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Using qualitative methods

Hammersley, Martyn (1981). Using qualitative methods. Social Science Information Studies, 1(4) pp. 209–220.

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This paper is an in-depth discussion of one particular qualitative approach—ethnography. The author makes the point that the distinctive character of this kind of work derives not so much from the methods used as from a set of underlying methodological principles. These are defined as (1) a concern with discovery and with the generation and development as well as the testing of theory; (2) a commitment to learning the culture of those being studied—in other words, not assuming that one understands the social meanings even of familiar settings but treating events as though they were ‘anthropologically strange’; (3) a recognition of the importance of context, in the sense that to understand actions or events one must view them in the light of related actions and events, and one must be alert to contextual variability in people's behaviour, including that of putting up a front to deceive others (whether other actors or researchers). Against this background, the author goes on to outline some of the techniques of the ethnographer—grounded theorizing (the two main components being theoretical sampling and the constant comparative method), and two techniques for testing theory (triangulation and analytic induction). He stresses that this is a research tradition still in the throes of development.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 1981 Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0268-4012
Extra Information: Reprinted in E. Arriaga, D. Anderton and D.J. Bogue (eds). Readings in population research methodology. Chicago, Social Development Centre, 1993
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 20406
Depositing User: Users 9543 not found.
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2010 14:02
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 09:33
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