10 things to be thankful for as a qualitative researcher

In the midst of being too busy, sometimes it's useful to relax, and take a few minutes to think about the things for which we are thankful. Here are a few things that I'm thankful for as a qualitative researcher. What about you?  1. There are lots of journals on qualitative methods to read… Check … Continue reading 10 things to be thankful for as a qualitative researcher

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 … 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. Where are the … Continue reading Visiting the archives

“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 … Continue reading “Qualitative researchers need to be storytellers”

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 … 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 … Continue reading Influential qualitative researchers: Harry F. Wolcott

Tips for formulating interview questions

Asking questions of interviewees in ways that help them tell their stories is something of an art. It goes without saying that it is good practice to be well-prepared for interviews. This includes thinking about the physical setting for an interview and the technology one will need to record an interview. And there are so … Continue reading Tips for formulating interview questions

Assessing “quality” in qualitative research

There is a very large body of literature devoted to thinking about how the “quality” of qualitative research should be assessed. From writing several decades ago in which the concepts of “validity” and “reliability” were redefined and applied to qualitative research (e.g.,  Goetz & LeCompte, 1983; LeCompte & Goetz, 1992), methodologists have argued for the … Continue reading Assessing “quality” in qualitative research

Variations in doing ethnographic research

Qualitative researchers have innovated with ethnographic methods in numerous ways. In this blogpost, Kathy Roulston and Kathleen deMarrais discuss some examples of variations on traditional ethnographies. Traditional ethnographies call for researchers to spend extensive periods of time in a field setting getting to know people and learning about others’ experiences and cultures. Participation is crucial … Continue reading Variations in doing ethnographic research

Memo writing as a way of being a researcher

In teaching qualitative data analysis, I’ve found that students are frequently surprised at the value of “memo writing.” This is perhaps because memo writing is frequently seen as an additional step in the process off data analysis that takes time out from the work of analyzing data. Yet, memo writing can serve an important role … Continue reading Memo writing as a way of being a researcher