Qualitative Research Designs

Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Qualitative Research: An Overview
Qualitative research collects and analyses qualitative data (e.g., words, text, images) to explore an individual, group or phenomenon in depth. Often this form of

research is undertaken when little is known about the area of research or an in-depth understanding (e.g., how, why) is sought.
To illustrate, in the area of cyber-bullying research, the following phenomena have recently been investigated using a qualitative approach:
•    The nature of extent of adolescents’ cyber-bullying experiences (Li, 2007)
•    What cyber-bullying policies are being employed by school principals (Wiseman, 2011)
•    For online educators who do not respond to cyber-bullying, why they do nothing (Brashen, Minor, & Smith, 2013)
•    The impacts and consequences of cyber-bullying and what coping strategies victims adopt (Sleglova & Cerna, 2011)
•    Students’ perspectives and practices re: virtual relationships (Mishna, Saini, & Solomon, 2009)
Note, however, that qualitative research is typically characterised as an ‘approach’ to research, which comprises a number of different qualitative research designs.

Whereas the approach adopted informs the fundamental aims and assumptions of the research (see Table 4.1 below), the qualitative design that is selected will inform

the more specific aims, methods and research questions that can be addressed. It is thus insufficient to describe a study as qualitative (which lacks important detail

regarding the specific aims, focus and guiding principles of data collection and analysis), just as it would be insufficient to describe a study as a qualitative

interview (which is the method by which data was collected, but gives little information about the guiding aims and principles of data collection and analysis). As

such, it is important not only to understand the fundamental characteristics of qualitative research (which are summarised below), but also the unique features, foci

and requirements of different qualitative designs (which we will turn to next).

Table 4.1 Emphases of Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research
Quantitative Research    Mixed Methods    Qualitative Research
Scientific method    Confirmatory or ‘top down’; the researcher tests hypotheses and theory with data    Confirmatory and exploratory    Exploratory or

‘bottom-up’; the researcher generates new knowledge, hypotheses and/or theory from the thick and rich data collected
Ontology (assumptions about the nature of reality/truth)    There is an objective reality (e.g., we all have a true height) and we are able to know and measure it

Acknowledges objectivity, subjectivity and their interrelations    Reality is subjective, fluid, dynamic, situational, social, contextual and personal
Epistemology (theory of knowledge)    A search for truth by empirical confirmation of hypotheses using rigorous scientific protocols    Pragmatic justification (what

works for whom in specific contexts)    Truth as relative, influenced by both individual and group and judged by varying standards
Common research objectives    Descriptive of numerical data (e.g., averages, percentages), explanation of cause and effect, prediction    Multiple objectives,

providing a complex and fuller understanding than either quantitative or qualitative alone    Subjective description of qualitative data, understanding, exploration
Interest    Identification of general scientific laws and principles that can be applied to a range of contexts    Connect theory and practice, narrow and deep,

generalisation and context specific, national and local interests    Understand and appreciate particular groups, individuals, phenomena
Focus    Narrow angle lens, testing specific hypotheses    Multi-lens focus    Wide angle and deep angle lens, examining the breadth and depth of phenomena to learn

more about them
Nature of observation    Emphasis on controlled conditions, isolation of variables to establish causal relationships    Study multiple contexts, perspectives or

conditions; study multiple factors as they operate together    Study groups and individuals in natural settings; attempt to understanding insiders’ views, meanings

and perspectives
Nature of data    Numerical or quantifiable data representing variables of interest    Both quantitative and qualitative forms of data    Collect words, text and images

such as interviews, observations, field notes and open-ended questions
Data analysis    Identify statistical differences between groups or relationships between variables (to establish the stability of the findings)    Quantitative and

qualitative analysis    Search for patterns, themes and holistic features; appreciate differences and variation
Table adapted from Johnson and Christensen’s (2012) Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches (p. 34).
Here’s a very short introduction to qualitative research by Dr. A.G. Picciano

In addition, the following readings may help your understanding of the strengths (and limitations) of qualitative research:
•    The Research Methods Knowledge Base  gives some useful reasons for choosing qualitative research
•    The British Medical Journal (BMJ) which principally publishes quantitative medical research has an interesting perspective in this article entitled How to read

a paper: Papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research). This is an interesting paper as it also gives a list of nine evaluative questions when reading

qualitative research papers in medical research.
•    Creswell is a prominent author in research methods for education. His chapter (included in the e-Readings for the subject), Quantitative and Qualitative

Approaches, is also excellent background reading on qualitative research.
There are also some excellent books in the library on qualitative research. One of my favourites is:
•    Eisner, E. W. (1991). The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice. New York: Macmillan.
Look for authors who write well in the subject like:
•    Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
•    Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.
•    Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
•    Glesne, C., & Peshkin, A. (1992). Becoming qualitative researchers. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Part 1: Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Qualitative Designs: Case Study
Case studies typically involve the detailed study of a particular person (e.g., a gifted and talented student recently accelerated), group (e.g., a girls’ championship

netball team), setting (e.g., the class of a highly accomplished teacher) or organisation (e.g., an organisation using a new computer-based training program). In the

instance of a multiple case study design, the participants in focus are a select few people, groups, settings or organisations.
The fundamental aim of case study research is to understand the phenomenon of interest by studying the case(s) in depth. For instance, a researcher might be interested

in describing the ‘case’ in sufficient detail for others to understand the context, or to glean information about specific instances that could not be generated from

research focusing on groups. Some examples of case study research include (the phenomenon of interest is bolded to help you identify the overarching aim of the

research):
•    Exploring the nature of gifted children’s friendships by focusing on one highly gifted Year 2 boy
•    Understanding the effectiveness of a gifted and talented program by focusing on a particular underachieving student in that program
•    Understanding how and why the Watergate cover-up occurred
Case studies allow the ‘case’ to be investigated in ‘thick and rich’ detail to find out how the phenomenon of interest operates, why it operates in that way and what

implications follow from this operation. Case studies typically show important events in the day-to-day of the case under investigation, which have importance in their

own right, but may also be used to confirm or reject theories. Case studies may also investigate the wide range of behaviours within the case, or may serve as a

preliminary study leading to further investigation once a range of behaviours have been identified.
The intention of a case study is to provide descriptive data from the synthesis of as many sources as possible in order to understand how things operate in that

particular case. These data sources are often qualitative in nature, including analysis of documents and archival records, interviews, as well as observations and

field notes from naturalistic settings. Case studies may also contain quantifiable measures, such as the results of standardised tests, benchmark measures or attitude

scales. The depth and breadth of the case study descriptions allow the reader to make connections to other contexts.
The following are examples of case study research from the e-Reading library for this subject. Reflect upon the differences and consistencies in how the researcher(s)

have employed a case study design in their inquiries.

Suggested articles:
•    Cartwright, V., & Hammond, M. (2007). ‘Fitting it in’: A study exploring ICT use in a UK primary school. Australasian Journal of Education Technology, 23(3),

390-407.
•    Compton-Lily, C. (2006). Identity, childhood culture and literacy learning: A case study. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 6(1), 57-76.
•    Hay, I., & Winn, S. (2005). Students with Asperger’s Syndrome in an inclusive secondary school environment: Teachers’, parents’ and students’ perspectives.

Australasian Journal of Special Education, 29(2), 140-154.
References to enable you to further examine case study methodology:
•    Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications
•    Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: design and methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications
•    Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications

Part 1: Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Qualitative Designs: Narrative Inquiry
The word ‘narrative’ is likely not an unfamiliar term to you; when you consider the word narrative, a favourite book or movie might spring to mind. Not surprising,

when you consider that most of us love a good story (consider: how many of you have stayed up late into the night needing to know what is going to happen in that next

chapter… waking up exhausted the next day!)

This love of stories and particularly other people’s stories brought A/Prof Lisa Kervin to narrative inquiry, an approach that she used in research on university

students who were the first of their family to come to university. We will return to Lisa’s story after some history and context for this particular methodological

approach.
Historical Overview:
Barthes (1977) is regarded as being one of the first theorists to suggest that narrative studies provide an important contribution to social science research,

identifying how narrative provides a tool for analysing individual social reality and meaning making (Czarniawska, 2002). Since the seventies, this interest in

narrative as a tool for better understanding human and social science has grown, demonstrated by the abundance of literature relating to its application and research

potential (further resources are available at the bottom of this page).

Narrative inquiry also spans disciplines and this design has been adopted by areas including, but not limited to, psychology, sociology, education, literary studies,

history and health. This wide adoption is in part reflective of the versatility of this design (Lieblich, Tural-Masiach & Zilber, 1998). Essentially narrative inquiry

enables entry into the ‘lived experience’ of individuals, highlighting how reality is not objective but essentially ‘messy’!
What are they?
Basically narrative refers to a sequence of events, usually organised into a whole in order to facilitate understanding of the significance of these (Eliott, 2005).

Narratives are generally:
•    Chronological – usually following a beginning, middle and end format
•    Meaningful – need to ‘make sense’
•    Social – generally created in relation to a specific audience.
For instance, narrative designs might be used to investigate the following:
•    How have Australian pre-service teachers’ experiences with children with AD/HD shaped the way they interact with these students?
•    How is chronic illness lived and experiences by individuals with terminal cancer? (this was the focus of Kleinman, 1988)
Interviews offer the space to negotiate and evolve rich, meaningful narrative, however, interviewers must take care to adopt a less directive role. Interview

participants need to be provided with the space and time to tell their stories rather than simply respond to questions. Hopefully, this results in an in-depth

interview which generates rich, deep understandings of phenomena. Narratives can also be in a written from and this type of textual analysis also provides great

insight into how people ‘story’ the world.

What are the benefits of using narrative inquiry for research?
This type of research can be very meaningful and engaging for the researcher – you find yourself completely absorbed by the stories told by people. In-depth

interviewing ‘gives permission’ to individuals to engage in lengthy monologues which often avoid normal turn-taking conversational practices. The interviews may

explore areas that in general conversation would remain off-limits.
This highlights another key feature of narrative research driven by interviews – undoubtedly the conversational outcomes depend greatly on the nature of interaction

between interviewer and interviewee, as well as the relationship between them. This approach is not suitable for those who would prefer to remain distant or

‘objective’ when conducting research. In this interaction, narrative inquiry encourages empathy and allows interviewees to define and highlight the significance of

life actions, in their own terms. This can be a very powerful experience for people, particularly if they have been oppressed or silenced.

What are the shortfalls / limitations?:
The highly interpretative nature of narrative inquiry has attracted some criticism. Some researchers have pointed out that it appears to be more an intuitive art

rather than formalised research (a criticism that also has been lodged at qualitative research more broadly). If you decide to adopt this design, or any qualitative

design, it will be necessary to be very explicit in your methods and analytical framework.

In terms of interview-based narrative inquiry, the quality of the narratives is very dependent upon the quality of the meeting. There is a real need to create a

collaborative space where participants feel comfortable and are provided with the space to speak freely. Avoid underestimating the time it will take to interview, and

also the length of the interviews, as you will need to let the respondent pursue themes and areas that may not at first seem relevant but as the study proceeds may

‘open-up’ new areas of exploration.

During conversations, narratives rarely emerge in pristine and complete forms; during data analysis it may be necessary to ‘fracture’ narrative and this can be

regarded as altering the intrinsic meaning of text. However, during a semi-structured interview a large amount of data is generated and it is not theoretically tenable

to replicate chunks of narrative in pristine form. While shorter narratives can be analysed in their originality, for material such as that derived from semi-

structured interviews it may be necessary to delineate the text in some way. Again, maintaining transparency in your approach will assist in overcoming this

limitation.

Why did Lisa decide to use narrative?
Lisa’s research sought to highlight stories of coming to university, persisting in this environment and how individuals made sense of these experiences. By focusing on

the narrative strategies and the content of these stories, the study highlighted connections to wider political and social contexts.

The interviews were semi-structured and occurred over a 12-month period. During the year, Lisa visited each of the participants a total of four times and this

cumulative nature facilitated the creation of ‘thick description’ where participants could reflect upon their experiences. The interviewees found the process very

cathartic as they discussed areas of their life that no-one else in their immediate family or even social circle understood (remember these were students who were

first in their family to come to university). Their initial stories evolved and developed over time and the serial nature of the interviews provided a safe environment

for individuals to feel secure. This exposed the multi-layered nature of reality, as Clandinin and Connelly (2000) describe, stories are like ‘nuggets’ expressing life

as it is lived (p. 79).

How did Lisa conduct narrative inquiry?
There is no standard or generally accepted approach to conducting narrative analysis and the approach adopted is dependent on the focus of the study, essentially

dictated by whether the focus is on narrative content or the structure and form.

This study examined the content of narratives, examining not only the chronology of what has happened but also highlighting the evaluative nature of this occurrence,

the meaning making associated with these experiences. Lisa followed a circuitous process, which required repeated entry and immersion in the text followed by

reflection and verification. This process included an initial immersion in the text leading to the generation of codes or categories to facilitate focus. She then

engaged with the text through multiple readings and reflections in an attempt to generate connections or recognise relationships within the text. In addition, it was

vital to search the text for confirmation of these connections, as well as different or alternative explanations, as narrative inquiry is essentially an interpretative

approach necessitating interpretation from both narrator and researcher.

For example, when Lisa was examining students’ initial reflections on their motives to come to university, Lisa found that different cohorts reported different

processes leading to this arrival. While Lisa initially defined the category broadly as motives to arrive, she later focused more specifically on this area and

realised that it required further definition as this process involved an initial decision, which had different analytic properties to the motives. The decision to

arrive was further differentiated by student cohort, for the students with children this decision reflected a metaphorical ‘arrival’ at a point in life where

university seemed possible, whereas for the younger students it represented a more linear or progressive movement dictated by educational or vocational concerns. Hence

the analytic category gradually emerged from the interviews and was further contextualized by subsequent dialogues.

Other approaches to narrative inquiry include examining the structure and form of the narrative and in doing this may borrow from approaches associated with socio-

linguistics, for example, James Gee’s work on units of discourse.  Another approach that assists in examining narrative form is the application of the genre approach

where narratives can be identified according to genre frameworks that are culturally shared. For example, the common elements that differentiate between a comedy and

tragedy or a western and a romantic movie, these shared assumptions dictate expectations and enable classification. Within narrative analysis, such a tool can provide

an additional element to the student of narrative form. One example of this is Williamson’s study (1989) on the AIDS epidemic, which indicated that media

representations of AIDS reflected the Gothic genre as the virus was portrayed as evil and demonised for the audience.

As you can see, narrative inquiry has many different applications and provides deep understanding of the very complex and contradictory nature of the social world.

Extra Reading / References:
•    Barthes, R. (1977). Image, music, text / Roland Barthes; essays selected and translated by Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang.
•    Clandinin, D. W., & Connelly, M. F. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. California: Jossey-Bass.
•    Czarniawska, B. (2002). Narrative, interviews and organisations. In J. F. Gubrium & J. Holstein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research, context and method (pp.

733-750). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
•    Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (1995). The active interview. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage.
•    Lieblich, A., Tural-Masiach, R., & Zilber, T. (1998). Narrative research: Reading, analysis and interpretation. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
•    Eliott, J. (2005). Using narrative in social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Sage.

Part 1: Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Qualitative Designs: Ethnography
Ethnography refers to the study of the lived and shared experiences of a cultural or social group of people, over a long period of time, through detailed observation

and discussion about the culture in which they exist.  Often, the researcher will take the role of a participant-observer, meaning that they will be both a researcher

and a participant at the same time. Ethnography refers to the exhaustive process of understanding what meanings participants make of their culture, how these meanings

are constructed and the relationships that exist among members of the group.
For instance, the following questions have been researched using an ethnographic design:
•    How do students of a comprehensive girls’ school who are identified as having ‘special educational needs’ perceive their prospects of academic success?

(Benjamin, 2003)
•    How does art education in an all-boys school provide students with opportunities to critically explore their beliefs and values regarding what it means to be

masculine? (Imms, 2003)
•    How is adolescence negotiated by Samoan islanders?  Does this present a different picture than in Western cultures?  Does this suggest common ‘disturbances’

that are due to the nature of adolescence or to the influences of the surrounding culture? (Mead, 1928)
•    How is the concept of masculinity constructed among a group of Aboriginal males in an Australian outback school? (adapted from Reimer, 2008)
•    What are the attitudes of gifted and talented children in a regular classroom towards schoolwork? (adapted from Reimer, 2008)
•    What does medical school do to medical students beyond simply giving them a technical education? How does this impact their later activity as a doctor?

(Becker, Geer, Hughes, & Strauss, 1992)
•    How do early adolescent females read literature that falls outside the realm of fiction? (Finders, 1996)
Ethnographic research typically uses observation in naturalistic settings as the predominant method of data collection. From these observations, researchers make field

notes, which after some time are coded, analysed and interpreted to see if the observed events can be explained. These interpretations form a grounded theory, which

quite literally refers to a theory of what is happening, grounded in what the researcher has seen.  Later observations cause this theory to be confirmed or modified.

Discussion of the theory, analyses and interpretations with the participants guide further investigation.

An ethnographic study requires an emphasis on holistic inquiry (investigating the whole context), phenomenology (attempting to capture insiders’ viewpoints), multiple

realities (investigating a range of viewpoints) and purposive sampling (deliberate selection of particular participants).  Induction from observation will lead to a

grounded theory based on subjectivity, intuition and contextualization, with the research design emerging from the originally conceived design as necessary.
Margaret Mead is one of the most well-known ethnographic researchers.  View some of her work through YouTube.  This link is to part 1 (of 6) of her work Tales From the

Jungle.  As you view the documentary consider how the principles of ethnography look in the research process.

Part 1: Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Qualitative Designs: Action Research
If you enter action research into a search engine (i.e. Google) you will be able to access a myriad of resources profiling the action research methodology. While the

conceptualisation of action research as a distinct research design remains debated, there is little doubt regarding its utility for educators (more on this in a

moment). What is particularly interesting is the visual representation of the process for inquiry. Essentially action research involves a cyclic approach where

processes of planning, action, observation, reflection and revision of plan are engaged with.

Action research generally involves researchers and practitioners (or practitioners themselves, if they are sufficiently well-versed in action research methods)

identifying a problem important to the practitioner and working jointly to solve that problem. Action research takes place in a specific setting, with each setting

unique in terms of the problem and the participants, and with interventions deliberately made so as to alter the situation into one that is perceived as more

desirable. As one action is unsuccessful, or only partially successful, further actions are taken until there is a suitable resolution to the situation.

Action research begins with an analysis of the existing situation, or identification of a problem. On the basis of a systematic evaluation of possible solutions, an

‘ideal’ solution is put forward, or hypothesized. Further facts are gathered from the setting or from the literature, from which the initial solutions can be modified.

The implementation phase should be discussed in detail by the stakeholders so that all understand and agree upon the instruments, resources and methods to be used.

These plans are then put into action, with a range of data (quantitative and/or qualitative) gathered, followed by a careful analysis of the range of consequences of

this solution. These data are then analysed and a report written outlining the steps taken, consequences of those steps and any other relevant aspect of the

investigation.
What is important to note, and what is often overlooked by those undertaking ‘action research’, is the systematic nature of this research (see our earlier definition

of research in education). That is, it is not merely guessing at an effective solution to a problem and then seeking data confirming its success. Rather, the initial

planning stages should involve a careful, thoughtful, systematic and exhaustive review of possible solutions, from which one is selected as particularly well-suited to

the context. Similarly, the range of data collected should be comprehensive and permit identification of both positive and negative outcomes. This rigorous approach is

what differentiates action research from the everyday modifications and evaluations of educators.
References to enable you to further examine action research methodology:
•    Baumfield, V., Hall, E. & Wall, K. (2008). Action research in the classroom. London, Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE Publications.
•    Kemmis, S. & McTaggart, R. (1988). The action research planner. Deakin University: Deakin University Press.
•    McNiff, J. (2004). You and your action research project. London; New York: Routledge Falmer.
•    Schmuck, R. A. (2008). Practical action research : a collection of articles. Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin Press.
•    Stringer, E. (2008). Action research in education. Upper Saddle River NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Part 1: Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Qualitative Designs: Capstone
Weekly ‘Capstone’ Activity and Discussion:
We have now discussed a range of designs and characteristics associated with qualitative research. Although we have not exhausted the list of qualitative designs (some

argue that there are more than 20 different qualitative research designs), you should now be familiar with at least the basics of four common qualitative designs. This

should include their unique aims, the sorts of research questions they address and how adoption of each design can influence the research methods (e.g., participants,

methods of data collection, types of data collected) adopted.
After working through the Moodle content Part 1 for this week and reading Chapter 5 (the qualitative component) of the text, apply this new knowledge to an area of

interest to you. Within your area of specialisation, propose four different research areas/topics, each of which you think would lend it itself well to a different

qualitative design (propose one topic/area for each of case study, narrative, ethnography and action research). Post your responses in the forum.

Table 4.1 Emphases of Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research
Quantitative Research    Mixed Methods    Qualitative Research
Scientific method    Confirmatory or ‘top down’; the researcher tests hypotheses and theory with data    Confirmatory and exploratory    Exploratory or

‘bottom-up’; the researcher generates new knowledge, hypotheses and/or theory from the thick and rich data collected
Ontology (assumptions about the nature of reality/truth)    There is an objective reality (e.g., we all have a true height) and we are able to know and measure it

Acknowledges objectivity, subjectivity and their interrelations    Reality is subjective, fluid, dynamic, situational, social, contextual and personal
Epistemology (theory of knowledge)    A search for truth by empirical confirmation of hypotheses using rigorous scientific protocols    Pragmatic justification (what

works for whom in specific contexts)    Truth as relative, influenced by both individual and group and judged by varying standards
Common research objectives    Descriptive of numerical data (e.g., averages, percentages), explanation of cause and effect, prediction    Multiple objectives,

providing a complex and fuller understanding than either quantitative or qualitative alone    Subjective description of qualitative data, understanding, exploration
Interest    Identification of general scientific laws and principles that can be applied to a range of contexts    Connect theory and practice, narrow and deep,

generalisation and context specific, national and local interests    Understand and appreciate particular groups, individuals, phenomena
Focus    Narrow angle lens, testing specific hypotheses    Multi-lens focus    Wide angle and deep angle lens, examining the breadth and depth of phenomena to learn

more about them
Nature of observation    Emphasis on controlled conditions, isolation of variables to establish causal relationships    Study multiple contexts, perspectives or

conditions; study multiple factors as they operate together    Study groups and individuals in natural settings; attempt to understanding insiders’ views, meanings

and perspectives
Nature of data    Numerical or quantifiable data representing variables of interest    Both quantitative and qualitative forms of data    Collect words, text and images

such as interviews, observations, field notes and open-ended questions
Data analysis    Identify statistical differences between groups or relationships between variables (to establish the stability of the findings)    Quantitative and

qualitative analysis    Search for patterns, themes and holistic features; appreciate differences and variation
Table adapted from Johnson and Christensen’s (2012) Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches (p. 34).
Here’s a very short introduction to qualitative research by Dr. A.G. Picciano
In addition, the following readings may help your understanding of the strengths (and limitations) of qualitative research:
•    The Research Methods Knowledge Base  gives some useful reasons for choosing qualitative research
•    The British Medical Journal (BMJ) which principally publishes quantitative medical research has an interesting perspective in this article entitled How to read

a paper: Papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research). This is an interesting paper as it also gives a list of nine evaluative questions when reading

qualitative research papers in medical research.
•    Creswell is a prominent author in research methods for education. His chapter (included in the e-Readings for the subject), Quantitative and Qualitative

Approaches, is also excellent background reading on qualitative research.
There are also some excellent books in the library on qualitative research. One of my favourites is:
•    Eisner, E. W. (1991). The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice. New York: Macmillan.
Look for authors who write well in the subject like:
•    Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
•    Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.
•    Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
•    Glesne, C., & Peshkin, A. (1992). Becoming qualitative researchers. White Plains, NY: Longman.

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