Fresh, insightful and clear, this exciting textbook provides an engaging introduction to the application of qualitative methodology in the real world. Expert researchers then trace the history and philosophical underpinnings of different methodologies, explore the specific demands each places upon the researcher and robustly set out relevant issues surrounding quality and rigor. Featured methodologies include action research, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, case studies and narrative inquiry. This practical book provides a helpful guide to the research process - it introduces the relevant methods of generating, collecting and analysing data for each discrete methodology and then looks at best practice for presenting findings. This enables new researchers to compare qualitative methods and to confidently select the approach most appropriate for their own research projects. Key features include: • Summary table for each chapter - allowing quick checks to test knowledge • ‘Window into’ sections - real world examples showing each methodology in action • Student activities • Learning objectives • Full glossary • Annotated suggestions for further reading • Links to downloadable SAGE articles • Links to relevant websites and organizations This is an invaluable resource for students and researchers across the social sciences and a must-have guide for those embarking on a research project. Visit the accompanying companion website for a range of free additional resources.

Proposing your Research

Jane Mills Melanie Birks

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify characteristics of a strong qualitative research proposal
  • List the three main types of qualitative research proposals
  • Outline key considerations in writing a qualitative research proposal
  • Discuss how to successfully defend your qualitative research proposal


The process of writing your research proposal is an opportunity to clarify and solidify aspirational thinking into a realistic plan of action. Usually we approach a potential qualitative research study with only a loose idea of what we would like to investigate. For those considering a graduate research program, there is often lots of rather romantic talk among your peers, and sometimes your lecturers and supervisors, about the importance of having ...

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