Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yonghwan's Questions

1. It was interesting to know there are a number of scholars who are reluctant to provide a definition of qualitative research. I could understand what they intent for in that qualitative research and method are very flexible and intersubjective; they don’t want to limit its flexible boundaries and mislead the readers. And I also agree that “this is of very little comfort to students and other scholars trying to understand it” because I don’t want to wander through the literature aimlessly (we may see definitions for qualitative research p. 7 are still helpful for us). Thus the thing is that would resisting making a definition be helpful in growing the field of qualitative research? If it would, how?

2. Continued to this issue, has anyone thought about research questions that would not be solved with existing qualitative method? Are these kinds of issues (i.e., resisting a simple definition of qualitative method and research questions which is sort of hard to answer with existing qualitative methods) related to emergence of Triangulation?

3. Triangulation is used to refer to the observation of the research issue from two different points (Flick, p. 178). In the section of criticisms of triangulation, it is stated that “triangulation is now seen less as a validation strategy within qualitative research and more as a strategy for justifying and underpinning knowledge by gaining additional knowledge (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994, p, 5; cf. Flick, 1992).” What’s the point of differentiating a validation strategy from a strategy for justifying and underpinning knowledge?

4. It is interesting to see that while much of the quantitative approach follows the traditions of humanism, there is also a sizable scholarly community of qualitative researchers who consider themselves as following the traditions of science more so than the traditions of humanism (Potter, p. 34). I remember that I had a conversation with my colleagues regarding this topic. One of my senior colleagues, who are qualitative person graduated from UT RTF, mentioned that qualitative research is also science and can be even more scientific than quantitative research. As a qualitative researcher (or at least a student taking qualitative method class), do you think qualitative research is science? If yes, in what sense?

5. It seems important to consider generalization issue in debating whether qualitative research is science or not, which is closely related to theory (building or developing). How can qualitative research make generalization (at least among those who follow the traditions of science)? In addition, in relation to theory building, which one comes first, theory or observation?

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