Naturalistic Inquiry for Library Science: Methods and Applications for Research, Evaluation, and Teaching

By Constance Ann Mellon | Go to book overview

Preface

In my graduate school days, the last hurdle that separated me from earning a doctorate was something I viewed as a dreary task--writing a dissertation based on statistical research. I had studied statistics and, let's face it, they just weren't fun! I hated flattening out into operational definitions all the rich humanity that fascinated and challenged me. Then, as luck would have it, a fellow student to whom I was complaining as the Syracuse University bus sloshed through the rain toward married student housing told me that there was an alternative. "Go see Bob Bogdan," he said. That student, Sloan Duggan, is the first person to whom grateful acknowledgment is due. With those four words, he started me clown the path that has led to writing this book.

I did indeed "go see Bob Bogdan" and it changed my professional life. By the time I found Dr. Bogdan, I had completed all the requirements for my doctorate. But Bob let me sit in on his class anyway--and I was hooked. Qualitative methods allowed me to explore, document, and explain many facets of the world about which I was curious. They let me exercise my creativity and revel in it. I loved it! Ever since those graduate school days of intellectual illumination and dreary weather (it rains an awful lot in Syracuse!), I have wanted to share with others my excitement about the naturalistic approach to research.

This book is a presentation of information that I have gained, formally and informally, over the last ten years of conducting naturalistic studies. It presents facts and ideas I wish I had known those many years ago when I approached my first naturalistic study. For instance, when I began to do naturalistic research, I had explored quite thoroughly the information on methodology available in the literature of qualitative

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Naturalistic Inquiry for Library Science: Methods and Applications for Research, Evaluation, and Teaching
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Librarianship and Information Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyrightt Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Figures xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface xv
  • 1 - The Theory Underlying Naturalistic Inquiry 1
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - Selecting, Defining, and Limiting Your Study 23
  • Notes 37
  • 3 - Collecting and Analyzing Naturalistic Data: An Integrated Activity 39
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - Intensive Analysis for Theory Generation 69
  • Notes 94
  • 5 - Presenting Your Findings 97
  • Prologue: Guidelines for Naturalistic Reporting 100
  • References 123
  • Epilogue: Contrasting the Two Reports 124
  • EPILOGUE: CONTRASTING THE TWO REPORTS 128
  • 6 - Naturalistic Inquiry for Research in Library Science 131
  • Notes 144
  • 7 - Naturalistic Inquiry for Evaluation in Library Science 147
  • Notes 166
  • 8 - Naturalistic Inquiry as a Teaching Method in Library Science 169
  • Selected Bibliography 191
  • Index 199
  • About the Author 203
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