Common failings in first (and sometimes later) drafts

Sometimes you come across some good advice that stands the test of time. Such is the case of a chapter I came across many years ago written by British educational researcher, Peter Woods. In this chapter, Woods (1985) talks about the “false solutions” that we sometimes use to counter the pain of writing up our research (p. 100). Woods refers to various flaws in argumentation that prevent researchers from making the best possible case in writing up findings from qualitative research studies. By avoiding these kinds of arguments, we not only improve our writing, but make a stronger case for using qualitative methods to examine the social world. Below is a brief summary of Woods’ list of “common failings.” Continue reading “Common failings in first (and sometimes later) drafts”

Tips on conducting qualitative interviews

The ubiquity of the “interview” in contemporary society can mask what Harold Garfinkel (1967) termed the “seen-but-unnoticed” work that goes into everyday activity. For researchers, an important routine activity is the conduct of a “good” interview. In qualitative research, interviewing is one of the most popular and widely-used methods to generate data. For novices to research, it may come as a surprise that conducting an interview with a stranger is not quite as easily accomplished as one might anticipate. What strategies help with generating the kinds of data in qualitative interviews that might be used to examine research questions? Here are some tips… Continue reading “Tips on conducting qualitative interviews”