respect to a number of evaluative criteria. Although it has been developed and principally used within the field of sociology, grounded theory can be, and has been, successfully employed by people in a variety of different disciplines. These include education, nursing studies, political science, and to a very limited extent, psychology. Glaser and Strauss do not regard the procedures of grounded theory as discipline specific, and they encourage researchers to use the procedures for their own disciplinary purposes."
  • Kelle, U. (1997) Theory building in qualitative research and computer programs for the management of textual data. Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 2.
    "This article refers to recent debates about the potential methodological costs and benefits of computer use in qualitative research and about the relationship between methodological approaches (eg. 'Grounded Theory') on the one hand and computer-aided methods of qualitative research on the other. It is argued that the connection between certain computer-aided strategies and methodological approaches is far more loose than is often assumed. Furthermore, the danger of methodological biases and distortion arising from the use of certain software packages is overemphasized in current discussions, as far as basic tasks of textual data management ('coding and retrieval') usually performed by this software are concerned. However, with the development of more advanced and complex coding and retrieval techniques, which are regarded by some authors as tools for 'theory building' in qualitative research, methodological confusion may arise if basic prerequisites of qualitative theory building are not taken into consideration. Therefore, certain aspects of qualitative theory building which are relevant for computer aided methods of textual data management are discussed in the paper."
  • Kerlin, Bobbi (2002) Qualitative research bibliography.  Portland, OR: Portland State University, Office of Information Technologies.
    An extensive, well-organized and up-to-date source.
  • Myers, Michael D. ed. (2000) Qualitative research in information systems. Auckland, NZ: University of Auckland, Department of Management Science and Information Systems.
    "This section aims to provide qualitative researchers in IS - and those wanting to know how to do qualitative research - with useful information on the conduct, evaluation and publication of qualitative research... Qualitative research involves the use of qualitative data, such as interviews, documents, and participant observation data, to understand and explain social phenomena. Qualitative researchers can be found in many disciplines and fields, using a variety of approaches, methods and techniques. In Information Systems, there has been a general shift in IS research away from technological to managerial and organizational issues, hence an increasing interest in the application of qualitative research methods."
  • Norris, Judy (2000) QualPage: resources for qualitative researchers. Edmonton: University of Alberta.
    1. Announcements: Conferences, Workshops
    2. Approaches
    3. Calls for Papers, Proposals, Abstracts
    4. Conceptual and Philosophical Foundations
    5. Disciplines
    6. Discussion Forums
    7. Electronic Journals
    8. Methods
    9. Organizations and interest groups for qualitative researchers
    10. Other resources for qualitative researchers
    11. Papers
    12. Conference Proceedings
    13. Some new (and not so old) books we've heard about
    14. Presentations of research on the Internet
    15. Publishers of journals and books for qualitative researchers
    16. Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software resources
    17. Teaching qualitative research
  • Pandit, Naresh R. (1996) The creation of theory: a recent application of the grounded theory method. The Qualitative Report, Vol. 2, No. 4
    "This paper outlines a particular approach to building theory that was employed in a recent doctoral research project (Pandit, 1995). Three aspects used in conjunction indicate the project's novelty: firstly, the systematic and rigorous application of the grounded theory method; secondly, the use of on-line computerised databases as a primary source of data; and, thirdly, the use of a qualitative data analysis software package to aid the process of grounded theory building."
  • Ratcliff, Don (1999)  Video and audio media in qualitative research. Toccoa, GA: Don Ratcliff.
    "This is a working draft of a booklet on conducting qualitative research using a camcorder. Much of it is the product of my research with children in an elementary school located in North Georgia. While I was conducting that research, which eventually resulted in a dissertation at The University of Georgia, I kept careful notes on video and audio data collection methods. I regularly experimented with different ways of collecting data with one and sometimes two camcorders (the second used by an assistant who videotaped me videotaping children), as well as using various ways of collecting audio data, to discover what approaches worked best for different situations."
  • Ratcliff, Don  Notes for five part seminar on qualitative research. Toccoa, GA: Don Ratcliff.
    "My biases:
  • I appreciate both quantitative and qualitative; have used both and teach both.
  • Qualitative and quantitative are different perspectives and have different assumptions, and look at different things (counting vs. meanings).
  • I advocate blends and combinations. Most researchers know one variety of research over the other, so most combinations emphasize either qualitative or quantitative.
  •  With links to other QR resources.
  • Trochim, Bill (1999)   Introduction to validity. The Web Center for Social Research Methods..
    "The first thing we have to ask is: "validity of what?" When we think about validity in research, most of us think about research components. We might say that a measure is a valid one, or that a valid sample was drawn, or that the design had strong validity. But all of those statements are technically incorrect. Measures, samples and designs don't 'have' validity -- only propositions can be said to be valid. Technically, we should say that a measure leads to valid conclusions or that a sample enables valid inferences, and so on. It is a proposition, inference or conclusion that can 'have' validity."
  • von Manteuffel, K.F. (2000) Grounded theory methodology on the Web.  LaBarre: Gaelle T. Marin.
    Lots of links

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