The history of qualitative research in education

Hammersley, Martyn (2023). The history of qualitative research in education. In: Tierney, Robert J.; Rizvi, Fazal and Erkican, Kadriye eds. International Encyclopedia of Education (Fourth Edition). Elsevier, pp. 14–23.



This article outlines the history of qualitative research in education, indicating some of the many topics that have been investigated, and the range of methodological approaches and methods employed, across several disciplines, from the middle of the 20th century. There is also a discussion of key disputes that have arisen in the course of this process of development, such as those relating to what it means for research to be educational, the relationship between a macro and a micro focus, critical versus analytic approaches, the implications of postmodernism, the challenge of the evidence-based practice movement, and the rise of the “post-qualitative”.

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