A Qualitative Stance

A Qualitative Stance

A Qualitative Stance

A Qualitative Stance

Excerpt

Qualitative research methods are endemic to many research and practice traditions such as education, psychology, anthropology, sociology, human geography, marketing, business, and nursing science. Behind the increasing popularity of qualitative methods stands what may be characterized as a qualitative stance. From this point of departure, the world – its processes and phenomena – are (or should be) described before they are theorized, understood before they are explained, and seen as concrete qualities rather than abstract quantities. This qualitative stance does not eschew concepts or theories, but it insists that description is not the same as theory, and that in order to understand the intricate phenomena of today’s world, we do well to start with precise descriptions of the concrete. This does not favor any one method a priori (participant observation, open-ended interviews etc.). What the qualitative stance opens up for is that researchers go about seeing, telling, imagining etc. what people do in order to deliver descriptions of the concrete rather than abstract qualities or quantities of the social world. A qualitative stance involves focusing on the cultural, everyday, and situated aspects of human thinking, learning, knowing, acting, and ways of understanding ourselves as persons while at the same time striving to be scientific. In the present book, all the contributors make an effort in different ways to advance such a qualitative stance to social science research.

Since this qualitative stance speaks to a multitude of meanings, it is the possession neither of a single research discipline nor of a single author, although we will mention one person in particular: Steinar Kvale. The book is written in honor of Professor Steinar Kvale. Kvale is most widely known for his book on qualitative research interviews, InterViews: An Introduction . . .

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