Learning in the Field: An Introduction to Qualitative Research

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SAGE, 2003 - Psychology - 369 pages
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"What sets this book apart is its skillful integration of both the scientific and artistic dimensions of qualitative research."

--From the foreword by Michael Quinn Patton, author of Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, 3rd Edition

The popular text that helped readers better understand and practice qualitative research has been completely updated and revised while retaining the features that made the first edition so useful.

New to this edition:

  • Chapter 3 on the ethics and politics of qualitative research
  • Chapter 4 on choosing the locus of interest among the major qualitative research approaches
  • Chapter 10 expanded to provide detailed instructions for organizing, coding, interpreting, and analyzing data
  • Chapters 8 and 11 present examples of the three student characters' data and analysis
  • Concept boxes highlight major themes and issues and summarize important principles
  • End-of-chapter study questions and activities

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Common Characteristics
Principles of Good Practice
The Researcher as Learner
Perspective in Practice
Using the Principles of Good Practice
The Researcher as Competent and Ethical
Theories of Ethics
Activities for Your Community of Practice
Our Characters Data
Marias Data
Ruths Data
Activities for Your Community of Practice
How Do I Prepare to Gather Data?
How Do I Turn Sights Sounds and Objects Into Data?
How Do I Leave the Field?

Activities for Your Community of Practice
Using the Principles of Good Practice
Practical Considerations
Conceptual Framework
Design and Method
Activities for Your Community of Practice
Approach and Negotiations
Using the Principles of Good Practice
Decisions About Gathering Data
Generic InDepth Interviewing
Specialized Forms of InDepth Interviewing
Observing People Actions and Events
Analysis Happens
Generic Analysis
Writing InProcess Analytic Memos
Strategies for Analyzing Field Notes From Observations
Our Characters Analyses
Ruths Analysis
Using the Principles of Good Practice
Organizing the Report
About the Authors

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About the author (2003)

Gretchen B. Rossman is Professor of International Education at the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her PhD in education from the University of Pennsylvania with a specialization in higher education administration. She has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Prior to coming to the University of Massachusetts, she was Senior Research Associate at Research for Better Schools in Philadelphia. With an international reputation as a qualitative methodologist, she has expertise in qualitative research design and methods, mixed-methods monitoring and evaluation, and inquiry in education. Over the past 25 years, she has coauthored nine books, authored or coauthored more than 40 articles, book chapters, and technical reports focused on methodological issues in qualitative research syntheses, validity in qualitative research, mixed-methods evaluation practice, and ethical research practice, as well as the analysis and evaluation of educational reform initiatives both in the United States and internationally. Professor Rossman has served as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on several international projects in countries such as Azerbaijan, India, Malawi, and more, as well as external evaluator on several domestic projects, including a Department of Education-funded reform initiative, a National Science Foundation-funded middle-grades science initiative, and a number of projects implementing more inclusive practices for students with disabilities. She regularly presents papers at the annual meetings of the American Evaluation Association, the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Comparative and International Education Society. She recently completed a two-year term serving as program cochair (with Sharon Rallis) for the qualitative research section of AERA's Division on Research Methodology.

Sharon F. Rallis is Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and Reform at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she is also director of the Center for Education Policy. Previously, she was professor of education at the University of Connecticut; lecturer on education at Harvard; and associate professor of educational leadership at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Her doctorate is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has co-authored ten books, including several on leadership: "Principals of Dynamic Schools: Taking Charge of Change "(with Ellen Goldring); "Dynamic Teachers: Leaders of Change "(with Gretchen Rossman); "Leading Dynamic Schools: How to create and Implement Ethical Policies "(with Gretchen Rossman and others); and "Leading with Inquiry and Action: How Principals Improve Teaching and Learning "(with Matthew Militello and Ellen Goldring). Her numerous articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and technical reports address issues of research and evaluation methodology, ethical practice in research and evaluation, education policy and leadership, and school reform.A past-president of the American Evaluation Association (2005), Rallis has been involved with education and evaluation for over three decades. She has been a teacher, counselor, principal, researcher, program evaluator, director of a major federal school reform initiative, and an elected school board member. Currently, her teaching includes courses on inquiry, program evaluation, qualitative methodology, and organizational theory. Her research has focused on the local implementation of programs driven by federal, state, or district policies. As external evaluator or principal investigator (PI), she has studied a variety of domestic and international policy and reform efforts, such as: alternative professional development for leaders; collaborations between agencies responsible for educating incarcerated or institutionalized youth; initiatives supporting inclusive education for children and youth with disabilities; local school governance and leadership; labor-management relations in school districts. Rallis work with students on evaluation and qualitative methodology has taken her as far as Afghanistan and Palestine.

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