Qualitative Research in Tourism: Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies

By Jenny Phillimore; Lisa Goodson | Go to book overview

4

A primer in ontological craft

The creative capture of people and places through qualitative research
Keith Hollinshead
Aims of the chapter
• To register the fact that the choice of qualitative research approach depends on the adoption of lines of inquiry which have the richest sustained ontological and epistemological fit with the problem area being investigated.
• To clarify that, ontologically, qualitative researchers must work to come to understand 'the real cultural world' of the individuals being investigated.
• To spell out that recent methodological advances have considerably added to the pool styles of interpretation which are available for researchers to harness ontologically alongside (or alternative to) so-called 'natural' hard science techniques of investigation.
• To explain that in tourism studies the multi-sited character of tourism and the international nature of the subject mean that ontological issues tend to be particularly significant because of the range of interests with which tourism developments have routine interface.
• To clarify that investigation of the ontologies of being, meaning and identity in the contemporary age is frequently a messy matter of infinite interpretive possibility, where interpretations need to be placed within the specific populations or insider-groups being studied.

Introduction: the necessity for emergent, engaged and dynamic non-linear understandings

This chapter assesses the platform considerations of being, meaning and identity - that is, the ontological assumptions which inevitably precede the conduct of each and every research study. In focusing upon those sorts of ontological questions of perceived reality and human experience that underpin qualitative inquiry, the chapter declares that the investigator's understanding about ontology is fundamentally a matter of sociological or anthropological awareness. This awareness constitutes the degree to which

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