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Engaging Crystallization in Qualitative Research

Engaging Crystallization in Qualitative Research
An Introduction

August 2008 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Drawing upon her multi-award-winning research and book using crystallization, author Laura Ellingson presents the first-ever step-by-step guide to employing this cutting-edge methodology.

Exploring Crystallization in Qualitative Research provides: thorough grounding in the field of qualitative research; answers to the relevant epistemological questions that arise when crossing inscribed methodological boundaries; detailed steps for design and planning; explication of the process of creating a multi-genre text and/or series of texts; suggestions for improving both social science and creative analytic writing; and strategies for targeting publication outlets.

While other books have explained how to write the "new ethnography" and autoethnography, and still others have described how to conduct grounded theory in more traditional, social constructionist, and postmodern, frameworks, this is the first work to date that has bridged these worlds in a "how to" book that celebrates each on its own terms, acknowledges inherent limitations of any genre, and explains how to integrate them through crystallization.

1. Introduction to Crystallization
Constructing Crystallization

Considering Genres

Resisting Dichotomies: A Continuum of Qualitative Methods

Principles of Crystallization

Facets of the Crystal: Types of Crystallization

Strengths of Crystallization

Limitations of Crystallization

Ethnographic Exemplars

Organization of This Book

Conclusion: Frequently Asked Questions About Crystallization

Interlude: Introducing the Author

2. Ethics and Epistemology: Assumptions Underlying Crystallization
What Is Epistemology and Why Does It Matter in Crystallization?

Making Knowledge: An Epistemological Basis for Crystallization

Voicing Other and Self: Ethics of Representation

First Do No Harm: Some Ethical Cautions

Strategies for Ethical Decision Making in Crystallization


Interlude: The Limits of Genre--An Exercise About Ethics and the Construction of Claims

3. Illuminating Options for Analysis and Representation Across the Continuum
Traditional Forms of Analysis

Same Old, Same Old: The Value of Traditional Qualitative Writing

Aesthetics and Analysis: Hybrids of Art and Science

Aesthetic Possibilities: Creative Analytic Practices


Interlude: Resisting Dichotomy, Embracing Continuum

4. Strategies for Design: Putting Crystallization Into Practice

Weighing Your Options

Re/considering the Role of Theory

Decide on a Design


Interlude: Beware the Law of the Hammer

5. Bringing It All Together: Integrated Crystallization
Creating a Coherent Multigenre Text

Blending Genres and Blurring Boundaries: Woven Crystallization

Woven Crystallization Exemplars

Sharpening Edges and Separating Spaces: Patched Crystallization

Patched Crystallization Exemplars

Issues in Constructing Integrated Crystallization

Interlude: Quilting as Activism

6. All Apart: Dendritic Crystallization
Dendritic Practices

Benefits of Dendritic Crystallization

Dispersing Crystallized Findings

A Dendritic Exemplar

But Is This Really Crystallization?

Interlude: Coincidence, Synchronicity, and Putting It Out to the Universe

7. Writing Across the Continuum
Evaluating Writing and Representation

Improving your Process

Writing Well

Bag of Tricks


Interlude: Representing Difference

Writing Resources

8. Publishing and Promoting Crystallization
Lessons of Crystallization

Call to Action: Employing Crystallization to Promote Social Justice

Getting the World Out: Pursuing Publication

Justifying Your Work

Enclosing Wild Power: A Conclusion/Invitation

Interlude: When Your Work Is Rejected


"[This] book emphasizes effective communication and how to articulate complex information to an audience. Although the book is intended primarily for qualitative researchers, I believe it may be an equally important work for quantitative researchers. In reading this book, I have gained a deeper appreciation for qualitative research in general and a better understanding of how different methods can be applied toward understanding truth."

Karl N. Kelley
North Central College, Naperville

"The book's key strength is its informed style and uplifting optimism about the future not only of qualitative research but of research at large...the book offers many ideas for researchers to play with and is a thorough and illuminating introduction to the theories, procedures, and politics of qualitative inquiry and publishing."

Jimmie Manning
Northern Kentucky University
The Southern Communication Journal

Did not meet the needs for dissertation research design, however I am considering the book for my advanced qualitative methods course.

Patrick Jenlink
Secondary Leadership Educ Dept, Stephen F Austin State University
May 11, 2013

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