I can do research by talking to people about things that matter to them? That was my joyful question when I was a graduate student at Syracuse University and first heard of research methods associated with the Chicago School of Sociology. Until then,MoreI can do research by talking to people about things that matter to them?
That was my joyful question when I was a graduate student at Syracuse University and first heard of research methods associated with the Chicago School of Sociology. Until then, I had thought research was a matter of putting people in situations and seeing how they react or by asking them questions that researchers thought were important. Even rats, monkeys, and pigeons in boxes were what research meant to me. Getting to know other people? Building trust? Understanding what was important to them?
That is what qualitative research is about and that is what this collection of essays is about: How researchers seek to understand other human beings in their own terms in their own contexts and in their own preferred ways. The essays in this volume are about deductive qualitative analysis and grounded theory, two theory-guided approaches that help researchers develop descriptions, typologies, and theory that are immediately useful in applied settings.
I am a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, Twin Cities, USA. I wrote these essays for publications in family journals and in social work journals. Some are unpublished conference presentations. Social work and family studies are related and share audiences with other disciplines, such as nursing, psychology, and sociology. The topics range from introductory to advanced. This collection will be of interest to students, new researchers, and experienced researchers in a variety of applied disciplines. I arranged the essays in this volume in the order in which I wrote them.
I did this to invite readers into the intellectual journey I took as I sought to understand these two ways of doing and thinking about research. This is volume 1 of a two-part series. Volume 1 covers the years 1992-2007. Volume 2 covers 2008-2013. The two volumes are available separately to cut down on the cost of the entire volume. Many of the essays are available as single publications on Amazon and iBooks.