Challenges Concerning the Generation of Knowledge in Contemporary Qualitative Social Research

Marcela Cornejo, Carolina Besoaín, Francisca Mendoza


Within the field of qualitative social research there has been an emerging interest in issues concerning "the subject" and "subjectivity" as objects of scientific study, re-establishing assumptions about the development of knowledge in the social sciences. From this emerging interest, words are conceived as contextual, situated, and dialogical events, where meaning-making occurs. Knowledge emerges at the meeting point between the researcher and the research participant.
This article presents a critical review of the foundational arguments on which qualitative social research are based, challenging and proposing ways in which these theoretical/epistemological positions relate to research practice. Three research studies are presented to illustrate some of these positions, including the description of particular techniques developed to support and sustain the processes of data production and analysis. Also addressed are issues related to the conditions of data production, the relationships between participants and researchers, and the collective nature of research teams.
We propose some ways of thinking about and discussing the relevance of techniques, such as self-reflective journals, inter-analysis meetings, and transcribers’ field notes, to achieve a reflective process of knowledge construction.


reflexivity; rationale and practice of qualitative social research; data production; knowledge construction


Copyright (c) 2011 Marcela Cornejo, Carolina Besoaín, Francisca Mendoza

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