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Disrupting Qualitative Inquiry

Possibilities and Tensions in Educational Research


Edited By Ruth Nicole Brown, Rozana Carducci and Candace R. Kuby

Disrupting Qualitative Inquiry is an edited volume that examines the possibilities and tensions encountered by scholars who adopt disruptive qualitative approaches to the study of educational contexts, issues, and phenomena. It presents a collection of innovative and intellectually stimulating chapters which illustrate the potential for disruptive qualitative research perspectives to advance social justice aims omnipresent in educational policy and practice dialogues. The book defines «disruptive» qualitative methodologies and methods in educational research as processes of inquiry which seek to:
1) Disrupt traditional notions of research roles and relationships
2) Disrupt dominant approaches to the collection and analysis of data
3) Disrupt traditional notions of representing and disseminating research findings
4) Disrupt rigid epistemological and methodological boundaries
5) Disrupt disciplinarily boundaries and assumptive frameworks of how to do educational research
Scholars and graduate students interested in disrupting traditional approaches to the study of education will find this book of tremendous value. Given the inclusion of both research examples and reflective narratives, this book is an ideal text for adoption in introductory research design seminars as well as advanced courses devoted to theoretical and practical applications of qualitative and interpretive methodologies.
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The best method to use is the one that answers the research question. I was taught this as a graduate student and now, as a professor, I teach the same lesson to my students. It succinctly ends unproductive conversations about shopping for “methods” like one does for clothes. Should I go with what is trendy? Designer? Second-hand? Clearance? Which method will cost me less (time, stress, coursework), I am often asked? Methods are controversial; sometimes methods are rendered inconsequential, taught strictly within a disciplinary tradition, and/or chosen according to market demand. Some methods are stereotyped as threatening, and even if it is the best method for the question, students may resist because of what they’ve heard about a “qualitative” or “quantitative” project. Fear looms large, and it shows up in unexpected ways—even in conversations about methods.


As the opening reflection illustrates, decisions concerning the selection of research methodologies and methods remain a contested terrain, studded with assumptions, ideologies, and fears regarding the proper and/or most efficient way to conduct research. It is now acknowledged (at least by researchers anchored in critical, feminist, and postmodern schools of thought) that the process of inquiry is not a neutral activity (Brown & Strega, 2005); it is a highly political endeavor with significant implications for the researcher as well as the individuals and contexts that serve as the focus of study....

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