Moral philosophy and the qualitative researcher

“What’s moral philosophy got to do with me?” you might ask. In fact, various forms of moral philosophy underlie how scientific research is routinely practiced. Let’s look at three moral philosophies, and how they might be used to inform ethical decision-making in the conduct of research. Of course, there are many more approaches to moral philosophy, and the descriptions below are somewhat simplified. For more introductions to moral philosophy see Birsch (2014), Rachels and Rachels (2015), and Vaughn (2015).  Continue reading “Moral philosophy and the qualitative researcher”

Visiting the archives

Recently I had the good fortune to visit the National Archives and Library of Congress in Washington DC. Both the National Archives and Library Congress house significant collections of archival materials. For anyone interested in examining historical records pertaining to a topic of interest, a visit to these collections is highly recommended. Continue reading “Visiting the archives”

Tips for new assistant professors

In the United States, as we enter the new academic year, many new assistant professors are beginning a new position. Congratulations to all those who are beginning in new positions in 2017! This is a wonderful accomplishment. The first semester in a new position is filled with new faculty orientations, preparation for teaching new courses, and thinking through ideas and plans for converting doctoral research into publications. With so many responsibilities, it is possible to overlook the larger picture in terms of planning a career. What are some strategies that might help?

Continue reading “Tips for new assistant professors”

“Qualitative researchers need to be storytellers”

This is what Harry Wolcott (1994, p. 17) asserts in his book on qualitative data analysis. What are strategies that one might use to tell the story of one’s research? Whatever approach one selects to use in a qualitative study, the end product will typically be a written report on the research study. This might take the form of an article, chapter or book. Of course there are numerous other ways to present one’s findings, including drama, poetry and performances – that is a topic for another post. Continue reading ““Qualitative researchers need to be storytellers””

An introduction to Creative Analytic Practices and Arts Based Inquiry

“Creative analytic practices” (CAP) is a term coined by the sociologist, Laurel Richardson (1999, p. 660), who writes:

In the wake of poststructuralist, feminist, critical race literary and queer theory, ethnographic work now appears in multiple venues in a variety of forms. The ethnographic genre has been blurred, enlarged, and altered to include autoethnography, poetry, drama, conversation, new journalism, readers’ theater, performance, hypertext, fiction, faction, creative nonfiction, true fiction, aphorisms, comedy, satire, layered texts, writing stories, songs, museum installations, photographs, body painting, choreography and so forth. Continue reading “An introduction to Creative Analytic Practices and Arts Based Inquiry”

Approaches to examine storytelling

Researchers who use narrative inquiry focus on telling the stories of the participants of their studies. There are so many different approaches to narrative inquiry though — how might one begin?

What is meant by the term “narrative”? That depends on the perspective to narrative that one takes. Some argue that narrative data can include open-ended survey data, through interview data, to written narratives. From this perspective, “narrative” is being used synonymously with “words” or “textual data”. Others argue that narratives are stories that have a beginning, middle and an end. That is, narratives are stories that involve a plot with temporal order. Continue reading “Approaches to examine storytelling”

10 Suggestions for Summer-time things to do in qualitative inquiry

For those in the northern hemisphere it is summer time, and some qualitative researchers have extra time to do things that are difficult to squeeze into a regular semester. Here are suggestions for 10 fun things to do… Continue reading “10 Suggestions for Summer-time things to do in qualitative inquiry”

Tips on considering “subjectivity” in qualitative research

Many newcomers to qualitative studies struggle with the idea of how one’s self, and “subject positions” or “subjectivities” might be represented in qualitative inquiry. For those more attuned to positivist approaches to research in which the researcher is depicted as “neutral” and “objective,” discussing one’s own interests and relationships to a topic and participants of a research study can be viewed as erring dangerously into the territory of “biased” research that is viewed as problematic, if not lacking in validity. Continue reading “Tips on considering “subjectivity” in qualitative research”

Influential qualitative researchers: Harry F. Wolcott

Educational anthropologist Harry Wolcott (1929-2012) has written numerous books on how to do qualitative research. His early study investigated the work of a principal in The man in the principal’s office: An ethnography (Wolcott, 1973). Unlike many of his contemporaries, Wolcott argued for the merit of an n of 1 (Wolcott, 1995). One of his more well-known studies examined the life history of a young man known in a trilogy of publications as Brad. Brad took up residence on Wolcott’s property in Oregon (Wolcott, 2002), and Wolcott went on to interview him and publish his life story in a journal article. Continue reading “Influential qualitative researchers: Harry F. Wolcott”

The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 2017

This past weekend I attended the 13th meeting of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. This conference is attended by scholars from all over the world and offers  a feast of different approaches to qualitative researchers. Over 1500 delegates from more than 75 nations registered for the conference. Continue reading “The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 2017”