Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Exploring the Alchemy of Qualitative Management Research: Seeking Trustworthiness, Credibility and Rigor through Crystallization

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Exploring the Alchemy of Qualitative Management Research: Seeking Trustworthiness, Credibility and Rigor through Crystallization

Article excerpt

In its most simplistic and misunderstood context alchemy is seen, as turning "lead into gold." When deeply understood alchemy is finding the value within something that is presumed not to have such value (Kinchelow, 2011). Crystallization provides value for the qualitative management researcher yet if this explorative approach is not fully understood it can look simplistic and a justification to "do as you please." The alchemy of crystallization however, is a complex journey of enriched discovery. An alchemist understands the first step of the crystallization j ourney is the understanding of "the self" before going out to understand the surrounding world. This alchemy is essential for the journey of the qualitative management researcher in seeking rigor. Crystallization centers on understanding the research and researcher position to intimately view the process with an openness that allows discoveries to unfold that would otherwise be lost. The call for this uptake of boundary spanning through crystallization moves through and along the qualitative continuum in the quest for deeper and richer understanding to advance social construction (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011; Ellingson, 2011, 2014). We open this conversation to qualitative management researchers and present the conceptual argument for crystallization as an approach to rigorous qualitative management research (QMR).

The alchemy of crystallization and its implications for richer insights with greater rigor begins with background literature to show the usage of crystallization through philosophical foundations and background that leads into aspects of implicit practice and ensuring rigor. Conceptually the idea of importing crystallization into mainstream QMR is developed through the significance of the researcher as the primary tool with the metaphor of the bricoluer or alchemist building a bricolage. To provide authority and guidance to the development of rigor we stress the use of trustworthiness and credibility. By scanning the QMR literature, we position crystallization as an alchemic or transformational approach. The alchemic nature of crystallization needs time, effort, commitment and passion so it is not an ontological or epistemological means for the qualitative researcher wanting a quick method. It is the qualitative management researcher's alchemic abilities that need to be developed if a richer form of QMR is to emerge. Crystallization is not the practice of a "fool and a wand" working the magic of illusion that is evidenced through discipline aligned literature. It is the perceptive seer delving deeply into the mysteries with a solid belief that discovery must be rich, credible and trustworthy. The lived experience of QMR can be taken to a deeper level through the exploration and adventure of searching whilst maintaining an awareness of answering the research questions posed. Crystallization is internalized and presented as a way to achieve this outcome.

Crystallization and the Nature of Reality

QMR is often defined by what it is not (Johnson, Buehring, Cassell, & Symon, 2007). Development of language, definitions and terminology underpins existing and emerging paradigms that can fortify the position of QMR. The nature of reality is not a flat ontological base with unification of consistencies, convergences and unions of phenomena. Denzin (2012, p. 84) applauds and shows excitement at "the new third way of moving into and through methods" that crystallization advocates. The multi dimensionality of integrated and dendritic or branched crystallization brings a rethinking of boundaries and a new ontology to QMR and the researcher for the exploration of the messy realities that culminates into sense making through thick, rich, interesting and coherent representations. In developing this rich sense making the premise is not to dismiss or defend triangulation (Hoque, Covaleski, & Gooneratne, 2015; Modell, 2009) but to use it as a springboard in the ontological shift to crystallization within QMR. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.