In Questioning Qualitative Inquiry Martin Hammersley argues that the move away from natural science as a model for social inquiry involves a rejection of key principles that are essential for any commitment to research.
Discussing fifty years of change in qualitative social research, Martyn Hammersley's argument is pursued in concrete terms through discussion of specific issues, such as:
- how to learn from the history of qualitative inquiry
- can qualitative methodology be taught
- the significance of researchers' commitment to tolerance
- the role of rhetoric in research reports
- the attitudes of qualitative researchers towards theory, evidence and validity.
A key theme is the current emphasis on discursive rather than social action as the focus of study, and the implications of this not just for the process of analysis but also for the use of various kinds of data.
At a time when qualitative inquiry is coming under challenge, as a result of pressure to serve evidence-based policymaking and practice, these issues are becoming increasingly pressing. These often provocative essays on current developments and debates are essential reading for anyone interested in the future of qualitative research.