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

Volume 16 Number 2 March 2011
    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, Ph.D., Managing Editor | Laura Patron, Production Editor | Adam Rosenthal, TQR Web Site Coordinator

ISSN 1052-0147

Table of Contents


Reflexivity and the Sociology of Science and Technology: The Invention of "Eryc" the Antibiotic (pp. 316-340)
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Fran Collyer

Abstract: Until recently, the social-technical process of invention has fallen between sociological investigation of the genesis of a new idea (an ideational phenomenon) and the production of a new technology (a material phenomenon). The advent of post-modernism and post-structuralism offered new avenues for theorising invention, accounting for, on the one hand, its material nature, and, on the other, its ideational nature, through the notion of socio-technical ensembles: phenomena constructed through the co-producing, mutually constitutive action of actants (both human and otherwise). This paper argues that despite its potential, theorising within the sociology of science and technology is hampered by insufficient attention to the role of the researcher and the concept and practice of reflexivity. Reflexive practices within this field of knowledge are explored, and drawing on an empirical case study of an antibiotic preparation, a case is made for the necessity of reflexivity in the production of knowledge about invention. Key Words: Science, Technology, Reflexivity, and Sociology

Growing…But Constrained: An Exploration of Teachers' and Researchers' Interactions with Culture and Diversity through Personal Narratives (pp. 341-357)
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Kimetta R. Hairston and Martha J. Strickland

Abstract: Educators from all realms of education who engage in in-depth conversations and reflections about personal experiences and perspectives related to diversity are significantly important to the cultural understandings in Education. This paper is a narrative analysis of how teachers who were enrolled in a Master's Program from two university campuses of the same predominantly White university participated in an in-depth look at their diverse cultural experiences through reflection and dialogue. Two researchers, one African American female utilizing the Critical Race Theory perspective the other Caucasian female using Socio-constructivism, interacted with one another and the teachers' narratives through several personal experiences interchanges. The resulting teacher/research dialogue on culture and diversity revealed how when the constraints of different theoretical frameworks and past encounters with culture and diversity are exposed a space for dialogue on culture and diversity, characterized by growth, opens up. Key Words: Diversity, Teachers, Culture, Narrative Analysis, Critical Race Theory, and Socio-Constructivism

Sometimes I Am Afraid: An Autoethnography of Resistance and Compliance (pp. 358-376)
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Paige Averett and Danielle Soper

Abstract: Utilizing a feminist autoethnographic stance and method, this article is based upon the dialogues produced by a student completing an assignment for a social work instructor. Various tensions are explored, including the role of autoethnography in both qualitative and feminist research and the role of fear in a woman's life. A critique of the role of culture in the experience of fear as well as the student's use of autoethnography to resist and accept fear is explored. The uses of autoethnography for social workers are also discussed. Key Words: Autoethnography, Fear, and Feminism

Validating the Mexican American Intergenerational Caregiving Model (pp. 377-395)
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Socorro Escandón

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to substantiate and further develop a previously formulated conceptual model of Role Acceptance in Mexican American family caregivers by exploring the theoretical strengths of the model. The sample consisted of women older than 21 years of age who self-identified as Hispanic, were related through consanguinal or acquired kinship ties to an elder, and had provided at least one intermittent service (without pay at least once a month). A comparative analysis method was used to test the existing theory, which consists of four phases: (a) Introduction/Early Caregiving Experiences, (b) Role Reconciliation, (c) Role Imprint, and (d) Providing/Projecting Care. Results substantiated and elaborated all four phases and 14 categories of the existing model. This study provides further evidence that the intergenerational caregiving Role Acceptance model can be used to study Hispanic caregivers in varied geographic locations. It also provides a framework for comparison with other groups of caregivers. In addition, results inform health professionals about the ways in which Hispanic caregivers view caregiving. This information has the potential to increase cultural competence in the delivery of health care to elders and their families. Key Words: Hispanic, Caregivers, Comparative Analysis, and Intergenerational

The Conflicts between Grounded Theory Requirements and Institutional Requirements for Scientific Research (pp. 396-414)
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Jason Luckerhoff and François Guillemette

Abstract: The authors examined the conflicts between grounded theory (GT) requirements and institutional requirements for scientific research such as they were experienced by researchers and students. The overview of how GT was originally conceived served as background to the analysis of the problems GT users often faced when they submitted research projects to academic or granting committees. Three especially contentious aspects that arose from the data were discussed: the circularity of the general research method, the suspension of references to theoretical frameworks, and theoretical sampling. Participants to this study have explored some possibilities to overcome those conflicts. Key Words: Methodology, Grounded Theory, Scientific Research, and Conflicts

"I Can See You": An Autoethnography of My Teacher-Student Self (pp. 415-440)
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Erika França de Souza Vasconcelos

Abstract: This article is an autoethnographic investigation of my second-nature teacher-student self. What has made me into the teacher I am? What makes me the teacher I am? In order to address these questions, I draw upon my memories of my own teachers and students. As I portray my teaching-learning experiences as textual "snapshots," I find that my most cherished memories come from when my teachers acknowledged my presence and listened to me, and when I have been in dialogue with my own students. My autoethnographic journey ends up linking the personal to pedagogical theory centering attention to relationships between teachers and students, mirroring qualities of the humanizing pedagogy I discover, embrace, and which redefines and recreates my always evolving teacher-learner self. Key Words: Autoethnography, Memories, Textual "Snapshots", Teacher?Student Relationships, Humanizing Pedagogy, and Teacher Identity

The Experiment-based Knew-it-all-along Effect in the Qualitative Light of Narrativity (pp. 441-463)
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Marek Palasinski

Abstract: In contrast to the extant quantitative studies on the hindsight effect, the present narrative analysis looks at it from a rare angle of talk-in-interaction. Fifty one-to-one interviews were done with five student groups, each of which was presented with a scenario ending with one factual outcome and three alternative outcomes that actually did not happen. Confirming the already proven role of the provided event outcome in overestimating the probability of its occurrence, this study expands the current understanding of the processes neglected by the research on the hindsight effect. It does so by highlighting the strategic use of vagueness, self-empowerment and selective perspective-taking that question the assessment of the past for its own sake and emphasize the importance of self-presentation. Key Words: Decision Making, Hindsight Effect, and Qualitative Research

Revitalization of Indigenous Culture in Child Care Centre (pp. 464-481)
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Jana Kulhánková

Abstract: In this study, I address contemporary ways of looking after children and care giving roles women play in today's Aboriginal community in Brisbane, Australia. Data were collected through participant observation and interviews during field work in a family care centre managed by Indigenous women with the staff and their clients. My main contribution is in describing how various activities of the centre, such as parental programmes, women's gatherings, and rites of passage reflect the traditional models of child care and women's position in the family environment and how these models are perpetuated again in the modern urban environment. Furthermore, I present the implications for the contemporary Aboriginal community's understanding of their current culture as dynamic and open to change. Key Words: Cultural Revitalization, Indigenous, Family Care, Ritual, Tradition, Ethnographic Methods of Interview, and Participant Observation

How People Think about a TV Program: A Q-methodology Approach (pp. 482-493)
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Alireza Khoshgooyanfard

Abstract: This paper identifies four viewpoints about a TV program by making use of Q-method. Based on a factor analysis, 35 participants of this study are classified into four groups that each one creates a viewpoint towards the TV program. Each viewpoint is interpreted carefully by using 48 statements representing possible opinions about the TV program. The paper emphasizes that usual research methods like surveys are not as effective as the Q-method for this purpose. This method can help researchers to understand those angles of people's opinions that remain hidden by using a questionnaire or scale. Key Words: Concourse, Factor Analysis, Television, Questionnaire, Subjectivity, and Survey

Descriptions of Difficult Conversations between Native and Non-Native English Speakers: In-group Membership and Helping Behaviors (pp. 494-508)
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Ray Young and William V. Faux II

Abstract: This study illustrated the perceptions of native English speakers about difficult conversations with non-native English speakers. A total of 114 native English speakers enrolled in undergraduate communication courses at a regional state university answered a questionnaire about a recent difficult conversation the respondent had with a non-native English speaker. A thematic analysis of their responses revealed that helping occurred when the non-native speaker was considered to be a customer, in-group member, or "fellow human being." Helping behavior was characterized by actions that fostered understanding between the interactants and aided the non-native speaker in completion of a task or goal. Non-helping occurred when the non-native speaker was considered to be an out-group member violating role expectations or cultural norms. Key Words: Difficult Conversations, Helping Behavior, Group Identity, and Intercultural Communication

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Using Mind Maps to Facilitate Participant Recall in Qualitative Research (pp. 509-522)
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Johannes Wheeldon

Abstract: Mind maps may provide a new means to gather unsolicited data through qualitative research designs. In this paper, I explore the utility of mind maps through a project designed to uncover the experiences of Latvians involved in a legal technical assistance project. Based on a sample of 19 respondents, the depth and detail of the responses between the groups were compared. Those who first completed mind maps identified a greater number of unique concepts and provided more in depth responses about their experience in later interviews. Participants suggested that by first completing a mind map, they were better able to recall, organize, and frame their reflections of past experience. The findings of this analysis of using mind maps provide a justification for more detailed exploration about the utility of mind maps for qualitative research designs. Key Words: Mind Maps, Data Gathering, Qualitative Research, and Legal Technical Assistance

Reflection on the Methodological Aspects of a Critical Ethnographic Approach used to Inform Change for Adolescents with Disabilities (pp. 523-562)
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Sonia Gulati, Margo Paterson, Jennifer Medves, and Rebecca Luce-Kapler

Abstract: Debate remains about how to effectively obtain information from adolescents with disabilities in marginalized areas and how to apply this knowledge to shape rehabilitation activities. This study explored how to empower adolescents in the urban slums of North India to assume greater control over their rehabilitation within the context of a local community-based rehabilitation program. Participants included 21 adolescents with and 11 adolescents without disability (aged 12 to 18 years), and 10 community-based rehabilitation workers. A critical ethnographic approach was adopted. Fieldwork was conducted from January to May 2005 and October 2006 to March 2007. This paper focuses on the methodological aspects of this study, and how critical ethnography was used to inform positive changes for adolescents with disabilities using their perspectives. Key Words: Critical Ethnography, Methodology, Adolescents, Disability, Community-Based Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Urban Slums, and India

How-To Essays

How I Learned to Design and Conduct Semi-structured Interviews: An Ongoing and Continuous Journey (pp. 563-566)
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Silvia E. Rabionet

Abstract: Qualitative interviewing is a flexible and powerful tool to capture the voices and the ways people make meaning of their experience Learning to conduct semi-structure interviews requires the following six stages: (a) selecting the type of interview; (b) establishing ethical guidelines, (c) crafting the interview protocol; (d) conducting and recording the interview; (e) crafting the interview protocol; and (f) reporting the findings. A researcher's personal journey in crafting an interview protocol to interview HIV researchers is summarized. She highlights that training and experience are crucial and identifies some readings that can help in the process. Key Words: Semi-structured Interview, Qualitative Interview, and Qualitative Methods

How to Conduct Ethnographic Research (pp. 567-573)
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Nisaratana Sangasubana

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to describe the process of conducting ethnographic research. Methodology definition and key characteristics are given. The stages of the research process are described including preparation, data gathering and recording, and analysis. Important issues such as reliability and validity are also discussed. Key Words: Ethnography, Field Research, Qualitative Research, Participant Observation, and Methodological Issues

Book Reviews

Corporate Ethnographers: Master Puzzlers, What They Do, and Their Value to the Business Sector (pp. 574-579)
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Alice Obenchain-Leeson

Abstract:Melissa Cefkin's book Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter is the fifth volume in a six-volume series on studies in public and applied anthropology by Berghahn Publishing. Cefkin unearths the world of corporate ethnography by explaining how the field evolved from the larger field of anthropology. Through collecting a variety of corporate ethnography studies conducted at Intel, Microsoft, and others, Cefkin brings to life the work of corporate ethnographers as master puzzlers as she attempts to answer the questions: What are corporate ethnographers and under what conditions do they work? What value does ethnography bring to the understanding of complex business sector problems? Key Words: Ethnography, Corporate Ethnography, and Corporate Research

Denzin's The Qualitative Manifesto Book Summary and Critique (pp. 580-586)
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Lise M. Allen

Abstract:By his not so subtle usage of a title that echoes of Karl Marx's engine of revolution, Norman K. Denzin's The Qualitative Manifesto: A Call to Arms, is an invitation for action intended for those who would flock to the standards of critical inquiry and social justice. Denzin's atypical approach does two things: Firstly, he promotes the unity of qualitative inquirers in the promotion of social justice; and secondly, he uses performative ethnodrama as an example of how to teach qualitative inquiry. Although I question Denzin's choice in borrowing power from a book that led to so much violence, I would recommend this book to persons who are interested in using ethnodrama as a teaching/advocacy method. Key Words: Book Review, Qualitative Manifesto, Ethnodrama, and Social Justice

Clear and Engaging: A Review of Sidnell's Conversation Analysis: An Introduction (pp. 587-592)
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Oksana Parylo

Abstract: Conversation Analysis: An Introduction by Jack Sidnell is a concise and clear primer to describing, analyzing, and understanding human talk. Combining theoretical descriptions and analysis of transcribed conversations, Sidnell (2010) explains the elements of conversational organization: turn-taking, action and understanding, preference, sequence, repair, turn construction, stories, and openings and closings. In addition, Sidnell opens the discussion about the role of topic and context in conversation analysis. Conversation Analysis: An Introduction is a good guide to conducting conversation analysis. This book is appropriate for those who are not familiar with conversation analysis and want to get a better understanding of this method and its major components. It can also be used to teach conversation analysis to undergraduate and graduate level students. Key Words: Conversation Analysis, Turn-taking, Repair, Stories, and Context

Mixed Methods Design: A Beginner's Guide (pp. 593-595)
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Karen M. Keptner

Abstract: Mixed Method Design: Principles and Procedures by Janice M. Morse and Linda Niehaus (2009) is a "how-to" book for conducting mixed method research. Morse and Niehaus go step-by-step through mixed method research and provide clear explanation for combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. They also provide examples of what is not mixed method design. The book is easy to read. It could be an invaluable reference for anyone who conducts research in health and social sciences, seasoned researchers and students alike. Key Words: Mixed Method Design, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, and Health and Social Research Methods

Utilizing a New Graphical Elicitation Technique to Collect Emotional Narratives Describing Disease Trajectories (pp. 596-608)
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Marianne K. Thygesen, Birthe D. Pedersen, Jakob Kragstrup, Lis Wagner, and Ole Mogensen

Abstract: Elicitation techniques in connection with semi-structured interviews are scantily used, but reported to be beneficial to research. We developed and tested a new visual technique to be utilized in the latter part of semi-structured interviews. It has proved to be feasible and beneficial to use, and it could possibly be used by others. This way of extending the interviews generates more data in a visual form, as well as in a verbal form, by supporting the participants in remembering nearly forgotten parts of their experiences and in expressing emotions associated with those significant experiences. As a contribution to qualitative research, our study showed that the visual data, created by the participants, also contributed to getting the elaborated narratives. Key Words: Elicitation Technique, Emotions, Health Service Research, Semi-Structured Interviews, Patient Perspective, Narrative Methods, and Qualitative Research

A Reflexive Pragmatist Reading of Alvesson's Interpreting Interviews (pp. 609-613)
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Brian T. Gearity

Abstract: Remember those interviews you collected for that qualitative research study? How did you address issues of interviewee power, impression management and rationality? Was it "trustworthy"? Really? In Interpreting Interviews, Mats Alvesson summarizes the current state of thought on interviews as a tool for qualitative data collection and challenges this framework as simplistic and failing to account for its complexities as a social act. Alvesson argues for a critical consciousness and pragmatic approach to interviews. This review blurs genres from autoethnography and more traditional approaches while taking Alvesson's approach, reflexive pragmatism, to its logical consequences. As a whole, Interpreting Interviews is timely, intellectually stimulating, and the latest (un)fortunate wrench in the qualitative research machine. Key Words: Interpreting, Interviews, Empiricism, Critique, Reflexivity, and Qualitative Research

Successfully Writing and Defending the Dissertation Proposal: A Review of Designing Qualitative Research (pp. 614-616)
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Diana Riviera

Abstract: Designing Qualitative Research (5th ed.) by Catherine Marshall and Gretchen B. Rossman (2011) is, in my opinion, a book of compiled elements central to the design and defense of the qualitative research proposal. The authors provide invaluable examples through the use of vignettes. Overall, the book is an easy read that is essentially divided into two parts: research design and proposal defense. As a whole, this book is a useful tool for anyone taking on a qualitative research study for the first time. Key Words: Qualitative Research Design, Qualitative Research Proposal, and Proposal Defense

Welcome (Back) to the Old World: A Review of Peter Swanborn's Case Study Research: What, Why and How? (pp. 617-621)
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Maja Miskovic

Abstract: Case Study Research, a book by Peter Swanborn, a former chair of methodology at the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam, joins the collection of scholarly sources available to students, researchers and practitioners interested in doing case studies. The author situates the book within a general methodological framework, useful for graduate courses with a strong emphasis on quantitative research, mainly organizational science, information management, marketing, health sciences, and psychology. The book offers precise advice regarding the case study design, steps to be followed in conducting it, and a secure epistemological-methodological space in which appropriate strategies lead to solutions/answers. Key Words: Case Study, Research Design, Empirical/Analytical Paradigm, and Quantitative Research

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