Focused on developing the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological knowledge needed to engage in rigorous and valid research, this introductory text provides practical explanations, exercises, and advice for how to conduct qualitative research—from design through implementation, analysis, and writing up research. Qualitative Research presents the field in a unique and meaningful way, and helps readers understand what authors Sharon M. Ravitch and Nicole Mittenfelner Carl call “criticality” in qualitative research by communicating its foundations and processes with clarity and simplicity while still capturing complexity. Packed with real-life examples of questions, issues, and situations that stem from the authors’ and their students’ research, the book humanizes the qualitative research endeavor, illustrates the types of scenarios that arise, and emphasizes the importance of actively considering paradigmatic values throughout every stage of the research process. In every chapter, the authors illustrate the qualitative research process as decidedly ideological, political, and subjective using themes of criticality, reflexivity, collaboration, and rigor.
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About the Author
Sharon M. Ravitch, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education where she is Research Co-Director at the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives and a Founding Co-Director of Penn’s Inter-American Educational Leadership Network. She serves as the Principal Investigator of Semillas Digitales (Digital Seeds) a multi-year applied development research initiative in Nicaragua (http://www2.gse.upenn.edu/nicaragua/).
Ravitch’s research integrates across the fields of qualitative research, education, applied development, cultural anthropology, and human development and has four main strands: (1) Practitioner Research as a means to engendering sustainable professional and institutional development and innovation; (2) International applied development research that works from participatory and action research approaches (projects currently in the US, Nicaragua, and India); (3) Ethnographic and participatory evaluation research; and (4) Leader education and professional development.
Ravitch has published three books: Reason and Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research (with Matthew Riggan, Sage Publications, 2012); School Counseling Principles: Diversity and Multiculturalism (American School Counselor Association Press, 2006) and Matters of Interpretation: Reciprocal Transformation in Therapeutic and Developmental Relationships with Youth (with Michael Nakkula, Jossey-Bass, 1998).
Ravitch earned two master’s degrees from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and in Education and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in an interdisciplinary program that combined anthropology, sociology, and education.
Nicole Mittenfelner Carl is a doctoral candidate in the teaching, learning, and leadership division at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PennGSE). She is Director of Impact Assessment for the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives (CSBGL) and is conducting a multi-sited, multi-year participatory evaluation of the Center’s impact. Carl facilitates and teaches Youth Participatory Action Research and researches ways that schools can be more equitable and humane places as a part of her work with CSBGL. Carl is also a graduate research associate at PennGSE, where she is part of a research team that examines ways that teachers and parents can organize and act collectively as a means of educational problem-solving.
Carl has conducted qualitative research for over a decade. She has published articles about new teachers’ experiences with standardized curricula as well as about teacher activism and organizing. Her current research focus includes critical approaches to qualitative research, participatory action research, educational equity, urban education, and teacher education.
Carl is a former middle school language arts and lead teacher in the School District of Philadelphia as well as a former mentor to and supervisor of first-year teachers. Carl’s research interests stem from her experiences as an educator, and she focuses her work on ways that students, parents, and teachers can work together to address educational inequities.
Table of ContentsChapter One: Qualitative Research: An Opening OrientationChapter Overview And GoalsAn Overview Of The Processes Of Qualitative ResearchSituating Qualitative ResearchDefining Qualitative ResearchKey Components Of Qualitative ResearchHorizontals In Qualitative ResearchApproaches To Qualitative Research: An OverviewA Note on the Possibilities Of Qualitative ResearchQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Two: Using Conceptual Frameworks in ResearchChapter Overview and GoalsDefining and Understanding Conceptual Frameworks and Their Role in ResearchConstructing and Developing a Conceptual FrameworkBuilding Your Own Conceptual FrameworkQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Three: Critical Qualitative Research DesignChapter Overview and GoalsResearch Design in Qualitative ResearchOverview of the Qualitative Research Design ProcessConceptualizing Critical Qualitative Research DesignQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Four: Design and Reflexivity in Data CollectionChapter Overview and GoalsDefining Qualitative Data Collection as IterativeData Collection and Research DesignReflexivity and Researcher-Generated Data SourcesSampling: Site and Participant SelectionQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Five: Methods of Data CollectionChapter Overview and GoalsInterviewsObservation and FieldnotesFocus GroupsDocuments and Archival DataA Survey Approach and QuestionnairesParticipatory Methods of Data CollectionRevisiting DesignQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Six: Validity: Processes, Strategies, and TrustworthinessChapter Overview and GoalsOverview of Validity and Trustworthiness in Qualitative ResearchAssessing Validity and TrustworthinessSpecific Strategies and Processes for Achieving ValidityRigor and Validity in Qualitative ResearchQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Seven: An Integrative Approach to Data AnalysisChapter Overview and GoalsDefining and Critically Approaching Qualitative Data AnalysisAnalysis and InterpretationOverview of Data Analysis ProcessesAn Integrative Approach to Qualitative Data AnalysisQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Eight: Methods And Processes Of Data AnalysisChapter Overview And GoalsData Organization And ManagementImmersive EngagementWriting And RepresentationQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Nine: Writing And Representing Inquiry: The Research ReportChapter Overview And GoalsThe Craft Of Writing: Outlining, Drafting, And RevisingWriting A Final Report: Building On, Deepening, And Codifying AnalysisCritical Writing ConsiderationsConcluding Thoughts: The Ethics Of Research WritingQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Ten: Crafting Qualitative Research ProposalsChapter Overview And GoalsQualitative Research ProposalsWriting Quality ProposalsAdapting Research ProposalsQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingChapter Eleven: Research Ethics And The Relational Quality Of ResearchChapter Overview And GoalsRelational Ethics: Taking A Relational Approach To ResearchDeepening The Concept of Research Ethics: Beyond IRB and Informed ConsentGoing Beyond “Negotiating Entrée” And “Building Rapport”Research BoundariesInformed Consent, With An Emphasis On InformedTransparency in Goals, Expectations, Processes, and RolesConfidentiality and AnonymityThe Ethical Dimensions of the “Researcher as Instrument”Pushing Against the “Expert-Learner Binary”Ethical Collaboration: “Reciprocal Transformation and Dialectics of Mutual Influence”Balance Between Design Flexibility and Rigor: Responsive Research as Ethical StanceQuestions for ReflectionResources for Further ReadingEpilogue: Revisiting Criticality, Reflexivity, Collaboration, and RigorRevisiting the Horizontals in Qualitative ResearchClosing Thoughts: The Power and Potential of Qualitative ResearchQuestions for Reflection