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Foundations of Qualitative Research

Foundations of Qualitative Research
Interpretive and Critical Approaches

Other Titles in:
Qualitative Research

January 2007 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Foundations of Qualitative Research introduces key theoretical and epistemological concepts in an accessible and non-intimidating style replete with historical and current real-world examples employed to bring these otherwise difficult concepts to life.
Chapter 1: World Views, Paradigms, and the Practice of Social Science Research
Case 1. Quantitative Research

Case 2. Qualitative Research

Thinking about the Foundations and Practice of Research

What This Book Is and Is Not About.

What Warrants Our Attention?

The Traditional Canon

Alternative Paradigms

New Techniques or New Paradigms?

Chapter 2: History and Context of Paradigm Development
Positivism: A Response to Metaphysical and Magical Explanations

Critical Theory: A Response to Inequities in Society

Interpretivism: A Response to the Excesses of “Scientific” Social Science

The Special Cases of Postmodernism and Feminism

Chapter 3: Foundational Issues: Postpositivist and Critical Perspectives
Social Science Research: The View from the Postpositivist Paradigm

Social Science Research: The View from the Critical Theory Paradigm

Chapter 4: History and Foundations of Interpretivist Research
(1) Nature of Reality.

(2) Purpose of Research.

(3) Acceptable Methodology/Data.

(4) The Meaning of Data

(5) Relationship of Research to Practice.

The Implications of an Interpretivist Approach

What Sorts of Research are Worthwhile?

Examples of Interpretive Research

Chapter 5: Frameworks for Qualitative Research
Postpositivist Research

“Moments” of Qualitative Research

Some General Frameworks for Qualitative Research

Chapter 6: General Guidelines for Qualitative Research
Guidelines for Qualitative Research

Situated or Contextual Understanding, Not Truth, is the Purpose of Research

Accept Multiple Sources of Influence

Take A Foundational Rather Than Technique Perspective

Practice Recursive (Iterative ) and Emergent Data Collection and Analysis

Use Multiple Sources of Data

Think of Research as a Reflective Process

The Researcher is the Primary Tool for Data Collection and Analysis

An Emphasis on Participatory versus Nonparticipatory Research.

Adopt an Open Approach

Deal With Bias Directly

Select Natural Contexts for Research

Research Should be Holistic, Not Atomistic

Research Involves More Than Induction and Deduction: Analogical Reasoning, Abduction, and Family Resemblances

Alternatives to Postpositivist Criteria for Believability: Validity and Reliability

Alternative Approaches to Validity and Reliability: Triangulation and More

Conclusions? Aren’t They Generalizations?

Chapter 7: Methods of Qualitative Research
Case 1: Action Research on a Pediatric Surgical Ward

Established Qualitative Research Methods


Case Studies: Another Form of Qualitative Observation

Interview Research


Historiography: The Research Methods of History Innovative Methods

Participatory Qualitative Research

Emancipatory Research

Critical Emancipatory Action Research

Chapter 8: Approaches to Data Analysis and Intepretation
The Purpose of Research

General Theory

Objective Description

Hermeneutic (Verstehen) Understanding

Story telling/Narrative

Data Analysis Families

Eyeballing the Data

Connoisseurship: A Global Perspective

Hermeneutics as a Data Analysis Method

Grounded Theory

Analytic Induction

A Final Topic: The Ethics of Research

Chapter 9: 21st Century Social Science: Peering into the Future
Will the Cacophony Continue?

Why Can’t Social Science Converge on The Answer?



Dialog as an Alternative to Competition

Three Approaches to Knowing in Greek Thought



The Humanities

Choices 20th Century Social Science Made

Suppose We Chose Badly

Two Theories That May Help Us Build 21st Century Social Science

Poetic Logic

Chaos and Complexity Theory: Another Route to a Nonlinea Social Science


"Willis catches the student up on relevant aspects of philosophy, empiricism, history, and prevailing political influences.  This building of chronology is so valuable for students in understanding the origins of specific schools of thought in relations to a paradigm."

Heather T. Zeng, NACADA

Heather T. Zeng
Park University
National ACademic ADvising Association

One cannot underestimate the importance of this book. Willis deals with topics and concepts that are normally relegated to a paragraph in other methodology books: interpretivism, hermeneutics and phenomenology. Please note I will be recommending it for COM4809 and not COM4801 as indicated below.

Professor Beschara Karam
Department of Communicatin Science, University of South Africa
February 22, 2016

A fantastic book for those who are considering to engage in qualitative research. It covers all the vital parts that are included in qualitative inquiry, such as paradigms and methodology to interpretation and meaning. A must for post-grad students

Ms Irena Loveikaite
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
April 14, 2016

The book is comprehensively written. It can be very useful for masters and doctoral students. The paradigms are well presented which can assist in clearing a lot of confusion which some students have regarding paradigm,

Professor Azwihangwisi Helen Mavhandu-Mudzusi
Health Studies, University of South Africa
February 26, 2016

This is a useful book that is recommended for PG level.

Mrs Joan Howarth
School of Health (Kedleston Cps), Derby University
April 21, 2015

A 'must read' for Education and social science students commencing research at UG or PG level. Expertly written, appropriate detail, thought provoking

Mr Andrew Holmes
Centre for Educational Studies, Hull University
May 20, 2014

excellent for health and social care students

Miss Jude Radford
Cardiff School of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University
February 26, 2014

A very useful text on the principles underpinning qualitative research and will be very useful for those wanting to explore this approach in some depth

Dr Nikki Petty
Health , Brighton University
November 27, 2012

A great text for students who want to know more about qualitative methods. Parts of it may also be interesting as part of an introduction module.

Dr Sarah Spencer
Dept of Human Communication Sciences, Sheffield University
December 19, 2011

This text had a unique take on exploring qualitative research - finally an entire, well-researched book that had interpretivist (and of course critical) understanding at its heart. I currently work hermeneutically and this book, even at this late stage of my current project has made such a difference.

I particularly like the key articles it uses to exemplify its points - a useful way to get 3rd year undergraduates and PG Dip students seeing direct connections between the methodology and the actual research carried out. I'm already recommending it as in a single book they can easily and flexibly cover interpretive approaches, which helps to add balance to the range of methodologies they are exposed to.

Mr Russell Delderfield
Please select your department, Bradford University
November 23, 2011

Jerry W. Willis

Jerry W. Willis (PhD, University of Alabama, Clinical Psychology) is Associate Dean for Research  in the College of Education at Louisiana State University. Prior to joining LSU, he was Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Technology in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Chief Scientist in the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State University. Dr. Willis has been teaching qualitative research for many years, and has written numerous articles and book chapters on qualitative methods. He has written more than 50 books, conference proceedings and software tutorials, the majority of these works... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412927413
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