The Science of Qualitative Research

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9780521148818: The Science of Qualitative Research

This book is a unique examination of qualitative research in the social sciences, raising and answering the question of why we do this kind of investigation. Rather than offering advice on how to conduct qualitative research, it explores the multiple roots of qualitative research - including phenomenology, hermeneutics, and critical theory - in order to diagnose the current state of play and recommend an alternative. The diagnosis is that much qualitative research today continues to employ the mind-world dualism that is typical of traditional experimental investigation. The recommendation is that we focus on constitution: the relationship of mutual formation between a form of life and its members. Michel Foucault's program for "a historical ontology of ourselves" provides the basis for a fresh approach to investigation. The basic tools of qualitative research - interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, and analysis of discourse - are re-forged in order to articulate how our way of living makes us who we are, and so empower us to change this form of life.

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Book Description:

This book is a unique examination of qualitative research in the social sciences, raising and answering the question of why we do this kind of investigation. It explores the multiple roots of qualitative research in order to diagnose the current state of play and recommend an alternative. The recommendation is that we focus on the relation of "constitution" between human beings and our forms of life.

About the Author:

Martin Packer is Associate Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and at the University of the Andes in Bogotá. He received his BA at Cambridge University and his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He has previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan. His research has explored interactions between neonates and their mothers, early childhood-peer relations, conflict among adolescents and the way schools change the kind of person a child becomes. Packer is co-editor of Entering the Circle: Hermeneutic Investigation in Psychology (with Ritch Addison) and Cultural and Critical Perspectives on Human Development (with Mark Tappan) and author of The Structure of Moral Action and Changing Classes: School Reform and the New Economy. He is one of the founding co-editors of the journal Qualitative Research in Psychology and has published articles in American Psychologist, Educational Psychology, and Mind, Culture & Activity.

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Packer, Martin
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