Issues in Learning About and Teaching Qualitative Research Methods and Methodology in the Social Sciences

Franz Breuer, Margrit Schreier

Abstract


For many qualitative researchers in the social sciences, learning about and teaching qualitative research methods and methodology raises a number of questions. This topic was the focus of a symposium held during the Second Berlin Summer School for Qualitative Research Methods in July 2006. In this contribution, some of the issues discussed during the symposium are taken up and extended, and some basic dimensions underlying these issues are summarized. How qualitative research methods and methodology are taught is closely linked to the ways in which qualitative researchers in the social sciences conceptualize themselves and their discipline. In the following, we distinguish between a paradigmatic and a pragmatic view. From a pragmatic point of view, qualitative research methods are considered research strategies or techniques and can be taught in the sense of recipes with specific steps to be carried out. According to a paradigmatic point of view (strongly inspired by constructivism), qualitative research methods and methodology are conceptualized as a craft to be practiced together by a "master" and an "apprentice." Moreover, the teaching of qualitative research methods also depends heavily on the institutional standing of qualitative compared to quantitative research method. Based on these considerations, five basic dimensions of learning about and teaching qualitative research methods are suggested: ways of teaching (ranging from the presentation of textbook knowledge to cognitive apprenticeship) and instructors' experience with these; institutional contexts, including their development and the teaching of qualitative research methods in other than university contexts; the "fit" between personality and method, including relevant personal skills and talents; and, as a special type of instructional context that increasingly has gained importance, distance learning and its implications for learning about and teaching qualitative research methods. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0701307

Keywords


learning about and teaching qualitative methods and methodology; qualitative research styles; quantitative and qualitative methods and methodology; methods and methodology as craft; methods and methodology as research strategy



Copyright (c) 2007 Franz Breuer, Margrit Schreier

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