Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Is It Any Clearer? Generic Qualitative Inquiry and the VSAIEEDC Model of Data Analysis

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Is It Any Clearer? Generic Qualitative Inquiry and the VSAIEEDC Model of Data Analysis

Article excerpt

It has been proposed in the literature that generic qualitative inquiry is an easier approach to a qualitative research project and maybe suitable for qualitative student dissertations (McLeod, 2001). Although McLeod (2001) underlined reasons for his argument of facility, such as flexibility and no requirement of expertise in a particular approach, generic qualitative inquiry is anything but uncomplicated (Caelli, Ray, & Mill, 2003). Generic qualitative inquiry, by virtue of its lack of allegiance to a particular methodology, may leave the novice researcher without a clear starting point. The lack of academic literature on generic qualitative inquiry, and more importantly the lack of a standard analysis boilerplate, was the impetus for this article. The five qualitative research traditions as defined by Creswell (2009) are (a) ethnography, (b) grounded theory, (c) case study, (d) phenomenology, and (e) narrative. Each of these five traditions adhere to a specific methodology and each methodology is based upon the researcher's world view; how the researcher defines his ontology, epistemology and axiology. As Creswell (2009) suggested each particular methodology, from positivism to phenomenology, are merely points in a continuum of knowing. Where then does generic qualitative inquiry, which espouses no particular view on the creation of knowledge or the existence of truth, fall in that continuum? This article explores the role of generic qualitative inquiry in the research continuum and suggests a meaningful way to approach and analyze data generated from the generic qualitative approach.

The Five Research Traditions

Merriam (2009) asserts that qualitative researchers are primarily interested in "understanding how people interpret their experiences, how they construct their world and what meaning they attribute to their experiences" (p. 5). Merriam also stated that, in essence, every qualitative study starts as a basic generic qualitative inquiry and that the chosen methodology (informed by a theoretical framework) is merely an additional "dimension" to the understanding of an experience and its construction. Therefore, to better understand what generic qualitative inquiry is, perhaps the best place to start is defining what it is not. The five recognized qualitative approaches are: ethnography, grounded theory, case study, phenomenology and narrative research. Percy, Kostere, and Kostere (2015) offered a simplified definition of four methodologies and their different end goals:

Ethnography--an investigation of the social-cultural experience within a network or social group.

Case Study--an investigation of a singular case or bounded system using multiple sources of data and multiple methods of collection.

Grounded Theory--an inquiry used to generate data to develop an explanation or theory of a process developed over time.

Phenomenology--an investigation of the lived experiences (cognitive processes) of some phenomena; a focus on the internal context not the external content of those experiencing the phenomena (pp. 76-77).

Finally, narrative research--an inquiry to discover the personal life stories of an individual or group combined with the researcher's perspective in a collaborative and narrative chronology (Creswell, 2009).

Generic Qualitative Inquiry Defined

Percy et al. (2015), then offered this definition of a generic qualitative inquiry: "Generic qualitative inquiry investigates people's reports of their subjective opinions, attitudes, beliefs, or reflections on their experiences, of things in the outer world" (p. 78). This definition offers clues into the appropriate use of a generic qualitative inquiry: (a) the research centers on subjective opinion (how the participant made sense of this particular experience) and (b) the focus of the research is external. Worthington (n.d.) posited that generic qualitative inquiry must be about more than opinions, beliefs and attitudes as those can be measured in a quantitative study. …

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