Qualitative Inquiry

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 1552-7565
Publications
Article
This paper queries the pharmaceutical industry's concept of "ready-to-recruit" populations by examining its recruitment strategies for clinical trials and the types of human subjects who participate in these drug studies. The argument is that the pharmaceutical industry has profited from a system comprised of what can more aptly be characterized as ready-to-consent populations, meaning populations who do not have better alternatives than participation in clinical trials. Further, through qualitative research, this paper aims to highlight some of the limitations of current U.S. federal regulation and to show how these limits signal problems that are not normally discussed in the medical ethics literature about research on human subjects. It does this by examining the impotence of informed consent - both as a concept and as a practice - in light of recruitment strategies and the structural reasons motivating individuals to participate in clinical trials.
 
Article
The phenomenon of understanding lies at the heart of the qualitative inquiry enterprise. Drawing on the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics, this article discusses the following four conditions under which understanding unfolds: (a) the difference between knowing and understanding; (b) understanding as learning rather than reading; (c) understanding as relational and hence requiring openness, dialogue, and listening; and (d) understanding as entailing the possibility for misunderstanding. The article closes with some brief comments on the implications of this investigation for what it means to be a qualitative inquirer.
 
Article
This article explores the author’s multiple relationships with the Head Start staff and children at Wood River. The text is presented in a story-narrative form. Interspersed are the Head Start teacher’s comments about an earlier draft of this article. There are three aspects of these relationships that the author explores. The first is the relationships among researchers’ multiple community memberships when conducting research. The second is the relationships with mentors who guide researchers in how they conduct their investigations. The third entails the author’s relationships with the Wood River staff and children. These relationships do not follow a smooth path; rather, they shift over time and from one moment to the next based on the context at hand.
 
Article
This article takes issue with a question sometimes heard at workshops on interview research: "How shall I find a method to analyze the 1,000 pages of interview transcripts I have collected?" Rather than merely dismiss the question as one posed too late and leading in unproductive directions or attempt to answer the question directly, the article seeks to bring into the open the empiristic presuppositions about qualitative research implied by the question. The question is itself treated as a text to be analyzed. Seven critical key terms are selected for interpretation: how, have, method, analyze, 1,000 pages, transcripts, and collected. The interpretation focuses on both what is said and what is not said in the question, as well as what could have been said to lead interview analyses in more constructive directions. Finally, the present interpretation of the question is discussed as an example of qualitative analysis.
 
Article
Hospice 101 interweaves three sites of narration: (a) my home and family life; (b) my training as a hospice volunteer; and (c) the death of my sister. The article both introduces hospice, palliative care, and the dying process and immerses the reader in these experiences through the intermingling of ethnographic and literary techniques. Writing Hospice 101 has been a method of inquiry for me, but, unexpectedly, the writing has also been a method of palliative self-care.
 
Article
This article draws on the articulation of a value for reflexivity that has accumulated within qualitative methods debates in the past decade. It demonstrates how reflexivity is interwoven with the concept of ethical mindfulness. The argument has developed from a consideration of the ethical dilemmas that were a salient aspect of an ongoing research relationship with children and young people during an unusually long longitudinal study, undertaken from the time the 10 participants were aged three to seventeen. The study explores the ongoing creation of a personal self during this time and draws on a range of ethnographic methods. The author focuses on two aspects of the “ethics in practice” that imbued her research relationships: the gaining and maintaining of consent, and the matching of methods to children’s interests. The author makes a series of recommendations about how to do reflexivity, incorporating a set of guidelines for informed consent with children. The author concludes that reflexivity and ethical mindfulness are interdependent concepts, an understanding that is particularly valuable for child-focused researchers.
 
Article
When the massacre of 32 students plus the suicide of the shooter occurred at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, this author watched the external events from the relative safety of her office located directly across the Drillfield from Norris Hall, where the shootings occurred. Subsequently, the author fell into a deep state of depression following the day now known as 4/16. Throughout the numbness of the day, the author scribbled poems on post-it notes, later tucked into the journals where she chronicled the depression that held her captive for almost 3 years. In this article, the author performed the journey that helped her survive the collision of public tragedy and personal trauma by connecting the autoethnographic to the public. The author narrated a scene, to tell her story, connecting life and art, writing as inquiry to understand her journey from depression to wholeness.
 
Article
This article calls for a new ethics of writing, asking that writers put their texts in forms that readers can use in their own lives. This allows the writer to use the personal in the name of the political. These points are illustrated in an analysis of personal texts dealing with the death of a family member.
 
Article
The purpose of letters of recommendation is to accentuate the positive attributes of candidates. An archival study examined 291 medical students’ performance evaluations (MSPEs) for male and female medical students written by male and female associate deans of medicine for a highly competitive radiology residency in the Northeast United States. This poetic representation illustrates the author’s emotion to the audience after grappling with disturbing results from the data analysis (Richardson, 2003). Interpretations of the data through a poststructural feminist lens draw on the complexity of the language that remains a constitutive force illustrating reality. “Competent,” part of the Merriam-Webster’s definition of “able,” has a gendered masculine nuance. Even though women physicians represent almost 50% of medical school graduates, there remains questions of what they are “able to” do.
 
Article
Failure, according to the academic canonical narrative, is anything other than a tenure-track professorship. The academic job hunt is fraught with unknowns: a time of fear, hope, and despair. This personal narrative follows the author’s three-year journey from doctoral candidate, to visiting assistant professor, to the unemployment line. Using a layered account and through a Foucauldian lens the author examines the academic success narrative, delving into the emotional bipolarity during the job search, and the use technologies of the self. It concludes with a reexamination of academic discourses and the canonical narrative of academic success as well as an appeal to continue to do good work.
 
Article
This article reviews the use of fiction as a qualitative research method. The article focuses on the feminist academic novel as a means of representing qualitative research, raising feminist consciousness, accessing hard-to-get-at dimensions of social life, opening up a multiplicity of meanings, tapping into empathy and resonance as ways of knowing and reaching diverse audiences with feminist social research knowledge. The article centers on the construction of the two lead female characters in the feminist arts-based novel, Low-Fat Love.
 
Article
The article analyzes contemporary discourses and practices of caregiving and mothering. Using a case study of one employed mother as a starting point, the authors engage in writing-stories that combine the analyses of their e-mail and face-to-face conversations from the last couple of years with various journal entries and interdisciplinary research. The article concludes with a final section that articulates how caregiving discourses cut across public—private binaries in contradictory and productive ways. The analysis coalesces in a final writing-story.
 
Article
This essay seeks to reflect upon, rescue, make sense of, incorporate my “I” in my research experiences with Chilean survivors of political imprisonment. In an attempt to free and recover my “I”—quiet until today—to re-think, remember, and to build while I am standing in the middle of the process, I will tell some “moments” and situations I experienced during my research with some of the members of this Chilean group. I will use storytelling, counter-story-telling, performance texts, and short stories associated with the concepts of “victim,” “trauma,” “study subject,” “ethical aspects,” and “initial researcher background.” This is an attempt to move me past my “thin”—previous form to making research—to “thick description-as-inscription.” I am thinking about, and developing the Framing the research question. Finally, I will develop some recommendations that might be useful for researchers who are interested in working and addressing these issues.
 
Article
The narrative in this discussion article portrays the quest by two researchers to find their scholarly identity in their craft. The central issue in this narrative piece as design type of this inquiry is the space of knowledge crafting— distinguishing between adopted knowledge from the theories that sustain our thinking and the realities that they encounter in the research fields where knowledge grows in dynamic ecosystems that they wish to engage with and try to explicate and to understand. The central conundrum or the academic puzzle in this narrative is thus that they receive mixed messages about the interface between them, the researchers, the presented empirical world, and the theories from which they have learned. They are not sure where or when they speak in their own voices or portray their own identities.
 
Article
Having assumed the role of academic tourist/midnight robber from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, I discover that I have never fully dealt with the emotional aspect of using academic discourses that came out of a Eurocentric frame. Academic habitus, conventions, laws, shame, guilt, and fear of the repercussions because of my dual status inhibit me. In this autoethnographic text, I make a bold move to become vulnerable as I critically explore the social, political, and cultural contexts of a dissertation culture that I experienced. I use methodological tools provided by specifically chosen tour guides, Carnival midnight robber talk, and a “layered account” to move from the outside to the inside and back out again of the experience of using academic discourses in an ethnographic study of Trinidad Carnival.
 
Article
Access to information (ATI) and freedom of information (FOI) mechanisms are now relevant features of governments in many liberal democracies today. Citizens, organizations, and permanent residents in several countries across the globe can request unpublished information from federal, provincial, state, county, and municipal government agencies. However, most qualitative researchers appear to be unfamiliar with ATI/FOI or write it off as an approach used by journalists rather than as a way to systematically produce qualitative and longitudinal data about government practices. In this article, the authors discuss the use of ATI/FOI requests as a means of data production. The authors show how the use of ATI/FOI requests intersects with issues such as reflexivity, the Hawthorne effect, interviewing, and discourse analysis. The study objective is to foster a multidisciplinary discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of ATI/FOI requests as a data production tool.
 
Article
Familicide is a rare but troubling event that can be difficult to recount, especially for residents of the community were it occurred. The author of this piece combines her academic and practitioner knowledge of family violence with her personal experience, recalling the events leading up to the murder of a classmate nearly 20 years ago. The author reframes these memories through her current knowledge of risk assessment for domestic lethality as well as the safety behaviors women typically employ to protect themselves and their children. Further emphasis is placed on the need for children and young people to be involved in coordinated community efforts to detect and disclose incidents of family violence. Public education on this topic, for both adults and young people, can be useful in reducing stigma and coordinating efforts for intervention.
 
Article
This performance narrative is an exploration of the trauma after the trauma: the days and weeks following a sexual assault I experienced in college. As an assault victim, I encountered the initial violence of the attack, but afterward, I continued to encounter violence in the forms of silence, banality, dismissal, and the inability to connect with others. In this offering, I attempt to present the fierce collision of emotions I drove through on the road to recovery. The unwelcome company of painful memories almost always pervaded my isolation and loneliness. This performance raises questions on the types of responses a survivor encounters from friends, family, and the broader society. Finding help isn’t as simple as picking up the phone, because first and foremost, the victim must call.
 
School and Program Level Empirical Materials and Key Topics 
Sequential empirical materials collection strategy  
Description of Collective Capacity Dimensions 
NMS Internal Accountability 
Article
This article discusses the importance of mixed-methods research, in particular the value of qualitatively driven mixed-methods research for quantitatively driven domains like educational accountability. The article demonstrates the merits of qualitative thinking by describing a mixed-methods study that focuses on a middle school’s system of internal accountability and its perceived collective capacity in relation to external accountability mandates. The study also demonstrates the value of using an overarching instrumental case study framework to extend understandings of theoretical frameworks from previous accountability studies and to illuminate contextual complexities and nuances on multiple levels.
 
Article
Twenty people with inoperable lung cancer, and their carers, were interviewed at regular intervals for up to 1 year concerning their illness experiences and physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. When talking about their experiences of diagnosis of lung cancer, participants’ accounts generally took the form of extended stories, which were unexpected to the research team in form and content. These unexpected factors led the authors to think that patients may at difficult times launch into the rhythms and cadences of natural poetry. This opened up different perspectives on, and responses to, the narratives by clinicians and researchers. Because people often respond more directly and emotionally to poetry, a clinician interpreting a patient’s “history of the presenting complaint” in poetic form may be enabled to appreciate more of the emotional toll of the cancer journey; it also raises new challenges in the research process regarding processes of re-presentation and voice.
 
Article
In this manuscript, we examine three layers of censorship related to the publication of qualitative research studies: (a) the global level of federal legislation and the definition of the “gold standard” of educational research, (b) the decline in the number of qualitative studies published in a top-tiered early childhood educational research journal after implementation of the Reading Excellence Act and No Child Left Behind, and (c) a local story of our experience in submitting a qualitative study for review. In the final section, we discuss the implications of these three levels of censorship.
 
Article
Physical or sexual attraction plays an important role in shaping a wide range of relationships and in myriad ways. Our primary interest here is in how attraction shapes the qualitative research experience. Close examination of popular sociological ethnographies found that attractiveness is used as a descriptor, and almost always in a distancing fashion, but never considered in a reflexive manner. We explore implications of this silence surrounding attraction and urge greater candidness among sociologists conducting field research and teachers of qualitative methods.
 
Article
Graffiti artists who deface and vandalize also highly aestheticise and politicize landscapes marking boundaries that are both territorial and ideological. Similarly, the privileged “I” within reflexive research seems to subvert a process of territorialisation of the (un)authored research text with a kind of repetitious “tagging.” This article will consider how the idea of graffiti tagging might be used to theorize acts of ethnography (and ethnographer) in an early years classroom to destabilize what might otherwise remain an unproblematic inscription or stain in data. I will draw from excerpts of classroom data to open up ways to think about particular understandings of the researcher as “I,” casting shadows over the “I” that is written into versions of the child and the classroom.
 
Article
This article describes and critically examines the collaborative research process between an urban university’s research center and its community partners. The authors link the theoretical framework of collaborative research, participatory action research, and critical pedagogy to their personal experiences involving two collaborative research projects in which they participated. The projects were designed to foster engagement of youth in civic life through social research and to raise awareness of social inequality and injustice. The authors critically examine various phases of research with a particular focus on the following challenges: recruitment and attendance issues, development, language and methods issues, and the university and funding agency-driven push for a “product.” The authors point out the strengths and weaknesses of the collaborative approach and problematize issues not visible in the final research reports. Finally, strategies for enhancing the quality of the collaborative research involving youth are proposed.
 
Article
This article examines my own becoming as Elisabeth and as a researcher. It is about working as a support worker, coaching teams that are trying to realize inclusive education for a child, and my PhD process, which relies on these practices. My intention here is to unfold several aspects, blockages, possibilities, and tensions that can make sense of my messy struggle. The never-ending learning through working with people, listening to their stories, and taking responsibility are important ingredients of my engagement. It is necessary to provide insights and justify my multiple positions to avoid falling into a narcissistic trap. In doing so, I will seek help from Levinas and in concepts of Deleuze and Guattari to (re-)construct my own understanding.
 
Article
In the field of education, critical theorists, critical pedagogues, and critical race theorists call for academics to engage in activist academic work to promote the social transformation of the material conditions created by racism and other forms of oppression. This article is a response to this call for academics, particularly those in the field of education, to confront inequities resulting from intersecting oppressions such as heterosexism, racism, and sexism as well as to take action to create a more socially just world. Using two years of fieldnotes and interactive interviews, we present a critical co-constructed autoethnography that reviews literature on activist research, offers a critical analysis of our own efforts at activist research and provides a framework for reflecting on the impact of different types of activist research, particularly in the field of education.
 
Article
This play describes how the authors become aware of the complexities of resistance and performativity in the qualitative interview process. It also illustrates how this awareness and subsequent acquisition of knowledge changed and informed the way they viewed qualitative research interviewing. More specifically, performativity is put into work in this play through various theorists and examples from two qualitative research studies. As Cathrine and Vivian work together to understand resistance during the interviewing situations, with the assistance of a faculty member, Mirka, they discover theories and concepts that help them to better articulate their thoughts and describe their experiences in complex research situations. The authors learn that both performativity and resistance can challenge the normative nature of interviewing by opening up more complex knowledge construction and new spaces for interpretation.
 
Article
Using the "voices" of the "creators" of intertextualized sport, this article will demonstrate how sport is inextricably linked with performance. As well, an exegesis of the modernist and postmodernist frameworks of contemporary sport will show how many sports have evolved from grass roots to Goffman’s "framed" responses to the cult of celebrity and attempts to attain immortality and how these various responses to the need for human movement create dense archipelagoes of multifaceted cultural formations.
 
Article
Contemporary curriculum theorists conceptualize curriculum, schooling, and the teacher as sites of discursive production and as dwelling places for theory. Drawing on memory work around childhood report cards, this article uses commonplace artifacts to reassemble autoethnographic memory. In sifting through memories and artifacts, the author combines notions of archaeology and bricolage with writing as inquiry, proposing art·I/f/act·ology as research method. This approach to autoethnographic research is conceptualized as a way to blend art and reflective practice, generating alternate ways of understanding curriculum as lived.
 
Article
The last four decades have seen a reflexive turn in the qualitative social sciences, an increased self-consciousness about the culturally contingent nature of our methods of representing human experience. This has given rise to a wave of experimentation in social science writing. Scholars have sought to develop research that does not just describe the object of study but also deliberately transforms the subject of the reader. In recent years, however, there is a growing sentiment that the obduracy of social reality seems to have been underemphasized in much of this experimentation. This article examines the inquiry methods of turn-of-the-century social theorist and settlement house founder, Jane Addams. The paper identifies themes in Addams’s approach to inquiry that was ahead of her time and relevant to this contemporary discussion. The paper argues that Addams has much to offer as an effort to develop a reflexively realist approach to social science inquiry.
 
Article
This article explores the negotiation of a father–son relationship in the context of addiction, as conveyed from the vantage point of the relationship the author maintains with his father. The author conveys narrative fragments to explore a range of facets of the relationship and to illustrate how relationships of this kind often resist easy answers. Indeed, they are multifaceted interactional processes confounded by the powerful grip of history and emotion. In seeking a clearer understanding of the complexities of the father–son relationship within addiction, the author aims for a fuller understanding of the difficulties that motivate and complicate his own recovery.
 
Article
How do we construe and re:construe the (archi)textures of (written) life? What is belonging when identities are temporal and where naming remains elusive or unknown? This article plays writing collaborative writing, deconstructing textual hierarchies between the “main” text body and footnoted text as a means of interrogating ways identities are written/performed. It is inspired by correspondences between the authors, generated in relation to three previous works published in Qualitative Inquiry, James Haywood Rolling, Jr.’s “Messing Around with Identity Constructs: Pursuing a Poststructuralist and Poetic Aesthetic,” “Searching Self-image: Identities to be Self-evident,” and Lace Marie Brogden’s “Not Quite Acceptable: Re:Reading my Father in Qualitative Inquiry.” We share correspondences between academics, using spaces created in writing “between friends” while constantly becoming through the re:writing of our identities from no fixed address
 
Article
African Americans participate in advance care planning (ACP) less often and are more likely to opt for life sustaining treatment than non-Hispanic whites. Although prior quantitative and qualitative work has examined the perspectives and attitudes of African Americans, the voices of those who are most likely to confront situations requiring health care decision making—seriously ill African American elders—have not been well depicted. This study utilized literary representations, in the form of found data poetry, to further examine qualitative data from community dwelling, African American elders who were seriously ill. Found data poetry seeks to capture the participant’s voice intact, in an effort to better represent the individual. Reexamining the data yielded 9 found data poems that represented the voice of the participants and expressed strong feelings regarding ACP.
 
Article
This article is about the ways in which a dominant “aesthetic of objectivity” (Denzin, 2003, p. 73) pervades much contemporary performance ethnography and scholarly performance text, subverting many scholars’ stated desires to use aesthetic forms to critique hegemonic discourses and democratize scholarship. First, I will define the dominant “aesthetic of objectivity” as it applies to performance ethnography and performance texts and trace its origins to mainstream documentary theatre performances. I will then examine how these conventions play out in an example of an explicitly scholarly performance project, and argue the significance of liveness in the scholarly performance act. Finally, I will offer a few examples of arts-based research performance projects operating in alternate aesthetic paradigms rupturing the “aesthetic of objectivity” and offer recommendations and further questions for arts-based researchers and scholars interested in experimenting with performance forms.
 
Hall and visitor book (left, near bottom)
Inscriptions: Traces
(Un)observed?: Researcher
Documenting 2
Twofold embodied: Visitors' and researcher' traces
Article
The author offers a reflexive recount of an ethnography conducted at a tourist heritage site. Inspired by critical writings on the aesthetics of (social) scientific practices and texts, the author examines ethnographic practices that take place in the conjoined coercive contexts of tourism and national commemoration. A number of affinities between ethnographic, touristic, and commemoration practices are highlighted, and so are the epistemologies on which they rest and types of knowledge(s) that they help produce. These affinities include the role of authenticity and unmediated encounters, collecting and documenting practices, and lastly practices involved in presentation of artifacts (data vs. souvenirs). The narrative account/recount that the author offers involves visual images, and an examination of the technologies that produce and process them. These present the centrality if visuality in both contexts of tourism (photography, gaze, seeing) and contemporary ethnographic practices and the ways that visual images tell and conceal stories concerning the production of knowledge in social science research.
 
Article
This article brings psychosocial methods into conversation with methodological and ethical debates arising from the reuse of qualitative research material, and with issues of ethnographic practice. Our empirical grounding came from the psychosocial technique of reading research texts aloud in a group, listening in an affectively attuned way, and sharing our responses. The texts we revisited—infant observation notes of interactions between a young mother and her baby—were originally gathered for the Becoming a Mother project. We identified affectively dense and compelling episodes in the data and, as we detail with examples, examined the textual sources of the experienced meanings and affects that these events evoked in group members. We discuss the epistemological and ethical complexities and challenges of this approach to the archiving and reuse of qualitative empirical material and show how the process of slow, affectively attuned reading of field notes and interviews may enrich qualitative research practices.
 
Article
The recognition of his deceased father in an old war-time picture sets in play for the writer the undoing of the self through the temporal and fluid reterritorialization of the space historically delineated, identified, and owned by the collective signifier “father and son.” Aware of living in and contributing to the crisis of representation and instigated by the event of revelation, the writing attempts to show how this signifier is placed under erasure, how “father and son” becomes other, how previous resistances to reflexivity are challenged, and how, through a praxis of differentiation, a delirious freeing of the self is seen to emerge.
 
Article
This article recounts what happens when an increasingly commonplace technology such as the smartphone is mobilized in ethnographic fieldwork practice, investigating the particular research-related affects and intimacies that are produced by/in this sociotechnical assemblage. I start with a brief account of my research project, after which I discuss the ways in which my smartphone has informed and modulated the different components of my fieldwork, conceived as a heterogeneous practice of logistical and affective labor. In the last two sections, I reflect on the methodological consequences of incorporating a smartphone into ethnographic research and address the question of how this practice prompts a reconsideration of the relation between knowledge production, research intimacies, and mobile technology.
 
Article
This article emanates from an in-depth qualitative study that examined ideological beliefs among Indigenous parents regarding school desegregation and school “choice” policies in South Africa. The author discusses the politics of qualitative research design and methodology along two primary dimensions: decolonizing research and the importance of Indigenous languages in research. First, the author argues that the language used in qualitative interviews should be situated within the larger sociocultural context of the inquiry in order to affirm and reinforce cultural identities of research participants, not just of the researcher. Second, the author contends that decolonizing approaches in research interrupt and interrogate colonial tendencies at multiple levels, thereby challenging traditional ways of conducting qualitative research. Following on Smith, and Mutua and Swadener, and Denzin, Lincoln, and Smith, and others, the author argues that decolonizing approaches and culturally affirming linguistic choices in research have the potential to return marginalized epistemologies to the center.
 
Article
These two reflective poems emerged from my research on home-based care volunteers caring for terminally ill AIDS patients in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. I found myself overwhelmed by the emancipation offered by qualitative research, particularly when compared with the strict confines of the positivist paradigm that dominates clinical research and practice. My being “left to my own devices” was at once liberating and daunting. Later, when interviewing home-based care volunteers who care for people living with HIV/AIDS, I felt overwhelmed again, this time in a different way. The caregivers were like me in uncharted territory, their work neglected in government policy and practice. The poems granted me an avenue for reflection that helped me assimilate the diversity of experience and emotion with which I was confronted. Giving all of it space in the form of these poems allowed me to get on with the job of research.
 
Article
Psychoanalysis has become increasingly concerned with issues of race and class and the ways in which they play themselves out in the therapy room. Alongside other psychosocial scholars concerned with the interleaving of the self and other, the psychological and the social, I argue that psychoanalysis is a valuable resource, particularly, as demonstrated in this article, for thinking through how we might theorize and “read” race and class in interview contexts when conducting qualitative research. Interview moments between myself, the researcher—a White, middle-class, educated, South African woman—and the researched—Black, working-class, lesser educated, South African men—are subjected to a psychosocial reading drawing specifically on Lacanian psychoanalysis which emphasizes a critical, tentative approach that aims to disrupt understanding.
 
Article
In this poem, I theorize a bebop methodology: an approach to research in communities of African descent that is simultaneously creative, improvisational, and spontaneous while reflecting dexterity, virtuosity, and brilliance. Research methods should be informed by the communities they’re intended to serve. As both the observer and the observed, I understand Diasporan Black communities as being modern colonies suffering economic, social, political, and cultural oppression. However, these homeplaces, as hooks calls them, are not without genius, beauty, and pockets of self-determining autonomy. Bebop emerged as a radical, transformative aesthetic during World War II. Through their instruments, men like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie channeled the soul-sounds of people longing to be free. A bebop methodology reverberates with the forward-leaning, socially just bent in the “Ninth Moment” (Denzin and Lincoln, 2006) of qualitative research. This work is about the poetics of research, the poetics of struggle, and the politics of hope.
 
Article
This autoethnography explores West African and French identity in the Southern United States. Seven short poems trace back a journey from West Africa and France to the American South and flesh out the contours of a transient and suspended self. A brown immigrant woman, my text reconstructs the embodied experience of racism and sexism in a small conservative community. Poetic prose helps to capture the elusive nature of a narrative, best expressed through fragmentary impressions. These bits written in half-dream state bring to life the folding and unfolding of identity/ies in a foreign land. They also offer a political and cultural reflection on racism, sexism, and immigration. Finally, because they open many windows to other narratives, they shed light on intertextuality in autoethnographic practice, through what I call the “Russian Dolls” metaphor.
 
Article
How do articles get written in ways that lead them to keep getting cited decades later—even when they are bad or mediocre articles that do not merit re-reading? The question may seem trivial, but answering it requires us to rethink research practice and methods: Instead of particular projects and studies, or the work of individual researchers (how one conducts interviews, writes, etc.), methodology becomes a problem of assembling textlines, hooking up with viable ones, connecting some, cutting others, enfolding or highlighting particular threads, redirecting others across disciplines, and eventually putting texts in the stream, sending them downline into an afterlife in other researchers’ textwork. The present article, based on archival research, uses a detailed case study of the production and subsequent transformation and citation of an article on “teachers’ beliefs” to develop these ideas and consider the methodological implications of attending to textlines and textual afterlives.
 
Article
This piece examines the sequelae of divorce and the intersection of private loneliness and public belonging. It considers the impact of place on one’s sense of identity.
 
Article
A disorganized narrative in both form and content, this article presents the storying and restorying of distant witness experience in the wake of recent natural disaster. A layered, fractured text; the writing blurs the lines between sense and nonsense making, self and other. Presenting the notion of verbal rumination as a theoretical method: This repetitive, ruminative narrative plays with the warm fuzzy and sometimes cold and prickly consequences of interpersonal storying. The resultant piece reflects a psychography of sorts, and seeks to make sense of the nonsensical, to organize the disorganized, to reconcile the irreconcilable. As with all natural disasters, it is a work in progress. My own little earthquake.
 
Article
This article illustrates the becoming of one conference paper. The thought of Deleuze and Guattari (1980/1987) on rhizomes enables us to think of a paper, an article, of thinking and writing as always becoming, in the middle, in between, as an assemblage and a multiplicity. This article (undone) consists of three texts, the first being the paper read at the 7th International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI), the second, the paper written before traveling to the conference, and the last, a text written after the conference. The texts show a work in the making (Lather, 2007), while revealing some (n-1, writing on multiple dimensions, though never on all) lines of reading, thinking, and writing. Also the author’s nomadic, questioning, and hesitant mode of proceeding with her research, coming to (not-)knowing, is exemplified and performed. Simultaneously, this writing also deconstructs (and goes beyond) certain traditional scholarly reading, citing, writing, and arguing practices.
 
Article
From early 1980s, a large body of feminist literature has been attempting to account for and explain the particular mix of fragmented speech and multiple silences characteristic of interviews with subaltern subjects.The authors offer an epistemological challenge to these orthodoxies on two levels. First, the authors challenge the very premise that views the accounts produced by marginalized research participants as failures that need to be overcome through methodological strategies, proposing instead to understand silence and fragmentation as part of the process through which they develop their sense of self and agency. Second, the authors insist that both the micro interview setting and the macro, sociohistorical contexts must be considered and analyzed within the same framework that positions the research participant at the center. The authors illustrate these arguments through the case study of multiply marginalized Jewish women who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s from North Africa and Asia.
 
Article
The agonistic approach—aimed at embracing opposing perspectives as part of a qualitative research process and acknowledging that process as fundamentally political—sheds light on both the construction of and the resistance to research identities. This approach involves reflexively embedding interview situations into the ethnographic context as a tool for analyzing how this context conditions and limits positions for research participants, thereby setting the stage for potential agonisms between the researcher and field participants. The author—an ethnic Danish researcher—uses the agonistic approach to examine the identity construction problems and resistance dynamics in interviews with ethnic minority boys at a crime-preventive recreation centre. Applying an agonistic analysis to apparently “uninformative” interview data not only creates insight into local discursive resources, practices, cultural understandings, and power relations but also transforms what initially appears to constitute methodological problems—in terms of “data gaps” from participant resistance—into important, substantial empirical material.
 
Article
Through a mini-educational ethnography of a queer cultural center at a midsized, Western U.S. university, I explored the center’s cultural importance on the college campus and in its surrounding community. During the course of this study, one of my gay male participants, an undergraduate student leader of the center, committed suicide. While interviewing several participants (three gay males and one lesbian), I inquired into their feelings about suicide in the gay community in general and into the suicide of the center’s leader in particular. The words of four of my participants are captured in this poem.
 
Top-cited authors
Bent Flyvbjerg
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Susan Finley
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