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Theory and evidence in qualitative research

Hammersley, Martyn (1995). Theory and evidence in qualitative research. Quality and Quantity, 29(1) pp. 55–66.

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This article identifies and explores some unresolved problems surrounding the role of theory and evidence in qualitative research. It begins by distinguishing among various meanings of the term theory, focusing in particular on the view that portrays it as consisting of specific explanatory principles. An ambivalence towards theory on the part of qualitative researchers is highlighted, showing how the influence of positivism persists despite explicit rejection of it. The problems involved in non-positivist reinterpretations are discussed, notably the attempt to integrate theory with description. The focus of the paper then turns to the concept of evidence. Here again a tendency for qualitative researchers to inherit an empiricist approach is identified, and the implications of abandoning it are outlined. Finally, it is argued that theory must not be seen as the only or even as the most important product of qualitative (or indeed of quantitative) research; several types of product are possible, each placing different requirements on the researcher.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 1995 Springer
ISSN: 0033-5177
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 20385
Depositing User: Users 9543 not found.
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2010 15:39
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 18:55
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