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Questioning Qualitative Inquiry Critical Essays by Martyn Hammersley

Questioning Qualitative Inquiry Critical Essays


Questioning Qualitative Inquiry Critical Essays by Martyn Hammersley

Is qualitative research in crisis? In Questioning Qualitative Inquiry Martyn Hammersley raises fundamental questions about the current state of qualitative social research. He examines some of the changes that have taken place within it over the past fifty years, suggesting that the move away from natural science as a model, and towards an appeal to literature and art, involves rejection of key principles that are essential to research of any kind. Hammersley argues that, in important respects, qualitative inquiry has not lived up to the claims originally made on its behalf, and that more recent developments have worsened the situation. Insufficient attention has been given to the problems surrounding leading ideas like thick description, analytic induction, and constructionism. The argument is pursued through discussion of the work of influential writers - such as Clifford, Geertz, Denzin and Lincoln - and by detailed examination of concrete issues, like the value of interview data, the rationales for discourse and conversation analysis, the role of rhetoric in research reports, and the nature of assessment criteria. At a time when qualitative inquiry is coming under renewed challenge in some quarters, the task of addressing the methodological problems it faces has become urgent. These essays on current developments and debates are essential reading for anyone interested in the future of qualitative research.


'Written in Hammersley's usual considered style and is pitched perfectly for post-graduate students, and teachers of advanced methods courses but alos for early career researchers still unclear of which direction they face within the contemporary landscape and proliferarting 'schools'
of qualitative research

' - Rob Smith,Cardiff University, for Qualitative Research

'Questioning Qualitative Inquiry is essential reading for both post-graduate student confronted by overwhelming methodological pluralism and the established scholar sitting comfortably in their ontological comfort-zone'L. da Costa & Sam Hillyard, ,Durham University, for Qualitative Research

'The critiques in Hammersley's collection of essays have an even-handed rigour. Analyses of different approaches to developing knowledge about the social move between the nitty-gritty of method and exegetical discussion of philosophies behind different approaches'Anita Naoko PilgrimUniversity of Glamorgan for Qualitative Research'

About the Author

Martyn Hammersley is Professor of Educational and Social Research at The Open University. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media. However, much of his work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. He has written several books, including: Reading Ethnographic Research (Longman 1991); What's Wrong with Ethnography? (Routledge 1992); The Politics of Social Research (Sage 1995); Taking Sides in Social Research (Routledge, 1999); Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice (Paul Chapman, 2002), Questioning Qualitative Inquiry (Sage 2008), Methodology, Who Needs It? (Sage, 2011), and What is Qualitative Research? (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2013)

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Book Info

Publication date

10th July 2008


Martyn Hammersley

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SAGE Publications Inc


216 pages


Social research & statistics



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