Introduction to Qualitative Research

Bibliography of Research Methods TextsACRL IS Research and Scholarship Committee

Berg, Bruce L. 2011. Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson. 448p. ISBN: 9780205809387.

This book offers comprehensive coverage of qualitative techniques and does it in a way that is easy to read and follow. The author’s central purpose is to instruct naive researchers to effectively collect, organize, and construe qualitative data, while stressing the importance of ethics in research and of properly designing and thinking through any research endeavor. Readers should be able to design, collect, and analyze data and then present their results to the scientific community. Berg considers seven different data collection strategies in detail. Qualitative research methods describes focus group interviewing, one of the fastest growing styles of data collection, in detail including a new Moderator’s Guide that provides the inexperienced focus group facilitator with a step-by-step guide to how the interview should be conducted.  This edition includes software and internet tools for research design and data collection.

– Mark Spasser, December 2005; revised by Amy Deuink,  2009; David Oberhelman, 2013

Basics of qualitative research : techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory

Corbin, Juliet M., and Anselm L. Strauss. 2015. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 431p. ISBN: 9781412997461.

First published as the Basics of Grounded Theory, the 4th edition of this text, which has been significantly revised, introduces researchers in the social and behavioral sciences to the grounded theory of Strauss and demonstrates its application in a sample research project. Among the topics covered are theoretical foundations, practical considerations for getting started, strategies for qualitative data analysis, theoretical sampling, techniques for achieving theoretical integration, using computer programs in qualitative data analysis, developing concepts in terms of their properties and dimensions, bringing process into the analysis, and criteria for evaluation. New end-of-chapter “Insider Insights,” contributed by qualitative researchers, give readers a sense of what it’s like to conduct qualitative research in various fields.

– Merinda McLure, 2006; revised by Amy Deuink, 2009; David Oberhelman, 2013; Carrie Forbes, 2017

Qualitative inquiry & research design : choosing among five approaches

Creswell, John W., and Cheryl N. Poth. 2018. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 459p. ISBN: 9781506330204.

The core of the book is to answer the question “How does the type or approach of qualitative inquiry shape the design or procedures of a study?” and utilizes five qualitative inquiry approaches: narrative research, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study to highlight the answer. Through its clear explanations of the differences and similarities of the five methods, this book serves as a foundational text for understanding different methods of inquiry that frame qualitative research. The authors compare each of the research strategies through theoretical frameworks, study design, data collection, analysis, organization of the written report, and standards for quality and validation. Exercises, examples, and illustrations allow the reader to apply concepts and theory. Appendixes include a glossary and examples of each method of inquiry. The fourth edition includes updated examples, exercises, and resources to reflect changes with techniques and technology. It has expanded discussion on ethics throughout. Of benefit to the reader are tables showing the key features of each approach.

– Mark Spasser, 2005, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013; Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

The Sage handbook of qualitative research

Denzin, Norman K., and Yvonna S. Lincoln, eds. 2018. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research. 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 968p. ISBN: 9781483349800.

The fifth edition is substantially revised from the previous edition, with 16 new chapters and new authors for close to two-thirds of all chapters. Additionally, returning authors did substantial revisions of existing chapters. The editors asked each chapter author to “address practical, concrete issues of implementation while critiquing the field and mapping the key current and emergent themes, debates, and developments” (p. xi). In typical nature of a substantive handbook, the text moves from general to specific covering the historical aspects of qualitative research to specific components. This extensive text is segmented into six parts focusing on the history of the field; paradigms and perspectives; strategies of inquiry, methods of collecting and analyzing; interpretation, evaluation, and representation of data; and the future of qualitative research. While intended to be a textbook for doctoral programs in the social sciences and humanities, this text serves as a good reference for the library and information science researcher who seeks an introduction to qualitative research as a whole or an aspect of the methodology.

– Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

Gorman, G. E., and Clayton, P. 2005. Qualitative Research for the Information Professional: A Practical Handbook. 2nd ed. Chicago: Neal-Schuman. 282p. ISBN: 9781856044721.

The second edition of this well-reviewed and accessible text serves as a brief theoretical and highly practical introduction to qualitative research by information professionals, for information professionals. The title briefly discusses the value of information research to information work and evaluating the existing qualitative research upon which new research is based, before delving into practical information on conducting qualitative research. These topics include: research design; the case study; conducting fieldwork using observation, interviewing, group discussion, and historical investigation; recording and analyzing your data; and, writing up your research findings.

– Amy Deuink, 2009

Designing qualitative research

Marshall, Catherine, and Gretchen B. Rossman. 2016. Designing Qualitative Research. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 323p. ISBN: 9781452271002.

Written for academic researchers and professionals in the field, Designing Qualitative Research is focused on writing successful research proposals. Specifically, the “purpose is to give practical, useful guidance for writing proposals that fit within the qualitative paradigm” (p. 4). The book’s introduction broadly discusses qualitative research, considerations, challenges, developing an argument, and an overview of the book. In other chapters, the authors describe qualitative research genres; trustworthiness and ethics; building a conceptual framework and the research design; basic and specialized data collection methods, managing, analyzing, and interpreting data; typical stressors; arguing the merits of the proposal; and considering the final report. Reflecting the maturation of qualitative research methodology and more openness to its place within academic rigor, the sixth edition includes “the advances and challenges presented by new technologies and provocative, creative modes of presentation” (p. xvii), updated illustrative vignettes, and a balance between recent publications and foundational works of qualitative research.

– Polly D. Boruff-Jones, 2006; revised by David Oberhelman, 2013; Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

Maxwell, Joseph Alex. 2013. Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach.  Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.  218p. ISBN: 9781412981194.

Maxwell provides a straightforward, easy-to-follow guide to qualitative research methods design for both students and advanced researchers that will be of great benefit to both novice and advanced users.  The book discusses how the various components of research design interact and provides a series of checklists, exercises, personal accounts, anecdotes, and examples from sources such as folktales and films which can help graduate students and others developing their first qualitative research studies, and he offers succinct tips for experiences researchers on grant writing and other aspects for applying qualitative methods to their proposals.  Although it is an introductory text, librarians seeking a solid background in qualitative design will want to consult this book for an easily accessible overview of the research process.

– David Oberhelman, 2013

Qualitative research : a guide to design and implementation

Merriam, Sharan B., and Elizabeth J. Tisdell. 2016. Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 346p. ISBN: 9781119003618.

The book’s focus is to “explain qualitative research in an easy-to-follow narrative accessible to both novice and experienced researchers” (p. ix). While practical, it also integrates theory and philosophy of qualitative research. The book is divided into three parts: the design of qualitative research, collecting qualitative data, and analyzing and reporting qualitative data. The chapters include aspects such as discussing what qualitative research is, common design, selecting samples, collecting data, analysis, ethics, and writing a final report. The strength of the source is its applicability across multiple disciplines and particularly those fields that have a real-world focus. The fourth edition moves significantly away from a case study emphasis, as was present in earlier editions, to “thinking about and understanding qualitative research” (p. x). Other changes include more emphasis on types of research methods and impact of technology on the entire process.

– Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

Essentials of qualitatively-driven mixed-method designs

Morse, Janice M. 2017. Essentials of Qualitatively-Driven Mixed-Method Designs. New York: Routledge. 186p. ISBN: 9781629584126.

This compact book, part of the Qualitative Essentials book series, is written for students and researchers new to “qualitatively-driven mixed-method” research. Since mixed-methods research as a recognized approach is newer and typically quantitative-driven, this text focuses on using qualitative research methods as a core strategy and then discusses the use of either additional qualitative or quantitative methods with existing data to supplement the core research. The premise is that the supplemental qual (qualitative) or quan (quantitative) component is dependent upon the core research and therefore cannot stand on its own. It should be noted that the succinct nature of the book requires good foundational knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative research. The chapters covering basic design, planning, and method selection are written in the context of doing a mixed-method project and are not overviews of general practice within the field of qualitative research. Researchers who seek more flexibility in conducting mixed-methods research or who desire to pull more out of initial qualitative data, will find this book to be a good introduction.

– Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

Qualitative research & evaluation methods : integrating theory and practice

Patton, Michael Quinn. 2015. Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods: Integrating Theory and Practice. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 806p. ISBN: 9781412972123.

This volume focuses on qualitative research and data as a reflection of its current practice and place within research methodology. It is divided into three sections. The first discusses “framing qualitative inquiry,” explaining the basics of qualitative research, theory, themes, and applications. In the second section, “designs and data collection,” the author discusses the design of studies as well as fieldwork and interviewing. Finally, the third section addresses “analysis, interpretation, and reporting,” including the best ways to enhance results for presentation purposes. All three sections are generously sprinkled with useful examples, or “exhibits,” and case studies. Changes within the fourth edition include updated examples, case studies, and references; the results of which have significantly lengthened the text. Another change is that the chapters are divided into modules to make them more “digestible.” Sprinkled throughout this edition are “ruminations” and “sidebars” reflecting the author’s 40 plus years of experience in the field of qualitative research. This resource is detailed and thorough and its style is very readable (at times even lighthearted and amusing). This edition is an excellent resource for practitioners, novice and experienced, and student researchers.

– Anna Pilston, March 2006; revised by Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

Qualitative research : bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological

Ravitch, Sharon M., and Nicole Mittenfelner Carl. 2016. Qualitative Research: Bridging the Conceptual, Theoretical, and Methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 567p. ISBN: 9781483351742.
Even though this book is essentially a textbook for qualitative research methods courses, it can serve as a foundational text for new and experienced researchers wanting a good understanding of qualitative research. The book is culmination of the authors’ decades-long experience in both teaching qualitative research methodology and conducting it. Their approach is to show the iterative and complex nature of qualitative research, yet make the learning process of the methodology interactive and engaging. The framework of the book is what the authors call the “horizontal values of qualitative research–criticality, reflexivity, collaboration, and rigor” (xxii) and are interwoven throughout book as important elements of the entire research process. The broad areas of the book include an overview of qualitative research, design, methods of collection, analysis, writing reports and proposals, and ethics. Each chapter begins with an overview and goals and concludes with questions for reflection and resources for further reading. Throughout the book there are ample examples and practice exercises to apply what was covered.

– Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

Image result for An introduction to qualitative research : learning in the field

Rossman, Gretchen B., and Sharon F. Rallis. 2017. An Introduction to Qualitative Research: Learning in the Field. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 312p. ISBN: 9781506307930.

Rossman and Rallis have provided a useful book for those who learn better through narrative and concrete examples, rather than abstract discussions. This text is distinct in that its focus is on the connection between learning and research, particularly for novice researchers. Chapter headings such as “qualitative research as learning” and “the researcher as learner” reflect this approach. The book is organized around three characters, Marla, Anthony, and Ruth, students in a qualitative research class. Each character represents a different qualitative research approach: descriptive, evaluative, and action research. Through these lenses, the authors incorporate foundational elements of qualitative research such as common characteristics, types, planning, data collection, ethics, issues in the field, analysis, and presenting the findings. The fourth edition incorporates expansions of areas like ethics and refinement of genres that fall under the “qualitative umbrella.” Even with these changes, the book stays true to its original purpose of introducing readers to “qualitative research principles and practice, issues and dilemmas, [and] joys and frustrations” (p. xxi) of qualitative research.

– Wendy Holliday, 2006; revised by David Oberhelman, 2013; Jennifer Sharkey, 2017

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