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Qualitative Inquiry: a Dictionary of Terms.

Schwandt, Thomas A. (1997) Qualitative Inquiry Qualitative Inquiry is an bi-monthly academic journal on qualitative research methodology. It focuses on methodological issues raised by qualitative research, rather than the research's content or results. References
  • Publisher's Description
: a Dictionary of Terms. Thousand Oaks Thousand Oaks, residential city (1990 pop. 104,352), Ventura co., S Calif., in a farm area; inc. 1964. Avocados, citrus, vegetables, strawberries, and nursery products are grown. , CA: SAGE Publications This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. Alone, primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject of this article are not sufficient for an accurate encyclopedia article. , Inc. 183 pp. $ 23.95 ISBN-0-7619-0254-6

Finally, it is here: a readable summary for the expressions and concepts used in qualitative research Qualitative research

Traditional analysis of firm-specific prospects for future earnings. It may be based on data collected by the analysts, there is no formal quantitative framework used to generate projections.
. The purpose of a dictionary is to explain technical and unknown language in familiar terms. Schwandt's reference book does this beautifully for the most part. He manages to define major concepts such as culture, observation, and theory as they relate to the field of qualitative study. However, the author goes beyond mere definition and places the concepts in an historical perspective where the variety of meanings are revealed. In addition, full bibliographic resources are mentioned within the text for readers who wish to recognize or find the original sources.

Besides defining concepts, key words such as coding, key informant, and sampling are clearly defined in the various ways they are used in qualitative inquiry. References to individuals who contributed to the development of the uses and meanings are mentioned to help readers know the historical context of the words.

For those who are just beginning the study of qualitative inquiry, my advice is to skip the introduction which is filled with technical terms. Read it last. Most terms take up half a page to a full page or two except for several major philosophical concepts such as Explanation, and Theory. Six pages detail the four issues of the nature and role of theory in qualitative study: "(1) theory as the aim of the social sciences; (2) the relationship between theory and observation; (3) the role of theory in qualitative work; and (4) types of theory." It is lucky that Theory comes toward the end of the alphabet because these six pages are packed with ideas defined earlier. For example, Schwandt describes the conflicts for the issue (2) the relationship between theory and observation. The conflict is between the logical positivists (and empiricists) such as A.J. Ayer and Herbert Feigl Herbert Feigl (December 14, 1902 – June 1, 1988) was an Austrian philosopher and a member of the Vienna Circle.

The son of a weaver, Feigl was born in Reichenberg (Liberec), Bohemia, and matriculated at the University of Vienna in 1922.
 who claimed that the researcher could hold a strong separation between the act of observation and the act of theory building verses Thomas Kuhn, Michael Polanyi, Paul Feyerabend Paul Karl Feyerabend (January 13, 1924 – February 11, 1994) was an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for three decades (1958-1989).  and other postpositivists who claimed that such a distinction was impossible given the tacit knowledge The concept of tacit knowing comes from scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi. It is important to understand that he wrote about a process (hence tacit knowing) and not a form of . , prior theories, values, etc. that help shape our observations.

What I like about the dictionary, besides the clarity of the material, is the author's attempt to give a fair hearing to opposing viewpoints about controversial issues, concepts, and terms. He brings to this discussion a broad knowledge of philosophy and history, as well as qualitative research methodology. I found myself reading the dictionary in the manner I might read a book; I became interested in finding out what he would say about Behaviorism behaviorism, school of psychology which seeks to explain animal and human behavior entirely in terms of observable and measurable responses to environmental stimuli. Behaviorism was introduced (1913) by the American psychologist John B.  and Epistemology, Fieldnotes and Interviewing. There were only several times when, perhaps because of space, he did not acknowledge important contemporary critics such as Noam Chomsky and Jerry Fodor on behaviorism and W. V. O. Quine as the harshest critic of logical positivism. The larger than dictionary print helped to make this type of reading enjoyable.

I recommend this reference book; it belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in understanding the specifics and breadth, the history and purpose of qualitative inquiry.

Gail N. Herman, former Co-director of the oral history project, Coal Talk: A Dialog with Individuals from Western Maryland Coal Communities. She is affiliated with Lesley College (Creative Arts in Learning Graduate Program) and the University of Connecticut The University of Connecticut is the State of Connecticut's land-grant university. It was founded in 1881 and serves more than 27,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 9,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

UConn's main campus is in Storrs, Connecticut.
 (Confratute) where she teaches storytelling and kinesthetic kin·es·the·sia  
The sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints.

[Greek k
 arts. She is an enrichment consulrant for local school districts and a professional storyteller.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Herman, Gail N.
Publication:Roeper Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2000
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