Qualitative Research Critique

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  • Topic: Qualitative research, Scientific method, Quantitative research
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  • Published : May 25, 2013
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Qualitative Research by Michael D. Myers

Originally published in: MISQ Discovery, June 1997 This is the "living version".

[Welcome] [Introduction] [Overview of Qualitative Research] [Philosophical Perspectives] [Qualitative Research Methods] [Qualitative Techniques for Data Collection] [Modes of Analysis] [Writing Up Qualitative Research][References on Qualitative Research] [Resources for Qualitative Researchers] [Software Tools for Qualitative Researchers] [Teaching Qualitative Research] [Calls for Papers][Citation Information]

Qualitative Research in Information Systems
Section Editor: Michael D. Myers

Welcome
Welcome to the ISWorld Section on Qualitative Research in Information Systems (IS). This section aims to provide qualitative researchers in IS - and those wanting to know how to do qualitative research - with useful information on the conduct, evaluation and publication of qualitative research. The originally accepted work was published in MISQ Discovery in 1997 and is available in the MISQ Discovery Archive. This work also received the Value-Added Site award for 1996-97 sponsored by the Academy of Management‟s Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division and ISWorld. More recently, this work received an ISWorld Challenge Award from the Association for Information Systems in 2004. Acknowledgments: I am very grateful to Allen S. Lee and M. Lynne Markus for their earlier encouragement and advice.

Introduction

This section is dedicated to qualitative research in Information Systems (IS). Qualitative research involves the use of qualitative data, such as interviews, documents, and participant observation data, to understand and explain social phenomena. Qualitative researchers can be found in many disciplines and fields, using a variety of approaches, methods and techniques. In Information Systems, there has been a general shift in IS research away from technological to managerial and organizational issues, hence an increasing interest in the application of qualitative research methods. This section is organized as follows. After a general overview of qualitative research, philosophical perspectives which can inform qualitative research are discussed. This is followed by sections on qualitative research methods, qualitative research techniques, and modes of analyzing and interpreting qualitative data. This is then followed by a number of sub-sections that relate to qualitative research in general, i.e. citation lists, links to resources on the Internet for qualitative researchers, links to software tools and calls for papers. The goal is to provide the IS community with useful information on qualitative research in IS (subject to copyright considerations) with as much material as possible provided -- through links -- by the original authors themselves. If you wish to cite this work, the complete citation information is included below. Please send suggestions for improvement to the Section Editor at: m.myers@auckland.ac.nz

Overview of Qualitative Research
Research methods can be classified in various ways, however one of the most common distinctions is between qualitative and quantitative research methods. Quantitative research methods were originally developed in the natural sciences to study natural phenomena. Examples of quantitative methods now well accepted in the social sciences include survey methods, laboratory experiments, formal methods (e.g. econometrics) and numerical methods such as mathematical modeling. See the ISWorld Section on Quantitative, Positivist Research edited by Straub, Gefen and Boudreau (2004). Qualitative research methods were developed in the social sciences to enable researchers to study social and cultural phenomena. Examples of qualitative methods are action research, case study research and ethnography. Qualitative data sources include observation and participant observation (fieldwork), interviews and questionnaires, documents and texts, and the...
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