• Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

This four-volume set is part of the Fundamentals of Applied Research series and sits alongside Stephen Gorard's major reference collection Quantitative Research Methods in Education. It brings together seminal and cutting edge articles on qualitative research internationally, and shows how the field has developed in influence in recent years. The use of qualitative research methods in educational research has a long and distinguished history, both in the UK and internationally. Importantly, this major reference collection reviews the ongoing debates and various issues about qualitative methods and the contribution they make to understanding educational issues. The set also comprises a timely analysis of the contribution which qualitative methods have made and can continue to make to understanding educational issues.

The volumes review the methodological arguments for using qualitative methods, including critiques and rejoinders; place these arguments in appropriate historical and epistemological contexts with respect to the development of qualitative methods in congruent disciplines including anthropology, psychology and sociology; and identify key examples of leading substantive work which illustrate the various issues at stake and the major achievements of qualitative inquiry in education.

Each volume includes an original introduction written by the Harry Torrance, a key figure in the field of education research methods, delineating the theme for the volume and the importance of the contribution of the individual papers and the volume as a whole.

Editor's Introduction: Qualitative Research Methods in Education


Background to the Handbook's Development

Qualitative research attempts to come to an understanding of a situation from the perspective of the participants within it. This involves the researcher talking to people, observing them in their ‘natural working habitat’ of the school or the hospital or the local community, and analysing artefacts and documents that might be produced in such working environments. Qualitative research can also involve extensive collaboration and negotiation with research respondents or participants, over the design, conduct and findings of such research, as will be explored in the course of this Introduction. For the moment however, we can briefly summarise the approach as involving the use of interview, observation, document analysis and various combinations thereof.

The use of ...

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