Qualitative Research and Theory Development: Mystery as Method

Overview

Empirical data is one of the cornerstones of knowledge in the social sciences. And yet, the researcher often takes it for granted, reserving his or her imaginative faculties for finding a theory that fits the data. This revealing account of the theory-data relationship calls this faith in data into question and establishes a reflexive framework and vocabulary to explore the creative, political and philosophical elements of data production.

Rather than thinking about the ...

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Overview

Empirical data is one of the cornerstones of knowledge in the social sciences. And yet, the researcher often takes it for granted, reserving his or her imaginative faculties for finding a theory that fits the data. This revealing account of the theory-data relationship calls this faith in data into question and establishes a reflexive framework and vocabulary to explore the creative, political and philosophical elements of data production.

Rather than thinking about the theory-data 'fit', Alvesson and Karreman will encourage you to consider the research process as one of theory-data interplay, asking if creative empirical material can challenge established theory and inspire new lines of development, and if breakdowns and mysteries encountered in research can be a constructive rather than destructive process.

They will encourage you to think critically about empirical data in terms of construction rather than verification, and most importantly they will encourage you to develop theory that is interesting and novel, rather than naive or irrelevant, making this title essential reading for those who often find the traditional vocabulary and frameworks of social science research obvious or simplistic.

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Editorial Reviews

Educational Review - Penny Burge
This book guides researchers with specific suggestions regarding the mysteries that go beyond the commonly known analysis methods. Readers can become skillful at using empirical data as input in developing theory.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780857023247
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 5/25/2011
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Mats Alvesson holds a chair in the Business Administration department at Lund University in Sweden and is also part-time professor at University of Queensland Business School. He has done extensive research and published widely in the areas of qualitative and reflexive methodology, critical theory, organizational culture, knowledge work, identity in organizations, gender, organizational change, management consultancy etc. He has published 20 books with leading publishers and hundreds of articles, many of which are widely cited and used on higher levels in university education.

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Table of Contents

The Use of Empirical Material for Theory Development
The Role of Constructions and Language in Empirical Research
Key Methodological Principles for Detecting Mysteries
A Methodology of Sorts for Theorizing from Empirical Material
Illustrating the Development and Resolution of Mysteries
Fieldwork Techniques and Mystery Creation
Research Guided or Assisted by Mystery?

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