1st Edition

Fundamentals of Qualitative Research A Practical Guide

By Kakali Bhattacharya Copyright 2017
    220 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book is the road map to proficiency and development in the field of qualitative research. Borrowing from a wealth of experience teaching introductory qualitative research courses, author Kakali Bhattacharya lays out a dynamic program for learning different paradigms of inquiry, empowering students to recognize the convergence of popular research methodologies as well as the nuances and complexities that set each of them apart. Her book:

    • supplements the readings and activities in a qualitative methods class, exposing students to the research process and the dominant types of qualitative research;
    • introduces a variety of theoretical perspectives in qualitative research, including positivism and postpositivism, interpretivism, feminism, symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical theory, and Critical Race Theory;
    • identifies and summarizes the three dominant methodological approaches in qualitative research: narrative inquiry, grounded theory, and ethnography;
    • provides interactive activities and exercises to help students crystallize their understanding of the different topics in each chapter.

    Using This Book

    1 Unit 1: Meeting Qualitative Methods

    Intentions of This Unit

    Truth, Reality, and Meaning in Research

    Objectivist and Constructivist Ways of Knowing

    Elements of Research 

    Qualitative Research and Culture

    Qualitative Research and the Research Process

    2 Unit 2: Terrain and Types of Qualitative Research

    Intentions of This Unit

    Terrain of Qualitative Research

    Academic Rigor in Qualitative Research

    Common Types of Qualitative Studies

    3 Unit 3: Conceptualizing Qualitative Research

    Intentions of This Unit


    Change Your Language, Change Your Paradigm

    Thinking about Research Purpose

    Thinking about Research Questions

    Data Sources in Qualitative Research

    4 Unit 4: Working with Theoretical Frameworks

    Intentions of This Unit

    Positivism and Postpositivism


    Symbolic Interactionism



    Critical Theories

    Critical Race Theory


    5 Unit 5: Methodological Approaches to Qualitative Inquiry

    Intentions of This Unit

    Methodological Approaches

    Narrative Inquiry

    Types of Narrative Inquiry

    Designing a Narrative Inquiry Study: Using Our Wiki Example

    Phenomenological Inquiry

    Types of Phenomenological Inquiry

    Designing a Phenomenological Study: Using Our Wiki Example

    Grounded Theory

    Types of Grounded Theory Inquiry

    Designing a Constructivist Grounded Theory Study: Using Our Wiki Example

    Case Study

    Types of Case Study Inquiries

    Example of a Multiple Case Study

    Data Analysis 


    Types of Ethnographic Research

    Considerations for Ethnography

    Example of a Mini Virtual Ethnography Study

    Data Analysis Process for a Mini Virtual Ethnography

    6 Unit 6: Data Collection Methods

    Intentions of This Unit

    What Are Qualitative Interviews?

    The Interview Process

    Types of Interview Questions

    Tips and Strategies for Conducting Qualitative Interviews

    What Are Observations?

    The Observation Process

    Tips and Strategies for Conducting Participant Observations

    What are Documents in Qualitative Research?

    The Process of Collecting Documents

    Example of Documents Collected in Wiki Study and Trivia Study

    Tips and Strategies for Collecting Documents

    7 Unit 7: Data Analysis, Interpretation, and Re-Presentation

    Intentions of This Unit

    What Does Data Analysis Mean?

    What Is Inductive Analysis?

    An Approach to Inductive Analysis

    Do Themes Really Emerge?

    An Example of Inductive Analysis

    Mapping as Inductive Analysis

    Interpretation and Data Re-Presentation in Qualitative Research

    Cautions about Choosing Re-Presentations

    Re-Presenting Your Study

    But Writing Is Hard

    8 Unit 8: Pulling It All Together

    Intentions of This Unit

    Revisiting Your Research Interest

    Expand Your Thoughts about Your Research Project

    Research Design and Theoretical Alignment 

    Methods of Data Collection

    Data Analysis Methods

    Representation of Your Work

    Appendix A

    Appendix B



    Kakali Bhattacharya, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Kansas State University.

    This book provides an excellent approach for the entry level qualitative research methods course. The book provides needed guided activities for both instructors and students that focus on the basics as well as the complexities of qualitative research methods. What a great resource!

    Paul Schutz, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at San Antonio


    This text provides key concepts to students that support their foundational knowledge of QUAL including thinking through theoretical paradigms, different methodologies, and various fieldwork and analytical methods. But this text is different from the typical "Intro to QUAL" text; this one is personal, inviting readers to interact with the pages, take notes, write about the self, and consider the content in terms of "what would your own research look like." The author cares about the individual researcher and their progression of learning, engaging readers by asking questions and challenging them to think deeply, which is evidenced through the interactive lesson examples and real data provided from which students can practice various analyses. The author includes meaningful opportunities for readers to consider every aspect necessary for insightful, in-depth qualitative inquiry from initial conceptualization to representation and delivery of the work. This is a text I can’t wait to use in my own classroom. 

    Lauren Moret, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research Methodology, University of Tennessee


    Fundamentals of Qualitative Research introduces students of qualitative research to the vast range of theories and methods used by qualitative researchers across disciplines. Written in a reader-friendly style, Kakali Bhattacharya’s book provides novices to qualitative research an up-to-date, informative, and accessible entrée to a range of ways to engage in qualitative research. Packed with practical activities, teaching tips, suggestions for additional reading, and reflective questions to help students make informed decisions as they design their projects, this book is an excellent resource for both newcomers to qualitative inquiry and their teachers.

    Kathryn Roulston, Professor & Program Coordinator, Qualitative Research Program, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, University of Georgia  


    This is one of the most wanted pedagogical texts in qualitative research. Bhattacharya has masterfully put her imagination at work to create such an indispensable textbook for both fledgling qualitative researchers and teachers of qualitative research. The book thrives on the confluence of the dialectical nature: succinct but substantive; programmatic but theoretically grounded; structured but imaginative and inspirational. It is a must have for all of us in qualitative research.

    Jeong-Hee Kim, Ph.D., Professor of Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas Tech University         


    "As someone who has been working to wrap their mind around qualitative inquiry for the past five years, I feel like this book is the inside track. In 204 pages, Bhattacharya accomplishes a descriptive overview, complete with a multitude of examples and thoughtful cautions, which seems to take other authors hundreds of pages. For the student who is new to this field, the length and manner of the book is inviting. This is certainly a text that would hold
    central position in any class I teach focused on qualitative research, and enough cannot be said for the of the way Bhattacharya sets up a ladder for us on the side of the ivory tower, and the focus is always on the meaning we derive from the work we do."

    Jason D. DeHart, Appalachian State University