Qualitative Social Science in the UK: A Reflexive Commentary on the "State of the Art"
UK social science is characterised by an ever increasing expectation that it should be able to demonstrate excellence not only in terms of scientific and intellectual considerations. In addition, it must link its relevance and worth to a wide range of stakeholders and users of research. This "climate of change" is seen in the unprecedented level of strategic initiatives that are currently underway. The purpose of this article is to consider some of these strategic developments and how they seek to promote leading edge developments in social science methodology. Attention is focussed, in particular, on the place of qualitative methodologies and methods within these developments. One of the sections of the article reports on the main findings of a consultation exercise with UK social scientists on qualitative research resources. A key interest throughout the article is in articulating the explicit and implicit agendas that are energising and motivating what may be called the "turn to methodology" in funded UK social science in the early 21st century
qualitative methods; social science methodology; UK social research; qualitative research resources