1st Edition

Critical Approaches to Questions in Qualitative Research

    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    Learning how to formulate questions that examine the power relations between the researcher and participants is at the heart of critical approaches. This book provides a comprehensive overview and treatment of critical approaches to questions in qualitative research. It also examines questions as tools for strategic thinking and decision making at all stages of the qualitative research process. Written using examples from research and teaching, it situates constructing and formulating questions as a critical aspect of qualitative research that encourages learning to interrogate, and inquire, against the grain.

    The authors illustrate the ways in which different research questions necessitate different methodological choices, framing questions for research, interviewing, and analysis—suggesting some questions that can guide the writing process. With exercises, sample questions, and outlines for planning research, this book assists qualitative researchers with creating more effective questions, including formulating questions to guide reflexivity meant to confront prevailing assumptions and therefore dismantle and uncover omissions and invisibilities.

    This book stands out among other qualitative research methods books in its focus on critical approaches to questions as the driver of the research imagination. Utilising a number of examples, there is also a focused discussion of how to arrive at research questions, align interview questions with those research questions, actively construct questions to guide the data analysis process, and use further types of questions to guide the writing process. The examples the authors employ include questions drawn from qualitative approaches to phenomenology, ethnography, life writing, feminist research, and participatory action research.

    Chapter 1. Background: Questions and the Critical Framework in Qualitative Research

    Chapter 2. Questions along the Qualitative Research Journey

    Chapter 3. Mapping Diverse Pathways

    Chapter 4. Critical Reflexivity and Artful Questioning


    Raji Swaminathan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of emerging methods in qualitative research, urban education, and alternative education.

    Thalia M. Mulvihill, Ph.D., Professor of Social Foundations and Higher Education at Ball State University, serves as President of the International Society for Educational Biography and the Secretary for the AERA Biographical and Documentary Research SIG. Her areas of expertise include qualitative research methods, life writing, innovative pedagogies, history, and sociology of higher education.

    I am encouraged by the bold steps taken by Drs. Swaminathan and Mulvihill in challenging members of the research community to embrace a critical approach. Given the seriousness of the times, their work succinctly confronts the dangerous return to research paradigms rooted in theories of deficit, marginalization, and White supremacy. For these reasons, I am indebted to their contribution.

    David Stovall, Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

    Swaminathan and Mulvihil tend to the important process of formulating questions throughout the entire qualitative research process; it is not relegated to the beginning of the process. Theirs is a critical process of questioning that engages scholars at every aspect of the research process and, as such, provides the opportunity for a deeper, richer inquiry. This book is important for critical scholars who find it imperative to go beyond traditional ways of knowing and doing qualitative research.

    Penny A. Pasque, Brian E. & Sandra O’Brien Presidential Professor, University of Oklahoma

    "The authors use strong research examples showcasing feminist, phenomenological, life writing, participatotry action and ethnographic research. [...] This text challanged the area of my interest. As I navigated through this text, my imagination was ignighted."

    Naomi Norquay & Shameen Sandhu, York University, Toronto, Canada.