What are the essentials for undergraduates and postgraduates engaged in quantitative and qualitative research? How can the gap between formulating a research question and carrying out research be bridged? This accessible, well-judged text provides students with a matchless introduction to generic research skills. It is uncluttered, direct and unpatronizing. Key features of the book are: - Accessibility - Clarification of key issues and problem solving guidance - Demonstration of the importance of interplay between theory and research - Realism in defining essential research issues and the problems that researchers encounter. `It is not the case that anyone can do social research", most research requires training. Here Malcolm Williams provides such training.. Helpful and often humorous' - Roger Sapsford, University of Teesside"

Research as Interpretation

In this chapter: Methodological issues

  • Interpretivist and survey method compared
  • Realist and relativist approaches to interpretation
  • Reflexivity and internal validity
  • Understanding and interpretation
  • Generalization and its limits
  • Reliability

Doing interpretivist research

  • Theory building and post hoc clarification
  • Field research
  • Interviewing
  • Focus groups
  • Analysing interpretive data

This chapter is concerned with the range of methods variously referred to as ‘qualitative’, ‘ethnographic’ or ‘interpretive’. The principal methods used are field research (often called participant observation), depth, or focused interviews and focus groups. In the first of these the researcher participates wholly or partly in the activities of a social group, learning about the group through observation and conversation. Depth interviews may be conducted within field research, but they also constitute a quite separate method. Focus groups are currently a popular form of research in evaluation studies and market ...

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