Understanding and critiquing qualitative research papers lee p

Case study research is the most common qualitative method used in information systems Orlikowski and Baroudi, ; Alavi and Carlson, Although there are numerous definitions, Yin defines the scope of a case study as follows:.

Clearly, the case study research method is particularly well-suited to IS research, since the object of our discipline is the study of information systems in organizations, and "interest has shifted to organizational rather than technical issues" Benbasat et al. Case study research can be positivist, interpretive, or critical, depending upon the underlying philosophical assumptions of the researcher for a fuller discussion, see the section of Philosophical Perspectives above.

Yin and Benbasat et al. After early ground-breaking work by Wynn , Suchman and Zuboff , ethnography has now become more widely used in the study of information systems in organizations, from the study of the development of information systems Hughes et. Ethnography has also been discussed as a method whereby multiple perspectives can be incorporated in systems design Holzblatt and Beyer, and as a general approach to the wide range of possible studies relating to the investigation of information systems Pettigrew, In the area of the design and evaluation of information systems, some very interesting work is taking place in a collaborative fashion between ethnographers on the one hand, and designers, IS professionals, computer scientists and engineers on the other.

The Panel Session was chaired by Allen S. Myers as panelists. The presentation on the subject of Judging Ethnographic Manuscripts is available. Grounded theory is a research method that seeks to develop theory that is grounded in data systematically gathered and analyzed. According to Martin and Turner , grounded theory is "an inductive, theory discovery methodology that allows the researcher to develop a theoretical account of the general features of a topic while simultaneously grounding the account in empirical observations or data. Grounded theory approaches are becoming increasingly common in the IS research literature because the method is extremely useful in developing context-based, process-oriented descriptions and explanations of the phenomenon see, for example, Orlikowski, Although there are many different modes of analysis in qualitative research, just three approaches or modes of analysis will be discussed here: hermeneutics, semiotics, and approaches which focus on narrative and metaphor.

It could be argued that grounded theory is also a mode of analysis, but since grounded theory has been discussed earlier, that discussion will not be repeated here. Hermeneutics can be treated as both an underlying philosophy and a specific mode of analysis Bleicher, As a philosophical approach to human understanding, it provides the philosophical grounding for interpretivism see the discussion on Philosophical Perspectives above. As a mode of analysis, it suggests a way of understanding textual data.

The following discussion is concerned with using hermeneutics as a specific mode of analysis. Hermeneutics is primarily concerned with the meaning of a text or text-analogue an example of a text-analogue is an organization, which the researcher comes to understand through oral or written text. The basic question in hermeneutics is: what is the meaning of this text? Radnitzky , p.

Hayter, Mark-Writing Qualitative Research Papers for International, Peer Review Journals

Taylor says that. The idea of a hermeneutic circle refers to the dialectic between the understanding of the text as a whole and the interpretation of its parts, in which descriptions are guided by anticipated explanations Gadamer , p. It follows from this that we have an expectation of meaning from the context of what has gone before. The movement of understanding "is constantly from the whole to the part and back to the whole" ibid, p.

As Gadamer explains, "It is a circular relationship. The anticipation of meaning in which the whole is envisaged becomes explicit understanding in that the parts, that are determined by the whole, themselves also determine this whole. There are different forms of hermeneutic analysis, from "pure" hermeneutics through to "critical" hermeneutics, however a discussion of these different forms is beyond the scope of this section.

For a more in-depth discussion, see Bleicher , Palmer , and Thompson If hermeneutic analysis is used in an information systems study, the object of the interpretive effort becomes one of attempting to make sense of the organization as a text-analogue. In an organization, people e.

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The aim of the hermeneutic analysis becomes one of trying to make sense of the whole, and the relationship between people, the organization, and information technology. Good examples of research articles in IS which explicitly use hermeneutics are those by Boland , Lee , and Myers References on Interpretive Research. Like hermeneutics, semiotics can be treated as both an underlying philosophy and a specific mode of analysis. The following discussion concerns using semiotics as a mode of analysis. Semiotics is primarily concerned with the meaning of signs and symbols in language.

The importance of an idea is revealed in the frequency with which it appears in the text.

polly lee understanding critiquing qualitative research papers

One form of semiotics is "content analysis. Another form of semiotics is "conversation analysis. A third form of semiotics is "discourse analysis. The Panel Session was chaired by Michael D. Myers, with Heinz K. Klein, Duane Truex and Eleanor Wynn as panelists.

Understanding And Critiquing Qualitative Research Papers Lee

A brief introduction to the use of semiotics in information systems is the book by Liebenau Wynn's paper is a good example of the use of conversation analysis in information systems, while Klein and Truex's paper is a good example of the use of discourse analysis in IS.

Narrative is defined by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as a "tale, story, recital of facts, especially story told in the first person. Metaphor is the application of a name or descriptive term or phrase to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable e. Narrative and metaphor have long been key terms in literary discussion and analysis.

In recent years there has been increasing recognition of the role they play in all types of thinking and social practice. Scholars in many disciplines have looked at areas such as metaphor and symbolism in indigenous cultures, oral narrative, narrative and metaphor in organizations, metaphor and medicine, metaphor and psychiatry etc. In IS the focus has mostly been on understanding language, communication and meaning among systems developers and organizational members. In recent years narrative, metaphor and symbolic analysis has become a regular theme in the IFIP 8.

The following are links to resources on the Internet regarding software tools for qualitative researchers:. Most IS journals now accept qualitative research. The following journals tend to favor it:. You are most welcome to contribute links to qualitative research material. Additionally, I am soliciting short abstracts of items in the references pages maximum 50 words.


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