NSU Home  The Qualitative Report
An online bi-monthly journal dedicated to qualitative research since 1990

Volume 15 Number 5 September 2010
    Ronald J. Chenail, Ph.D., Sally St. George, Ph.D., Dan Wulff, Ph.D., Maureen Duffy, Ph.D., Laurie L. Charles, Ph.D., and Karen Wilson Scott, Ph.D., Editors
Robin Cooper, Managing Editor | Monica Tobin, Production Editor

ISSN 1052-0147

Table of Contents


A Hermeneutic Reading into "What Strategy is": Ambiguous Means-End Relationship (pp. 1037-1057)
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Ali Bakir and Milan Todorovic

Abstract: Given the underutilization of hermeneutic research in organizations and the recognition that we do not know what strategy is, we undertake a hermeneutic reading of authorial texts to develop a robust understanding of strategy. We enter into a self-reflexive dialogue with the text to accomplish a fusion of horizons where we hope to turn our prejudices into productive prejudices. In this dialogue, we utilize competing strategy paradigms within a framework that treats the means-end relationship and its underpinning rationality as central to our understanding. This study portrays strategy as a series of intended actions operating along the instrumental/objective - interpretive/subjective continuum, depending on the nature of the means-end relationship. We further contribute to knowledge by demonstrating how to apply hermeneutics to understand complex organizational concepts, and through the intendedness of strategy we emphasize management agency and dispense with the 'emergent strategy' notion, common in the literature. Key Words: Hermeneutic, Means-End, Rationality, Intended Strategy, Instrumental, and Interpretive

A View from the Inside: An In-Depth Look at a Female University Student's Experience with a Feel-Based Intervention to Enhance Self-Confidence and Self-Talk (pp. 1058-1079)
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Eva Guérin, Isabelle Arcand, and Natalie Durand-Bush

Abstract: The primary goal of this investigation was to document, using the participatory paradigm, a female university student's experience with a feel-based intervention intended to enhance the quality of her academic experiences including her self-confidence and self-talk. In this unique qualitative case study, the student participated in a 15-week intervention that included multiple in-depth interviews and regular journaling, both of which prompted regular self-monitoring and self-reflection. A narrative account illustrates how the student learned to regulate the way she felt through the intervention, leading to increased self-awareness and self-control, as well as enhanced self-talk and self-confidence. Key Words: Intervention, Self-Regulation, Feel, Resonance, Self-confidence, Self- Talk, Self-Awareness, and Journaling

Developing the Art of Becoming a Couple: A Grounded Theory Study of the Positive Influence of Married and Loving It! ® (pp. 1080-1101)
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Barbara D. Petty

Abstract: Couples can improve their marriages by implementing relationship building skills they learn while participating in a marriage education program. This study addresses how marriages improved as a result of participating in the marriage education program, Married and Loving It!® and what specific components of the learning experience facilitated the change. Using grounded theory methodology, the data collected from 12 participants, six married couples through in depth semi-structured interviews, revealed how participating in Married and Loving It! ® can assist couples in improving their relationships by guiding them through a developmental process. It is through skill development and a greater understanding of themselves and their spouse; couples are able to make positive changes in their behaviors and attitudes which influence their marriages. Key Words: Marriage Education, Marriage Enrichment, Couples Education, Adult Learning, Grounded Theory, and Program Evaluation

Avoiding Traps in Member Checking (pp. 1102-1113)
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Julie A. Carlson

Abstract: Due to the variations of design and protocol in qualitative inquiry, researchers may inadvertently create problems for themselves in terms of the trustworthiness of their research. Miscommunication between participants and researchers can especially arise from the unique and unpredictable nature of human dynamics. In this paper I contend that such problems, or traps, can easily and at times unknowingly be set during the qualitative process known as member checking, threatening the researcher/participant relationship and possibly the stability of the study. In this paper, I examine member checking through five vignettes personally experienced. These vignettes are preceded by a presentation of common procedures for increasing trustworthiness, and are followed by several recommendations for avoiding the setting and triggering of member checking traps. Key Words: Narrative Inquiry, Qualitative, Member Checking, and Trustworthiness

The Four Key Factors That Drive Successful Decisions (pp. 1114-1123)
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Joseph Yeager and Linda Sommer

Abstract: The mechanisms of language operate as the vehicles for motivation, thinking and deciding. Language is a replica, a model, a representational map of reality. In the same way that a flawed roadmap will misrepresent reality and mislead a traveler, a flawed linguistic rationale will mislead a decision maker in any situation. In high-stakes situations that occur in globalized organizations, such as the current economic meltdown, the importance and consequences of flawed linguistic rationales are obvious. Simple suggestions for self examination of linguistic rationales are offered. Key Words: Motivation, Motivational Profiling, Decision Making, and Linguistics

Disciplined (un)Knowing: The Pedagogical Possibilities of Yogic Research as Praxis (pp. 1124-1144)
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Sarah K. MacKenzie

Abstract: Within this paper, I seek to engage with the possibilities that may exist when, through a yogic lens, we disrupt those unspoken, but accepted boundaries with/in research and pedagogy that separate art and science, reader and author, student and teacher, knowing and not knowing. Using multiple genres, I explore the practice of researching and the limitations of Truth seeking to create space for dialogue across the text, as reader and writer consider the pedagogical possibilities of letting go within research. In a culture that places a premium on knowing, this work can be uncomfortable, but in the discomfort one may discover new ways of knowing and seeing that invite praxis within pedagogy. Key Words: Yoga, Arts-Informed Research, Pedagogy, Praxis, and Poststructuralism

In Praise of Irrationality: Self, "East" and "West" in Greek Teachers' Speeches on National Day Commemorations (pp. 1145-1163)
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Luciana Benincasa

Abstract: In this qualitative study of school discourse on national day commemorations, focus is on the "social creativity strategies" through which group members can improve their social identity. Discourse analysis was carried out on thirty-nine teachers' speeches delivered in Greek schools between 1998 and 2004. The speakers scorn rationality and logic, stereotypically attributed to "the West" (a "West" which is perceived not to include Greece), as cold and not human. The Greeks' successful national struggles are presented instead as the result of irrationality. They claim irrationality to be the most human and thus the most valuable quality, which places Greece first in the world hierarchy. The results are further discussed in terms of their implications for learning and teaching in the classroom, as well as for policy and research.Key Words: Teachers' Speeches, National Day Commemorations, Greek Schools, East and West, Social Identity, Social Creativity Strategies, and Social Comparison

The Analysis of an Unsuccessful Novice Teacher's Induction Experiences: A Case Study Presented through Layered Account (pp. 1164-1190)
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Sara Winstead Fry

Abstract: Although induction support is heralded as an effective way to reduce high attrition among beginning teachers, nationwide increases in induction participation have not been accompanied by a comparable reduction in attrition rates. This inconsistency suggests some induction programs may not provide adequate support. This article presents the results of a case study that explored the experiences of a beginning teacher who left the profession despite participation in an induction program. The research question was: "Why was Stella unsuccessful in her second year of teaching?" The results are presented through the postmodern ethnographic method of layered account (Ronai, 1997). In addition to raising questions about how to effectively support new teachers, this article includes a discussion of methodological limitations, ethics, subjectivity, and researcher response to participant distress. Key Words: Induction, Struggling Teachers, Case Study, and Layered Account

Coming in from the Margin: Research Practices, Representation and the Ordinary (pp. 1191-1208)
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Karen P. Greiner

Abstract: This essay explores issues of marginality and representation in research, which emerged during life history interviews with Tammi, an "ordinary" woman living in Appalachia. I examine how my research practices, namely my thirst for drama and marginality, nearly silenced the preferred stories of the woman who shared her life with me. I contrast Tammi's unique yet quotidian accounts with streams of literature reflecting a tendency to neglect the commonplace by representing residents of Appalachia through tragic or heroic extremes. This essay pairs Tammi's stories with a reflection on what may have become of them had I followed my first impulse to sacrifice the ordinary at the altar of the marginal. Key Words: Representation, Marginality, Life History, and Appalachia

"We're Locking The Door": Family Histories in a Sample of Homeless Youth (pp. 1209-1226)
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Shahid Alvi, Hannah Scott, and Wendy Stanyon

Abstract: It is well known that the pathways to homelessness for young people are embedded in often ongoing negative childhood experiences. Many of these experiences are rooted in multiple and intersecting problems including, but not limited to: family conflict, abuse, addictions, and mental health issues. The authors draw upon qualitative interviews conducted with 15 homeless male and female youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in a suburban area of Southern Ontario, Canada. We describe these young people's perceptions of family experiences and find support for Elliott Currie's (2004) proposition that a broader ethos of individualism and intolerant parenting underpins many youth experiences in contemporary society. Key Words: Homeless Youth, Family Histories, and Intolerant Parenting

Embodied Transcription: A Creative Method for Using Voice-Recognition Software (pp. 1227-1242)
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Christine Brooks

Abstract: Voice-recognition software is designed to be used by one user (voice) at a time, requiring a researcher to speak all of the words of a recorded interview to achieve transcription. Thus, the researcher becomes a conduit through which interview material is inscribed as written word. Embodied Transcription acknowledges performative and interpretative aspects of interview and transcription processes and explores the efficacy of utilizing the researcher's body as an epistemological tool. Influenced by performance art, feminism and postmodernism, the iterative cycles of Embodied Transcription include processes of vocalization and resonation which may foster "knowing in the body," and serve to enrich and deepen the researcher's understanding of collected data. Potential pitfalls such as projection and technology failures are addressed. Key Words: Transcription, Voice-Recognition Software, Qualitative Data, Data Preparation, and Embodiment

Psychotherapeutic Treatment in Combination with Relaxation in a Flotation Tank: Effects on "Burn-Out Syndrome" (pp. 1243-1269)
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Anette Kjellgren, Hanne Buhrkall, and Torsten Norlander

Abstract: The focus of this study was to investigate experiences gained from treatment combining relaxation in flotation tank with psychotherapy for sufferers from "burn-out syndrome". Six people participated in a ten week program. They were all interviewed; the data were analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method. Five themes emerged: (a) direct experiences during flotation, (b) effects due to the treatment sessions, (c) psychological transformation, (d) reflections about the treatment program, and (e) demanding and rewarding psychological process over time. All participants went through psychological transformations and improvements in quality of life. At the end of the treatment program, all participants were able continue working full time. This combined program seems to be more therapeutically beneficial than flotation tank treatment alone. Key Words: Relaxation, Psychotherapy, Depression, Rehabilitation, Stress, Phenomenology, and Flotation Tank Treatment


Netnography: A Method Specifically Designed to Study Cultures and Communities Online (pp. 1270-1275)
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Gary M. Bowler, Jr.

Abstract: With many people now using online communities such as newsgroups, blogs, forums, social networking sites, podcasting, videocasting, photosharing communities, and virtual worlds, the internet is now an important site for research. Kozinets' (2010) new text explores netnography, or the conduct of ethnography over the internet - a method specifically designed to study cultures and communities online. Guidelines for the accurate and ethical conduct of ethnographic research online are set out, with detailed, step-by-step guidance to thoroughly introduce, explain, and illustrate the method to students and researchers. Kozinets surveys the latest research on online cultures and communities, focusing on the methods used to study them, with examples focusing on the blogosphere (blogging), microblogging, videocasting, podcasting, social networking sites, virtual worlds, and more. The book is essential reading for researchers and students in social sciences. Key Words: Netnography, Internet Research, Ethnography, Online Community, and Research Methods

A Synopsis of Synthesis: A Review of Major and Savin-Baden's An Introduction to Qualitative Research Synthesis (pp. 1276-1281)
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Christopher W. Smithmyer

Abstract: This review looks at the book An Introduction to Qualitative Research Synthesis: Managing the Information Explosion in Social Science Research, by Claire Howell Major and Maggi Savin-Baden. Following the format for reviewing a book presented by the University of Alberta (2010), this review analyzes the book by audience, point by point, and then gives a general overview of the reviewer's opinion of the book. The book has several strong features, such as the procedural explanations and the clear defense of criticisms of synthesis, few failings, and presents a strong introduction for several audiences. Overall, this is a book well worth reading due to the strong content and the valuable procedures which Major and Savin-Baden provide. Key Words: Meta-Ethnography, Meta-synthesis, and Qualitative Research

Comprehensive and Clear: A Review of H. Russell Bernard and G.W. Ryan's Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches (pp. 1282-1284)
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Shelley Victor

Abstract: In their book Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches, Bernard and Ryan (2010) present a thorough review of qualitative data analysis. Main topic areas include data collection, coding, development of themes, qualitative analysis of words and detailed descriptions of grounded theory, content analysis, and schema analysis. This book is applicable and appropriate for a variety of professionals in the social sciences. Key Words: Qualitative Analysis and Qualitative Data

Playbuilding as Qualitative Research: The Play (pp. 1285-1289)
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Ronald J. Chenail

Abstract: Joe Norris's book on playbuilding can cause readers to think quite differently about qualitative research and plays. His evocative text encourages researchers to engage their inner playwrights and to consider how we perform knowledge and how we mediate data in order to engender novel reactions from our research participants, readers, and ourselves. Key Words: Playbuilding, Qualitative Research, and Arts-based Research

Unquestioned Answers: A Review of Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods (pp. 1290-1295)
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Dan Wulff

Abstract: Indigenous research methods offer important considerations for qualitative researchers. The emphasis on relationships over knowledge, participation over expertism, and holism over specialized understandings draw striking distinctions for the researchers invested in honouring their participants. This highly readable and creative book presents research practices that respect the inseparability of research and other practices of living. Key Words: Indigenous Research, Relationships, Ceremony, and Participation

Ethnography Essentials: A Review (pp. 1296-1299)
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Robin Cooper

Abstract: Julian M. Murchison has written a thorough and thoroughly practical resource for the newcomer to ethnography. In his new book, Ethnography Essentials: Designing, Conducting, and Presenting Your Research, he guides the novice ethnographer through the research process from conceptualization through presentation of findings. The text also includes discussion of some of the developments and debates within the field of ethnography. Key Words: Ethnography, Ethnographic Maps, Qualitative Research

Handling Qualitative Data: A Review (pp. 1300-1303)
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Diana Riviera

Abstract: In Handling Qualitative Data: A Practical Guide, Richards (2009) presents the reader with beginner-to-intermediate knowledge of qualitative research and the requirements to develop a successful project. Throughout the text there are boxes of information that capture essential steps or informative pieces that the reader should make note of or make it a point to remember. Richards also reminds the readers that one of the most important parts of research is to start. Procrastination can be the researcher's greatest enemy. Key Words: Qualitative Research, Data, Records, and Project

Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology (3rd ed.) by Donna M. Mertens- A Book Review (pp. 1304-1305)
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Candace Lacey

Abstract: While Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology (3rd ed.) by Donna M. Mertens (2010) is a beginning research text, in many ways it is advanced in its approach to research design. Like any revised edition, much of the material from the earlier editions is in the present edition. What makes this book different is the call to the reader to reflect on a personal understanding of research. This is accomplished through the use of "Expand Your Thinking" blocks within the text. These brief reflections allow researchers to explore their own assumptions and beliefs and consider the impact of self or their "view of the world" on the research process. Key Words: Research Design and Program Evaluation

Review of Carolyn Ellis' Book, Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections of Life and Work (pp. 1306-1308)
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Camille Sutton-Brown

Abstract: In Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections of Life and Work (2008), Carolyn Ellis demonstrates a striking ability to tell stories while simultaneously interrogating their meanings. Ellis uses autoethnography and meta-autoethnography to write herself and others into stories which connect to issues that extend beyond the particular characters in the stories. This book demonstrates the value that autoethnography can offer to researcher, reader, academia, as well as to community practice. This review introduces the term experiential layering as a way to describe Ellis' revisioning of the stories that she presented in The Ethnographic I. Key Words: Autoethnography, Meta-autoethnography, Experiential Layering, and Qualitative Research

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