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Interpreting Qualitative Data


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Table of Contents

PART ONE: THEORY AND METHOD IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH What Is Qualitative Research? In Search of a Working Definition Loaded Evaluations of Research Methods Methods Should Fit Your Research Question The Good Sense of Quantitative Research The Nonsense of Quantitative Research The Good Sense of Qualitative Research The Nonsense of Qualitative Research Varieties of Qualitative Research Designing a Research Project Selecting a Topic Formulating a Researchable Question Fitting your Research Question into an Appropriate Theory Choosing an Effective Research Design An Effective Literature Review Basic Terms in Research Design Conclusions Data Analysis Some Rules for Data Analysis Content Analysis Grounded Theory Narrative Analysis Conclusion Research Ethics Ethical Pitfalls Ethical Safeguards Some Ethical Complications PART TWO: METHODS Ethnography and Observation The Ethnographic Focus Methodological Issues The Theoretical Character of Ethnographic Observations Conclusion: The Unity of the Ethnographic Project Interviews What Is an 'Open-Ended' Interview? Why Interview? Implications: Three Versions of Interview Data Positivism Emotionalism Constructionism Adolescent Cultures: Combining 'What' and 'How' Questions Moral Tales of Parenthood The Three Models: A Summary Summary: Basic Issues Three Practical Questions - and Answers Conclusion Focus Groups What Are Focus Groups? Analysing Focus Group Data in Social Science Form or Substance? Concluding Comments Texts Structure of This Chapter Comparative Keyword Analysis (CKA) Ethnography Ethnomethodology: Membership Categorisation Analysis Conclusion Naturally-Occurring Talk Why Work with Tapes? Transcribing Audiotapes Why Talk Matters Conversation Analysis Discourse Analysis Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis Compared Conclusion Visual Images Kinds of Visual Data Research Strategies Content Analysis Semiotics Workplace Studies Conclusion PART THREE: RESEARCH PRACTICE Credible Qualitative Research Does Credibility Matter? Reliability Validity Generalisability Conclusions Writing Your Report Beginnings Your Literature Review Your Methodology Section Writing Up Your Data Your Final Section A Short Note on Plagiarism Self-Expression or Argument? PART FOUR: IMPLICATIONS The Relevance of Qualitative Research Three Roles for the Social Scientist The Audiences for Qualitative Research The Contribution of Qualitative Social Science Summary Conclusion The Potential of Qualitative Research: Eight Reminders Take Advantage of Naturally Occurring Data Avoid Treating the Actor's Point of View as an Explanation Study the Interrelationships Between Elements Attempt Theoretically Fertile Research Address Wider Audiences Begin With 'How' Questions; Then Ask 'Why?' Study 'Hyphenated' Phenomena Treat Qualitative Research as Different from Journalism Concluding Remarks

About the Author

David Silverman is Visiting Professor in the Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, Emeritus Professor in the Sociology Department, Goldsmiths' College and Adjunct Professor in the School of Education, Queensland University of Technology. He has lived in London for most of his life, where he attended Christ's College Finchley and did a BSc (Economics) at the London School of Economics in the 1960s. Afterwards, he went to the USA for graduate work, obtaining an MA in the Sociology Department, University of California, Los Angeles. He returned to LSE to write a PhD on organization theory. This was published as The Theory of Organizations in 1970. Apart from brief spells teaching at UCLA, his main teaching career was at Goldsmiths College. His three major research projects were on decision making in the Personnel Department of the Greater London Council (Organizational Work, written with Jill Jones, 1975), paediatric outpatient clinics (Communication and Medical Practice, 1987) and HIV-test counselling (Discourses of Counselling, 1997). He pioneered a taught MA in Qualitative Research at Goldsmiths in 1985 and supervised around 30 successful PhD students. Since becoming Emeritus Professor in 1999, he has continued publishing methodology books. David regularly runs qualitative research workshops for five universities in Sydney and Brisbane. He has also run workshops for research students in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Since 2000, he has done voluntary work with people with dementia. resident in an old people's home Besides all this, David's other interests include classical music, literary fiction, bridge, county cricket and spending time with his grandchildren.


'David Silverman's stellar new text demonstrates both his methodological sophistication and ability to reach students. With its well-organized format and accessible writing, this book provides an inspiring guide for novices and an excellent teaching tool for instructors. The book is clear, cogent, and remarkably current. Silverman introduces students to numerous recent innovations and advances in qualitative methods as he makes the research process understandable and manageable' -
Kathy Charmaz
Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, USA 'Silverman sets the benchmark for books on qualitative research and data analysis. They work well in teaching but are consulted by the experts. His experience and close engagement with contemporary developments is without equal. Interpreting Qualitative Data has helped shape contemporary qualitative research. As far as I am concerned, with this new edition the best just got better!' -
Jonathan Potter, Head of the Department of Social Sciences
Loughborough University

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