Modes of Thinking for Qualitative Data Analysis  book cover
1st Edition

Modes of Thinking for Qualitative Data Analysis

ISBN 9781629581798
Published September 20, 2016 by Routledge
154 Pages

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Book Description

Modes of Thinking for Qualitative Data Analysis argues for engagement with the conceptual underpinnings of five prominent analytical strategies used by qualitative researchers: Categorical Thinking, Narrative Thinking, Dialectical Thinking, Poetical Thinking, and Diagrammatical Thinking. By presenting such disparate modes of research in the space of a single text, Freeman not only draws attention to the distinct methodological and theoretical contributions of each, she also establishes a platform for choosing among particular research strategies by virtue of their strengths and limitations. Experienced qualitative researchers, novices, and graduate students from many disciplines will gain new insight from the theory-practice relationship of analysis advanced in this text.

Table of Contents


List of Tables and Figures


  1. Introduction
  2. Why Focus on Analysis?

    Thinking, not Thought

    Brief Introduction to the Modes of Thinking

    Modes of Thinking for Qualitative Data Analysis

    The Modes of Thinking in Dynamic Relation

  3. Categorical Thinking
  4. Introduction to Categorical Thinking

    Characteristics of Categorical Thinking

    Categorical Thinking in Practice

    Deciding on Categorical Thinking for Analysis

  5. Narrative Thinking
  6. Introduction to Narrative Thinking

    Characteristics of Narrative Thinking

    Narrative Thinking in Practice

    Deciding on Narrative Thinking for Analysis

  7. Dialectical Thinking
  8. Introduction to Dialectical Thinking

    Characteristics of Dialectical Thinking

    Dialectical Thinking in Practice

    Deciding on Dialectical Thinking for Analysis

  9. Poetical Thinking
  10. Introduction to Poetical Thinking

    Characteristics of Poetical Thinking

    Poetical Thinking in Practice

    Deciding on Poetical Thinking for Analysis

  11. Diagrammatical Thinking
  12. Introduction to Diagrammatical Thinking

    Characteristics of Diagrammatical Thinking

    Diagrammatical Thinking in Practice

    Deciding on Diagrammatical Thinking for Analysis

  13. Teaching Qualitative Analysis

On Diversity

On Tradition

On Reflexive Dialogical Practice

Final Thoughts


List of Tables and Figures

Table 1.1: Modes of Thinking for Qualitative Data Analysis page xx

Table 4.1: Two Approaches to Dialectical Thinking in Practice page xx

Figure 1.1: Modes of Thinking in Dynamic Relation page xx

Figure 2.1: Connecting Categories to Concepts page xx

Figure 3.1: Dimensions of Plot page xx

Figure 4.1: Dialectical Friction and Emergence page xx

Figure 5.1: Poetics as Infinite Dialogue page xx

Figure 6.1: A Phenomenon Becoming page xx








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Melissa Freeman is Professor of Qualitative Research Methodologies in the College of Education at The University of Georgia.


"We’ve long needed this book, a book which would take students and scholars alike through the complex process of doing qualitative analysis. Melissa Freeman’s Modes of Thinking for Qualitative Data Analysis meets these needs. Its creative, comparative focus on forms of thinking, from categorical, to narrative, dialectical, poetical, diagrammatical, opens new windows on how to interpret empirical material." – Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"Melissa Freeman has developed a compelling typology for understanding qualitative work... Her work counters the standard classifications which connect methods with a particular methodology or tradition and leads to confusion. Instead, she argues persuasively, and with examples, that for a truly reflexive stance and a critical understanding of research, researchers must engage in "pentimento," or must see again, to understand essences and create innovative possibilities." - Lynn Butler-Kisber, McGill University