on July 18, 2009
This is one of three large paperbacks that are the components of Sage's extensive and essential Handbook of Qualitative Research. This volume presents the most thorough theoretical survey of qualitative research that I have read or taught. Denzin and Lincoln's historical view of the field in the introduction and conclusion create a deep contextual understanding of what has been and is now at stake in qualitative research. The volume includes two other aspects that are essential: seeing research as it relates to higher education, and a consideration and critique of research approval bureaucracies (like IRB's) that are sometimes hostile to qualitative work. While many many other books can offer recipes of how one can do qual, this one sets out the "Why?", and the research work out of it flows. It also offers a consideration of the challenges faced when you want to use your own cultural assumptions to study another culture, rather than learning of their own ideas of how things work.
Each chapter also functions as a thorough bibliography of the area under consideration.
on December 2, 2009
What is qualitative research? This book aims - and succeeds - in providing an answer. In a nutshell, qualitative research seeks to provide a more complex and rich description of human behavior than traditional quantitative research, with its emphasis on "verifiable" numbers and statistics. As one researcher has said, "Quantitative methods can tell you the median age of people who watch Star Trek, but it can't tell you why they watch it or what it means." This collection of essays by leading qualitative researchers and theoreticians defends qualitative research as an acceptable scientific paradigm - indeed, one more suited to explanation than narrowly defined "science" itself.
Particularly helpful are Denzin and Lincoln's introductory chapter to qualitative research itself; Thomas Schwandt's chapter on constructivism and interpretivism; Kinchebe and McLaren's on critical theory; and the concluding chapters on the future of "messy writing" in science. Recommended for academic practitioners - an excellent text for a graduate-level course in research as well.