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.

Article 3.1

Labaree, R. (2002). The risk of “going observationalist”: Negotiating the hidden dilemmas of being an insider participant observer. Qualitative Research, 2, 97-122.

Based on a review of literature and the author’s own experiences, this article develops a framework for understanding the hidden dilemmas of being an insider participant observer. A common assumption made about participant observation is that being an insider offers a distinct advantage in terms of accessing and understanding the culture. However, these advantages are not absolute and the insider must be aware of ethical and methodological dilemmas associated with entering the field, positioning and disclosure, shared relationships and disengagement. The article discusses these dilemmas and identifies issues that need more careful evaluation and analysis within the field of qualitative inquiry. The assumption that insiderness provides the researcher with greater access and deeper understanding is often true, but the degree of achieved insiderness is related to a number of critical factors that are determined by the circumstances of the moment.

Article 3.2

Sandberg, J., & Alvesson, M. (2011). Ways of constructing research questions: Gap-spotting or problematization? Organization, 18, 23-44. 

This article examines ways of constructing research questions from existing literature, which are likely to promote the development of interesting and influential theories. We review 52 articles in organization studies and develop a typology of how researchers construct their research questions from existing literature. The most common way across paradigmatic camps is to spot various ‘gaps’ in the literature and, based on that, to formulate specific research questions. The dominance of gap-spotting is surprising, given it is increasingly recognized that theory is made interesting and influential when it challenges assumptions that underlie existing literature. The article discusses why assumption-challenging approaches are rare, and it identifies a range of social norms that favour gap-spotting. Finally, the article proposes some ways of constructing research questions that move beyond gap-spotting, and discusses how these ways are likely to promote more interesting and significant theories.

Article 3.3

Stamler, L. (2002). Developing and refining the research question: Step 1 in the research process. Diabetes Educator, 28, 958-962. 

The first phase of developing and refining the research question is to develop the question, a process that starts with articulating an idea that evolves into a research question. One important factor in developing the research question that is not always considered is the paradigm of the researcher, which is the way that the researcher looks at and things about the world (i.e., his/her philosophical stance.)