Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

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Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

Principal Investigator: David W. Livingstone
Team Members: M. Raykov, K. Pollock, F. Antonelli


Section 1.1 [PDF]

Research Methods for Studying 
Learning and Work Relations




1. Castro Nogueira, M. A., & Castro Nogueira, L. (2002). Toward a correct understanding of qualitative methodology. Politica y Sociedad, 39(2), 481-496.


            Identifies ruptures between epistemology, theory, & technique in qualitative social investigations by drawing on the notion of social distinctions (Bourdieu, 1988) & subjectivity in methodology (Ibanez, 1979). As contemporary qualitative investigation has lost sight of the realization that facts & statistics are scientific constructions, that there must be a consistent understanding of the distinction between the social fact & the social process, & that sometimes this distinction is impossible to infer, this text explores the occurrence of fact & statistic in contemporary qualitative methodology.


            KEY WORDS: Qualitative Methods; Social Science Research; Epistemology; Methodology (Philosophical); Social Facts; Social Processes.


2. Chafetz, J. S. (2004). Bridging feminist theory and research methodology. Journal of Family Issues, 25(7), 963-977.


            People committed to a sociopolitical ideology have different skills relating to a social movement designed to bring about social change. Janet Chafetz contends that feminist social and behavioral scientists can maximize their movement contributions by doing excellent social science on gender issues; that is their unique contribution. She offers the development of gender theory including well-defined and empirically relevant concepts and the use of the most appropriate methodologies available to answer the specific questions raised by such theories.


            KEY WORDS: Feminist Theory; Research Methodology; Theory Practice Relationship; Sex; Theoretical Problems; Methodological Problems; Social Science Research; Theory Formation.


3. Gee, M. K., & Ullman, C. (1998). Teacher/ethnographer in the workplace: Approaches to staff development. Grayslake, IL: Lake County College.


            The use of ethnographic methods by teachers' to assess learning and staff development needs for workplace adult education programs is the focus of this article. Outlined are characteristics of the ethnographic researcher's approach and behavior as well as the following 4 stages of ethnographic research: (1) open-ended, inductive study; (2) structured observation; (3) analysis; and (4) speculation and sharing of findings. Data collection through photography and interviews is presented. Photography is used to create a record of the workplace, identify its technology status and needs, and create an image for later analysis and sharing. Noted are tips for taking and analyzing photographs. For interviews, 5 types of interview questions are discussed. They are: "grand tour" or overview; specific task-or area-related questions; asking for examples; eliciting experiences; and questions about use of job-related terminology. Authors highlight the benefits of using these data collection methods, and the similarities and differences in workplace and adult basic education.


            KEY WORDS: Action Research; Adult Education; Data Collection; Educational Needs; Ethnography; Labor Force Development; Research Methodology; Staff Development; Teacher Role; Work Environment.


4. Giele, J. Z., & Elder, G. H. (1998). Methods of life course research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


            What are the most effective methods for doing life course research? The field’s founders and leaders attempt to answer this question, giving readers tips on: the art and method of the appropriate research design; the collection of life-history data; and the search for meaningful patterns to be found in the results.


            KEY WORDS: Social Sciences; Biographical Methods; Life Cycle; Human Research Methodology.


5. Gobo, G. (2003). Qualitative methodology in localism and globalization. Quaderni di Sociologia, 47(32), 197-204.


            While Denzin & Lincoln's American Handbook of Qualitative Research radically changed epistemological methods and approaches, and paved the way to new and innovative publications, many current published books do not go beyond their ethnocentric connotations with few including the very lively discussion on localism vs. globalization concepts. By definition, an international publication must give the same consideration to every nation regardless of political and economical power. However, scientific publications on qualitative methodology, often presented as international, are in fact published only in English.


            KEY WORDS: Qualitative Methods; Globalization; Localism.


6. Grant, G. (1999). Education, the life course and research. British Journal of Special Education, 26(2), 71-75.


            Reviews, from a British perspective, the literature on lifelong inclusive education for individuals with learning disabilities. The role of the family, community, and society in an inclusive educational culture is discussed. The paper urges more longitudinal studies, structured evaluation of inclusive educational developments, basic research on different models of inclusive education, and cross-cultural research.


            KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Inclusive Schools; Learning Disabilities; Lifelong Learning; Mental Retardation; Research and Development; Research Needs; Social Integration; United Kingdom.


7. Haller, B. A., & Ralph, S. M. (2001). Content analysis methodology for studying news and disability: Case studies from the United States and England. Research in Social Science and Disability, 2, 229-253.


            Explores quantitative and qualitative disability issues in the US and England addressed by the media. A US analysis explores eight major daily newspapers and three weekly news magazines for stories about disability issues that took place in 1998. Stories are classified according to their number in each publication, location in thematic sections, length, type, and variety of disability. An England analysis of mainstream and tabloid coverage explores disparaging comments made by well-known soccer coach, Glenn Hoddle, that led to his termination in 1999. Content analysis reveals society's changing perceptions of people with disabilities and the significance of mass media in shaping public attitudes.


            KEY WORDS: Handicapped; Social Perception; Social Attitudes; Mass Media Images; Mass Media Effects; News Coverage; England; United States of America; Research Methodology.


8. Herrera, C. D. (2003). A clash of methodology and ethics in "undercover" social science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33(3), 351-362.


            Explores the undercover or “overt” approach to fieldwork as a useful technique in some settings. Covert researchers nearly always protect the anonymity of their participants and locations. Other researchers cannot validate the covert researcher's claims. While, ethical guidelines, often insist that researchers demonstrate the benefits from a covert study, researchers who cannot show that their studies will prove beneficial will find ethical standards weighing against them and their studies. In other words, omitting informed consent should be counterbalanced by the scientific rewards of research. Expanding the results to more peer investigation may place participants at risk of unwanted notoriety. Guidelines. Unless we adjust our conceptions of research, ethics, or both, there does not seem to be a way for covert research to meet ethical expectations.


            KEY WORDS: Research Ethics; Informed Consent; Fieldwork; Ethnography; Methodological Problems; Research Methodology.


9. Hill, M., & Montag, W. (2000). Masses, classes and the public sphere. London; New York: Verso.


            Jürgen Habermas's introduction of the phrase "public sphere" has been used as a fundamental concept for assessing everything from intellectual debate and "public access" criticism, to the function of race, gender and sexual difference in present-day civil society. However, the concept has been refined and extended as new demands have been made, positing the idea of a plurality of "counter-public spheres" and continually addressing the philosophical concept of the public sphere itself. This book extends these debates to pose fundamental questions about the function and continued relevance of the public sphere in a range of essays from a distinguished group of writers.


            KEY WORDS: Sociology; Methodology; Social Classes; Social Structure; Mass Society; Public Interest; Political Sociology.


10. Hirschauer, S. (2001). Ethnographic writing and the silence of the social: Toward a methodology of description. Zeitschrift fur Soziologie, 30(6), 429-451.


            Reviews ethnographic methodology. The paper focuses on working out the central problem solved by descriptions - the verbalization of the "silent" dimension of the social. Ethnographic writing is introduced as a documentary procedure that has been devalued by advanced recording techniques, techniques which have set a naturalistic standard with respect to the reification and de-contextualization of "data." This standard is reviewed from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. The article elaborates on problems that are left untouched by empirical procedures and that depend on primordial verbalizations of informants: interviews, discourse analysis, and conversation analysis. Ethnographic writing has to solve the problems of the voiceless, the mute, the unspeakable, the prelinguistic, and the indescribable. To fulfill this task of shifting the limits of articulation, descriptions must reject the logic of recording and develop a theory-oriented research practice, which must be assessed not in terms of its documentary accuracy, but in terms of its analytical performance.


            KEY WORDS: Methodological Problems; Ethnography; Qualitative Methods; Writing; Sociology of Knowledge.



11. Hunt, S. (2005). The life course: A sociological introduction. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


            Rapid and far-reaching social transformation in Western society over the last few decades has drawn considerable interest in the life course. This accessible and informative book provides a substantive overview to the topic, combining contemporary and more traditional perspectives. Outlining the different stages of the life course through infancy and youth to old age and dying, the book considers what is distinct about a sociological approach to the life course and explores recent debates and changing theoretical perspectives in the context of biological, psychological and social influences.


            KEY WORDS: Life Cycle; Human Social Aspects; Sociology.


12. Katz, J. (2004). On the rhetoric and politics of ethnographic methodology. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 595, 280-308.


            Explores ethnographies as politically cast and policy relevant. Ethnographies that report holistically on journeys to "the other side" build policy/political significance by contesting popular stereotypes. Theoretical ethnographies utilize political imagination to fill in for a lack of variation in participant observation data and to model an area of social life without attempting to discount alternative explanations. Comparative analytic studies create political relevance by exposing social forces that are hidden by local cultures. Each of these three genres of ethnographic methodology faces unique challenges in relating fieldwork data to politically significant explanations. By shaping the ethnographer's relations to subjects and readers, each methodology also structures a unique class identity for the researchers - as worker, as aristocrat, or as bourgeois professional.


            KEY WORDS: Ethnography; Public Policy; Policy Research; Research Methodology; Methodological Problems; Rhetoric.


13. Kelle, H. (2001). Ethnographic methodology and problems of triangulation: The example of studies on children's peer culture. Zeitschrift fur Soziologie der Erziehung und Socialisation, 21(2), 192-208.


            Using ethnographic methodology, this article explores the ways in which methods shape research subjects. Similarities and differences between participant observation, audio-recordings of daily conversations, and ethnographic interviews are analyzed. Using the research subject of "gossip" as an example, the article explores ways in which methodical proceedings affect various subjects. Theoretically, claims of triangulation - widespread in qualitative research - are criticized and the specific theoretical productivity of each proceeding is emphasized.


            KEY WORDS: Researcher Subject Relations; Qualitative Methods; Ethnography; Children; Peer Relations; Methodological Problems; Research Methodology.


14. Kleining, G., & Witt, H. (2001). Discovery as basic methodology of qualitative and quantitative research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2(1). Retrieved November 20, 2006 from


            This paper explores the following: i. qualitative methodologies in psychology and the social sciences should be directed toward discoveries rather than reflexive interpretations. ii. classical studies in psychology and sociology show that problems associated with hermeneutics can be overcome using discovery or explorative research strategies. iii. the Hamburg qualitative heuristic methodology. iv. Explorative research with qualitative data using the methods of the qualitative experiment & group-controlled "dialogic" introspection. v. the use of quantitative data in an explorative approach. vi. that there is no inherent relationship between the form of the data, qualitative or quantitative, and a particular research methodology. vii. that discoveries should be a basic guideline for psychological and social research.


            KEY WORDS: Qualitative Methods; Hermeneutics; Research Methodology; Methodology; Data Analysis; Data Collection; Quantitative Methods; Experiments; Heuristics.


15. Kozlova, N. y. N. (2004). The methodology of analyzing personal documents. Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya, 30(1), 14-26.


            Presents an excerpt from the book Stseny iz istorii izobreteniya sovetskogo obshchestva (Scenes from the History of Inventing the Soviet Society). This article explores Soviet citizens' use of diaries, letters, and various forms of personal writing for scholarly research. Reflections are shared, from a postmodernist perspective, on the importance of such sources to sociology and history alike. Max Weber's (1990) thesis that identifies the importance in understanding individuals' motivations is indispensable for understanding the rise, existence, and fall of societies is applied to Soviet society. Qualitative and quantitative methods combined with nomothetic and ideographic approaches should be applied in researching these documents.


            KEY WORDS: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; Citizens; Autobiographical Materials; Sociology; History; Society; Methodology; Data Analysis; Weber, Max; Research Methodology.


16. Krzeslo, E., Rainbird, H., & Vincent, C. (2000). Deconstructing the question: Reflections on developing a comparative methodology for research on union policy towards vocational training. Studies in Qualitative Methodology, 6, 67-82.


            The context for this chapter lies in research into trade union policies for vocational training in five countries. Cross-cultural case studies are explored in relation to language and meaning. Stressed is the significance of contextualized meaning in relation to national realities and the way in which actors perceive realties located in different countries. Outlined is a technique of "crossed interviewing" whereby researchers of different nationality attend identical interviews in an attempt to avoid the ethnocentrism of the cultural specificity of the lone interviewer. The approach facilitates a common methodology while allowing flexibility toward different national realities. Discussed is also the shortage of research funding available for cross-cultural research. Argued is the view that a narrow concentration on national experts with specialist knowledge is not conducive to comparative methodology.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Job Training; Crosscultural Analysis; Comparative Analysis; Case Studies; Interviews; Research Methodology.


17. Kurasawa, F. (2004). The ethnological imagination: A cross-cultural critique of modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


            "Ethnological imagination" is a substantial countercurrent of thought that interprets and contests Western modernity's social order through comparison and contrast to a non-Western other. Critiqued are the writings of this way of thinking (i.e., Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Michel Foucault). In the work of these thinkers, Kurasawa finds little justification for two of the most prevalent claims about social theory: the wholesale "postmodern" dismissal of the social-theoretical enterprise because of its supposedly intractable ethnocentrism and imperialism, or, on the other hand, the traditionalist and historicist revival of a canon stripped of its intercultural foundations. Defended is a cultural perspective that eschews both the false universalism of "end of history" scenarios and the radical particularism embodied in the vision of "the clash of civilizations." The book contends that ethnological imagination can invigorate critical social theory by informing its response to an increasingly multicultural world.


            KEY WORDS: Ethnology; Philosophy; Methodology; Marxist Anthropology; Structural Anthropology.


18. Lincoln, Y. S., & Denzin, N. K. (2003). Turning points in qualitative research: Tying knots in a handkerchief. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.


            Changes in qualitative inquiry over the last five decades are traced. The collection serves as a textbook for training academics in the history and trajectory of qualitative research. The book is divided into eight parts: Part 1: The Revolution of Representation: Feminist and Race/Ethnic Studies Discourses, Part II: The Revolution in Authority, Part II: The Revolution of Legitimation, Part IV: The Ethical Revolution, Part V: The Methodological Revolution, Part VI: The Crisis in Purpose: What Is Ethnography for, and Whom Should It Serve, Part VII: The Revolution in Presentation, Part VIII: The Future of Ethnography and Qualitative Research, and contains a variety of chapters within each.


            KEY WORDS: Sociology; Research Methodology; Ethnology; Qualitative Research.


19. Manderbacka, K., & Jylha, M. (2000). Combining quantitative and qualitative research: A case study from survey methodology. Yearbook of Population Research in Finland, 36, 121-128.


            Combined are two diverse approaches to examine content and continuity of a single-item survey measure of self-rated health. Results from a quantitative study (Manderbacka, Lahelma, & Martikainen) drawing on cross-sectional, face-to-face interview data from the 1994 Finnish Survey of Living Conditions and a qualitative study (N = 42 semi-structured interviews from a sub-sample of respondents) illustrate the way that methods can complement one other. Results are discussed in relation to one another, and the advantages of combining methods on survey measures are discussed; other ways of combining the approaches are also suggested.


            KEY WORDS: Quantitative Methods; Qualitative Methods; Surveys; Research Methodology; Methodology (Philosophical); Health; Living Conditions; Finland.


20. May, V. (2001). Epistemological questions concerning the study of biographical material: The consequences of choice of methodology. Dansk Sociologi, 12(3), 53-69.


            Uses personal research conducted on written life-stories of Finnish lone mothers as a cases study. The author examines consequences of using biographical material as a methodology, and focuses on two methodological alternatives: analyzing biographical material as documents of preceding events, or as meaning-making constructs. The author contends that treating biographical material as a gateway into studying events in people's lives reduces the heuristic value of material, and questions of truth and reliability become problematic. This still seems to be the preferred methodological alternative of many sociologists. The author further contends that If biographical material is analyzed for its own sake, focusing on the creation of meaning through storytelling, the above-mentioned problems of truth and reliability diminish considerably. From research on lone motherhood, arguments for the use of narrative analysis, examining what it has to offer methodologically, theoretically, and conceptually are explored.


            KEY WORDS: Research Methodology; Biographies; Narratives; Epistemology; Research Design; Finland; Single Mothers.


21. Neuman, W. L. (2003). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.


            This book provides readers with a balanced overview of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research. The fourth edition of Social Research Methods attempts to help readers understand that social research exists in a social and historical context that can affect their actions. It encourages researchers to guard against ethnocentric perspectives and confining their research on the assumptions, values, and beliefs of their own particular society. Lastly, the author attempts to show readers that both quantitative and qualitative styles of social research are valuable, but the greatest benefit to social research lies in combining the two.


            KEY WORDS: Sociology; Research Methodology; Social Sciences.


22. Oakley, A. (2000). Experiments in knowing: Gender and method in the social sciences. New York: New Press.


            A leading feminist scholar's breakthrough study of gender bias in the social sciences.


            KEY WORDS: Feminist Theory; Research Methodology.


23. Olsen, H. (2003). "Good" qualitative interviews with "proper" informants? Tendencies in English and Scandinavian methodology literature. Sosiologisk tidsskrift, 11(2), 123-153.


            This article presents selected parts of a study of Danish interviews conducted at the Danish National Institute of Social Research in Copenhagen (Olsen, 2002a-c), and examines how to implement "good" qualitative interviews with "proper" informants. This article is based on textual analysis of a diverse range of English and Scandinavian qualitative methodology literature (i.e., 200 books and articles) concerning competing understandings of qualitative interviews, interview preparation, interview implementation, and interview quality. The article concludes with the author presenting his own interview quality-ensuring proposals.


            KEY WORDS: Denmark; Interviews; Qualitative Methods; Research Design; Methodology (Data Collection); Research Subjects.


24. Paolucci, P. B. (2001). Dialectical methodology, power and capital: Dialectical methods, Foucault's encounter with Marxism, and techniques of class domination into the global era. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 62(2), 797-A-798-A.


            Interpretations and reconstructions of Marx's thought have had difficulty maintaining the central elements - the dialectical method, historical materialism, political-economics, and the communist program - in a proper logical relationship. As a consequence, Marxian oriented approaches display both internal weaknesses and external criticisms. Examining the assumptions, language, concepts and methods of Marx's dialectical methodology provides a better foundation for evaluating supporters' and detracters' arguments. Some contemporary critics point to the work of Michel Foucault as containing the elements necessary to supplant Marxist orientations. However, this interpretation is does not hold up when viewed through an analytical lens of a reconstructed dialectical methodology. Doing so, allows one to analyze modern techniques of power that are "productive" as a supplement to classical Marxian models of "repressive" power. Such a synthesis allows for a view of power that is expressed as techniques for maintaining class domination - proletarians are repressed as they are produced as docile and useful subjects. The practices are examined historically, focusing on the discursive underpinnings of the legitimation of ruling class domination and its use of violence. Next, the analysis scrutinizes current policies practiced in international political-economy in the era of globalization.


            KEY WORDS: Foucault, Michel; Dominance; Marxist Analysis; Globalization; Political Economy; Dialectics; Social Power; Class Struggle; Oppression; Research Methodology.



25. Parker, L., & Lynn, M. (2002). What's race got to do with it? Critical race theory's conflicts with and connections to qualitative research methodology and epistemology. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 7-22.


            This article explores the critical race theory (CRT) as a methodological and epistemological tool to exposing race and racism in the lives of American racial minorities, and provides a theoretical and conceptual framework for its discussion. Specifically, it situates CRT within a socio-historical context and offers a definition, and it presents an argument as to why there is a need for CRT in educational and qualitative research. In doing so, it identifies concerns of addressing or failing to address race and racism in educational research. Its authors speculate about what lies ahead and assess possible points of agreement and conflicts between CRT and qualitative research in the field of education.


            KEY WORDS: Educational Research; Epistemology; Race; Qualitative Methods; Social Theories; Racism; Research Methodology.


26. Pincon, M., & Pincon-Charlot, M. (1999). Bourdieu's theory applied to bourgeois research: A plural methodology for a multidisciplinary approach. Revista de Ciencias Humanas, 25(April), 11-20.


            Pierre Bourdieu's sociology attempts to overcome subjectivism-objectivism, individual-social, and freedom-determinism oppositions by analyzing sociality as a construct of two modalities: (1) social agents with habitus dispositions, and (2) the world consisting of objects (economic goods) or cultural productions (e.g., legal texts). The approach is based on a multidisciplinary propensity of psychology, economy, history, and geography. It implies the application of diverse methodologies utilizing qualitative and quantitative procedures.


            KEY WORDS: Bourdieu, Pierre; Sociology of Culture; Sociological Theory; Methodology (Philosophical); Interdisciplinary Approach.


27. Pinuel Raigada, J. L. (2002). Epistemology, methodology and content analysis techniques. Estudios de Sociolinguistica, 3(1), 1-41.


            This article offers an epistemological review of the analysis of content, methodology for conducting content-analysis, and the technical alternatives that underlie an analysis noting software resources. Riagada's article references the work of Harald Klein.


            KEY WORDS: Epistemology; Sociolinguistics; Content Analysis; Research Methodology; Computer Assisted Research; Computer Software; Methodology; Data Analysis.


28. Potapov, V. P. (2001). On the methodology of assessing the quality of learning. Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya, 27(10), 136-137.


            This article relates the didactic experience of applying a 100-point scale in assessing the quantitative and qualitative aspects of student performance and learning progress in sociology instruction at the Financial Academy of the Government of the Russian Federation. The scale is divided between students' theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and outlines the specific tasks evaluated in each category. Scores from the semester are included with the final grade for semester-end tests. The argument is that this evaluation technique increases students' motivation in sociological study.


            KEY WORDS: Sociology; Education; Student Evaluation; Grades; College Students; Russia; Tests; Research Methodology.


29. Primeau, L. A. (2003). Reflections on self in qualitative research: Stories of family. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(1), 9-16.


            This text explores reflexivity, a qualitative research strategy, and addresses our subjectivity as researchers related to people and events encountered in the field. It addresses the subjective nature of reflexive research and the ways that reflexivity enhances the quality of research. Specifically, it explores the ways that our positions and interests as researchers affect each stage of the research process. By highlighting aspects of the researcher's reflexivity across the entire research process, (i.e., situating the study, gaining access, managing self, living in the field, and telling the story), the reflexive account presented frames an analysis and interpretation of previously published findings on work and play in families.


            KEY WORDS: Experimental Design; Methodology; Qualitative Research; Reflectiveness; Family; Subjectivity.


30. Sil, R. (2000). The division of labor in social science research: Unified methodology or "organic solidarity"? Polity, 32(4), 499-531.


            Contending methodological perspectives and different types of research products are founded on irreconcilable philosophical assumptions, the sharp, recurrent debates over social science research methods are likely to be fruitless & counterproductive. By exposing some of the philosophical assumptions underlying the most recent calls for a unified social science methodology, this article seeks to help develop a common appreciation of how different kinds of methods and research products advance our understanding of different aspects of social life at different levels of abstraction. Commonly posited dichotomies as deductivist/inductivist logic, quantitative/quantitative analysis, and nomothetic/idiographic research products are shown to obscure significant differences along a continuum of strategies through which context-bound information and analytic constructs are combined to produce interpretations of varying degrees of complexity or generality. Durkheim's conception of "organic solidarity" in a social "division of labor" is a useful metaphor to capture the complementary roles performed by various research products and the trade-offs arising from the strengths & weaknesses of various methodological approaches (ranging from formal & statistical approaches to various case-based & interpretive approaches). Thus, sharp claims regarding the strengths & limitations of particular methods are transformed into elements of an overarching agnostic understanding of the trade-offs & complementarities among these methods. Finally, a distinctive role is identified for an ideal-typical "middle-range" comparative-historical approach in fostering greater communication among a more inclusively defined community of methodologically diverse social scientists.


            KEY WORDS: Social Sciences; Research Methodology; Data Collection; Methodological Problems; Social Science Research; Data Analysis.


31. Smith, N. (2002). Oral history and grounded theory procedures as research methodology for studies in race, gender and class. Race, Gender & Class, 9(3), 121-138.


            This article describes a research methodology, the combined use of oral history & grounded theory procedures, that should be useful for the study of race, gender, & class, & which, in particular, supports the SUNO-RGC Project's approach to race, gender, & class studies as a foundation for strategizing social change/social justice. The article draws attention to the coincidence of oral history & grounded theory with principles of community organizing. It emphasizes the importance of understanding history & ideology in any social research.


            KEY WORDS: Research Methodology; Oral History; Grounded Theory; Activism; Race; Sex; Social Class; Social Change; Social Justice.


32. Smith, D. E. (2005). Institutional ethnography: A sociology for people. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.


            The author describes and defends an alternative sociology that has its foundations in the women's movements. The method of inquiry, institutional ethnography, is based on an ontology of the social that concentrates on people's everyday lived experiences in institution. Smith sees language as coordinator of people's subjectivities. She explains institutional ethnography as discovering the relevance of people's experience to mapping institutions and recognizing the way texts enter into the organization of institutional forms of action.


            KEY WORDS: Ethnology; Methodology; Research; Sociology.


33. Solorzano, D. G., & Yosso, T. J. (2002). Critical race methodology: Counter-storytelling as an analytical framework for education research. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 23-44.


            This article shows how critical race theory can inform a critical race methodology in education. The authors challenge the intercentricity of racism with other forms of subordination and exposes deficit-informed research that silences & distorts epistemologies of people of color. Social scientists tell stories under the guise of "objective" research, such stories actually uphold deficit, racialized notions about people of color. For the authors, a critical race methodology provides a tool to "counter" deficit storytelling. Specifically, a critical race methodology offers space to conduct and present research grounded in the experiences and knowledge of people of color. They describe how they compose counter-stories, the authors discuss how the stories can be used as theoretical, methodological, & pedagogical tools to challenge racism, sexism, and classism and work toward social justice.


            KEY WORDS: Epistemology; Race; Social Theories; Educational Research; Research Methodology.


34. Speer, S. A. (2002). What can conversation analysis contribute to feminist methodology? Putting reflexivity into practice. Discourse & Society, 13(6), 783-803.


            Using conversational analysis this article explores an issue central to the design and delivery of feminist research: the relationship between researcher and researched, and specifically, the impact of the former on the latter. One principle guiding this research is that it should be respondent-centered, allowing participants to set the agenda and define what is important in their own terms. Though not advocated as an explicitly feminist method, one technique deemed to be ideally suited to this end is the use of prompts as stimulus materials. In this article, I revisit data from my own research in which picture prompts were used to derive gender talk. Rather than treat prompts as facilitators of talk in which the respondents set the priorities, I demonstrate how the activity of showing a prompt itself requires work on the part of the moderator. I argue that even where the researcher tries to minimize her impact on the data collection process, that she is still influential & the data is thereby always an interactional product. Although many feminists acknowledge this, & advocate the importance of a reflexive orientation to our data collection practices, I suggest that most feminists do not, as yet, possess the analytic skills to do this reflexivity well. I consider the implications of this analysis for the way feminists & other researchers derive & analyze gender talk, & conceive of the relationship between the researcher & those researched.


            KEY WORDS: Conversational Analysis; Feminism; Researcher Subject Relations; Research Methodology; Methodology (Data Collection); Sex Role; Orientations; Reflexivity.


35. Sprague, J. (2005). Feminist methodologies for critical researchers: Bridging differences. Walnut Creek, CA: Lanham, MD.


            After evaluating the epistemologies available to social science researchers - positivism, postmodernism, critical realism and standpoint theory - Sprague argues that sociological perspective leads to a preference for standpoint epistemology. She also examines both conventional and experimental ways of reporting research findings and proposes some strategies for developing research questions that serve social justice. She concludes with a call for transformation in the social organization of research, from collaborative agendas to new terms of evaluation of scholarly productivity.


            KEY WORDS: Women's Studies; Methodology; Sociology; Research Methodology; Statistical Methods.


36. Tanner, R. E. S. (2002). Some reflections on being the subject of research into memory. An academic critique of methodology applied to a single person. Quality and Quantity, 36(1), 81-91.


            The author's memory of events between 1941-60 in WWII & civilian employment in Burma & Tanganiyika, was tested by three psychologists over 3 days on the basis of his 3,000-page diary & other written records that had not been read since they were written. Results found discrepancies in both traumatic & non-traumatic events. The methodology incorporated complex interpersonal relationships related to age, sex, appearance, class, education, ethnicity, and trust in the researchers as well as issues of what to test in such a mass of material & the validity of the base line tests. The methodology brought out the need for researchers to know the social field surrounding memory such as current affairs & routine & the need for an industrial work study approach to research planning. The overall approach used an elitist language code and did not allow for such things as the physical tiredness or the social obligations of those involved.


            KEY WORDS: Autobiographical Materials; Research Methodology; Methodological Problems; Memory; Life History; Researcher Subject Relations; Research Design.


37. van Halsema, I. (2003). Feminist methodology and gender planning tools: Divergences and meeting points. Gender, Technology and Development, 7(1), 75-89.


            Feminist methodology and gender planning tools move in opposite directions. Many tools used in gender planning tend to an empiricist epistemological orientation, characterized by a standardization of procedures and a preference for checklists, indicators, and measuring, whereas feminist academic circles have a predominantly critical attitude towards empiricism. Discussions tend to question positivist scientific procedures & emphasize the importance of reflexivity. While recognizing the different requirements & goals of academic research & policy analysis in the area of gender, this article argues for more convergence in methodological terms, so that the 2 areas can enrich rather than oppose each other.


            KEY WORDS: Feminism; Feminist Theory; Positivism; Development Strategies; Methodology (Philosophical); Methodological Problems.


38. Weymann, A., Sackmann, R., & Wingens, M. (1999). Social change and the life course in East Germany: A cohort approach to inequalities. The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 19(9-10-11), 90-114.


            This article examines the education & employment life courses of 3 cohorts of East Germans using longitudinal survey data on 3,776 respondents graduating from vocational schools or universities in 1985, 1990 & 1995; biographies of 67 workers in agriculture & chemistry; & expert interviews with personnel managers in 36 companies. The life passages of job entry, career mobility, retraining, & fertility are analyzed by educational level, cohort, gender, occupation, labor market sector, East German unemployment rates, & activity, 1989-1992 (the "window of opportunity" following German reunification). Per event-history analysis, changes in macrostructure & individual life courses are closely interrelated. At the macro level, the postreunification East German labor market declined, economic sector importance changed, & unemployment rates rose. At the micro level, four patterns to deal with change were identified: redirection, acceptance, retraining, & despondence.


            KEY WORDS: German Democratic Republic; German Reunification; Employment Changes; Social Inequality; Workers; Generational Differences; Education Work Relationship; Life Cycle; Career Patterns; Family-Work Relationship; Working Women; Sexual Inequality; Social Change; Occupational Mobility; Methodology.


39. Weymann, A. (2003). The life course, institutions, and life-course policy. In W. R. Heinz & V. W. Marshall (Eds.), Social dynamics of the life course: Transitions, institutions, and interrelations (pp. 167-193). Hawthorn: Aldine De Gruyter.


            This book argues that the life-course policy of a nation-state, which buttresses life-course regimes, is challenged by globalization & historical rupture. The authors use a neoinstitutionalist perspective to understand life-course institutions & how the nation-state establishes & develops institutional regimes to guide the life course. The German Democratic Republic's transformation is utilized to describe the impact of historical rupture on life-course policy, highlighting education-work & work-family relationships. The globalization & supranationalization of life-course regimes in the fields of the welfare state & education are examined via the example of the European Union. Radical reform of life-course policy has resulted in both cases of social transformation; however, it is argued that life-course policy & life-course conduct evidence a strong path dependency. The use of neoinstitutionalism for life-course policy studies & life-course analysis is considered in conclusion.


            KEY WORDS: Life Cycle; Government Policy; Social Change; Globalization; Institutions; German Democratic Republic; European Union; Family-Work Relationship; Education Work Relationship; Welfare State.







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