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An Introduction to Qualitative Research
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An Introduction to Qualitative Research
Learning in the Field

Fourth Edition


April 2016 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The updated Fourth Edition of Rossman and Rallis’s popular introductory text leads the new researcher into the field by explaining the core concepts through theory, research, and applied examples. Woven into the chapters are three themes that are the heart of the book: first, research is about learning; second, research can and should be useful; and finally, a researcher should practice the highest ethical standards to ensure that a study is trustworthy. The Fourth Edition includes an elaborate discussion of systematic inquiry as well as a nuanced discussion of developing a conceptual framework. 

Available with Perusall—an eBook that makes it easier to prepare for class
Perusall is an award-winning eBook platform featuring social annotation tools that allow students and instructors to collaboratively mark up and discuss their SAGE textbook. Backed by research and supported by technological innovations developed at Harvard University, this process of learning through collaborative annotation keeps your students engaged and makes teaching easier and more effective. Learn more.
 
1. Qualitative Research as Learning
Doing Qualitative Research: Tales of Three Characters

 
Defining Qualitative Research

 
Common Characteristics

 
Typical Purposes and Overall Approaches

 
The Characters' Choices

 
Ways of Using Research

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Overview of the Book

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
2. The Researcher as Learner
What is Learning?

 
The Reflexivity of Qualitative Research

 
Paradigms

 
Perspective in Practice

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
3. The Researcher as Competent and Ethical
What Does Trustworthiness Matter?

 
What Makes a Trustworthy Study?

 
Systematic Practice

 
Ethical Practice

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
4. Major Qualitative Research Genres
Choosing the Locus of Interest

 
Ethnographic Genres

 
Phenomenological Genres

 
Sociolinguist Genres

 
Case Studies

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
5. Conceptualizing and Planning the Research
Practical Considerations

 
What is a Research Proposal?

 
Conceptual Framework

 
Design and Methods

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
6. Entering the Field
Preparation

 
Intended Involvement

 
Approach and Negotiations

 
Expectations and Relationships

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
7. Gathering Data in the Field
Decisions About Gathering Data

 
Systematic Inquiry

 
Generic In-Depth Interviewing

 
Specialized In-Depth Interviewing

 
Special Considerations

 
Observing People, Actions, and Events

 
Studying Material Culture

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
8. Issues That Arise in the Field
How Do I Prepare to Gather Data?

 
How Can I Get Comfortable in the Field?

 
What are the Data?

 
How Do I Turn Sights, Sounds, and Objects Into Data?

 
Two Languages: Which Do I Use?

 
How Can I Change My Research Plan?

 
What Do I Reflect On?

 
How Do I Leave the Field?

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
9. Our Character's Data
Anthony's Data

 
Marla's Data

 
Ruth's Data

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
 
10. Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Analysis Happens

 
Generic Analysis

 
Writing In-Process Analytic Memos

 
Strategies for Analyzing Interview Data

 
Strategies for Analyzing Field Notes From Observations

 
Strategies for Analyzing Material Culture

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 
 
11. Our Characters' Analyses
Anthony's Analysis

 
Ruth's Analysis

 
Marla's Analysis

 
Dispositions and Skills

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
 
12. Presenting the Learnings
Presentation

 
Voice

 
An Example

 
Organizing the Report

 
Using the Dispositions and Skills to Generate Useful Knowledge

 
Activities for Your Community of Practice

 
Further Reading

 

Supplements

Instructor Teaching Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Carefully selected, web resources direct you to useful and current content, to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. 
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Carefully selected, web resources direct you to useful and current content, to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. 

“This book has all the resources you need to complete your own research and become a more skilled lifelong learner.”

Michael Quinn Patton
Utilization-Focused Evaluation

Rossman and Rallis build on their experience as researchers, teachers, and authors to update and improve what I think is simply the best available text for an introductory course on qualitative research methods.

Gerardo Blanco Ramirez
University of Massachusetts, Boston

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 6


For instructors

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SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.

With SAGE Research Methods, researchers can explore their chosen method across the depth and breadth of content, expanding or refining their search as needed; read online, print, or email full-text content; utilize suggested related methods and links to related authors from SAGE Research Methods' robust library and unique features; and even share their own collections of content through Methods Lists. SAGE Research Methods contains content from over 720 books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks, the entire “Little Green Book,” and "Little Blue Book” series, two Major Works collating a selection of journal articles, and specially commissioned videos.