SAGE Journal Articles
SAGE journal articles and other additional readings have been carefully selected by the author to accompany each chapter. Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
After 20 years of qualitative inquiry, some current trends and challenges are outlined, which might affect the current state and further development of qualitative research in the near future. A central focus is their impact on the politics of qualitative research. Politics of inquiry addressing problems of societal relevance are challenged by the globalization and internationalization of qualitative enquiry or trends to big data in funding. Other relevant trends are expectations about archiving and reanalysis of qualitative data, the new interest in qualitative inquiry in the context of evidence, limitations coming from ethical reviews, and the limitation to mixed methods research. These trends are discussed here by using examples from current research projects. Locating qualitative inquiry in the future is discussed between being pushed aside by citizen research and taking over some (sub)disciplines.
Qualitative researchers have an array of choices in how to write up their research. Yet many write in distanced, third-person voices and give short shrift to the voices of informants, as if neither they nor their informants were part of the research. In doing so, they might believe that their writing style is scientific. Unfortunately, such styles of writing not only silence their informants and themselves, but many times they also contradict the philosophies of science on which many forms of qualitative research are based. If our philosophies of science are science, then how we write up our research, when it is consistent with our science, must logically be scientific. “Grab,” or writing that is both interesting and memorable, goes hand in hand with good science.
The author presents his views for breaking from the traditional order (“Chapter Two” in many studies) and segregation of topics – literature review, theory, and method – in favor of integrating these components into a report only as needed. He urges researchers to consider alternative ways of satisfying the intent of a literature review. He questions whether traditional requirements result in theories being forced or presented prematurely, and raises the possibility of presenting multiple or cumulative theories toward the study’s end. He notes that qualitative research is based on participant observation and the resulting insights and wonders whether an emphasis on methodology detracts from our studies. Engaging writing can result when writers are free to break with tradition and present their findings in discovery-oriented ways.