Call for Papers, Special Issue of The Qualitative Report
“Diverse Approaches to Qualitative Data Analysis for Applied Research”
Guest Editors: Noah Goodman (Center for Children & Technology), Jessica Nina Lester (Indiana University) & Michelle O’Reilly (University of Leicester)
The range of qualitative methodologies and approaches is vast, affording researchers diverse ways to engage in designing and conceptualizing qualitative research studies, making sense of data, and reporting findings. It can therefore be a challenging endeavor for researchers to decide which approach is most appropriate to achieve a project’s goals, aims and context to address the research question and problem posed. This is especially important for researchers in applied fields, as they need to not only consider the analytic value and produce analyses that are intelligible to other researchers, but also they need to reach diverse audiences of practitioners and policy makers, illustrating the practical value and relevance of the work. Authors included in this special issue will use a particular qualitative approach to analyze a common set of data with the goal of generating a ‘protocol’ or ‘useable map’ that can help researchers—particularly those conducting applied research—decide which approach is right for them and what is the most appropriate way of addressing the research problem at hand.
The literature surrounding social science research has offered definitional distinctions between ‘applied’ and ‘basic’ research (e.g., Bickman & Rog, 20091; Lester & O’Reilly, 20192), relatively little writing has focused exclusively on the many qualitative analytic approaches that might be leveraged by applied researchers. While recognizing that applied research is a difficult (and perhaps even arbitrary) practice to define, we view it as being focused on developing or improving “our understanding of a “problem,” with the intent of contributing to the solution of that problem” (Bickman & Rog, p. x). This kind of research can bring with it a sense of immediacy and/or even involve the study of a “persistent, societal problem” (Bikman & Rog, p. x). Applied researchers often find themselves working in varying contexts, ranging from academic institutions to research firms. Qualitative methods are particularly useful to help applied researchers describe how, why, and under what circumstances programs, products, and tools can be used to successfully achieve their goals. As such, there is a growing need for pedagogical and practical tools related to how to analyze qualitative data in meaningful and productive ways when carrying out applied research. There is a plethora of qualitative analytic approaches that might serve to support and even expand the work of applied researchers, including different approaches to thematic analysis, as well as many other perhaps lesser known analytic approaches.
Thus, by allowing readers to compare analyses, and the findings they produce, from one common set of data, this special issue aims to provide an up-to-date collection of articles that provide cutting-edge perspectives on qualitative analytic approaches for engaging in applied research. We aim for the articles included here to be useful for early-career researchers who are finding their way through the vast landscape of qualitative methods, as well as applied researchers interested in exploring how different approaches might provide value to a given project.
Each of the contributing authors will be given access to a shared dataset, which was secured from Syracuse University’s Qualitative Data Repository. This data is from a research study exploring “postnatal care referral behavior by TBAs (Traditional Birth Attendants) in Nigeria, including the perceived factors that may deter or promote referrals to skilled health workers.” The data set consists of transcripts from three focus groups—one with hospital health care workers, another with traditional birth attendants, and a third with TBA delivery clients. The contributing authors are encouraged to focus less on the substantive qualities of their analysis, but rather unearth the analytical contributions and insights that might be taken up by applied researchers less familiar with a broad array of qualitative analysis approaches. Each author will: 1) introduce their specific analytic perspective by highlighting its philosophical understandings and assumptions; 2) share a detailed process through which they analyzed the common dataset (offering a map or protocol for others to study/follow); 3) share a set of findings from the analysis, which illustrate the ways in which this approach represents findings; 4) reflect on the unique value they believe the analytic approach brought to the analysis—particularly in relation to engaging in applied research practices; 5) discuss how their use of a given analytic approach may have been different had they been working with primary data (rather than secondary).
Bickman, L., & Rog, D. J. (Eds.). (2008). The SAGE handbook of applied social research methods. SAGE publications.
Lester, J. N., & O'Reilly, M. (2018). Applied conversation analysis: Social interaction in institutional settings. SAGE Publications.
500-word abstract due September 15, 2019
Selected authors invited to contribute full article October 1, 2019
Full article due for peer review March 1, 2020
Requests for revisions sent to authors April 30, 2020
Final, revised manuscripts due June 15, 2020
Publish special issue August 15, 2020
Full manuscripts are due for initial, editorial review on March 1, 2020 and should be no longer than 30 double spaced pages (including references but excluding title page and abstract). All articles will undergo a peer and editorial review process.
Please submit 500-word abstract for consideration no later than September 15, 2019 to Jessica Nina Lester at firstname.lastname@example.org.