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Qualitative Communication Research Methods

Qualitative Communication Research Methods

Fourth Edition

January 2018 | 520 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“This is the best qualitative methods book I’ve seen, especially among books aimed at undergraduate audiences.”
—Michael Irvin Arrington, Indiana State University

Qualitative Communication Research Methods, Fourth Edition introduces readers to qualitative research in speech and mass communication. Award-winning scholars and authors Thomas R. Lindlof and Bryan C. Taylor guide readers through every step of the qualitative process, from developing research topics and questions through writing a final report. Readers are given numerous examples of work in the field to illustrate how studies are designed, carried out, written, evaluated, and related to theory. In addition to covering the theories and methods currently used in qualitative communication research, the authors also discuss important trends influencing the future of that research, helping readers make informed judgments about the significance and consequences of recent trends.

New to the Fourth Edition:
  • A new chapter titled “The Diversity of Qualitative Research in Communication Subfields” provides readers with a complete guide to the field’s distinctive subfields and enables readers to identify the research agenda that best represents their own interests. Two rising subfields – Political Communication and Communication Activism – were added, resulting in thirteen subfields covered.  
  • Two major phases of data analysis have been split into separate chapters, enabling readers to concentrate on the initial steps of analysis before moving on to the interpretation phase of analysis. 
  • Discussions of important intellectual and institutional trends currently reshaping the landscape of qualitative research, including Materialist Theory, Big Data, and Open-Access publishing, provide readers with cutting-edge knowledge and skills that affect what they study and how they study it.
  • An analysis of new developments in media and technology shows readers how social media networks and other digital platforms are not only topics of research, but also the means for collecting and analyzing data. 


About the Authors
Chapter 1. Introduction to Qualitative Communication Research
Rounding the (Paradigm) Bases: A Brief History of Qualitative Communication Research

Covering New Material(ism), Going Big: Two Trends in Qualitative Communication Research



Chapter 2. The Diversity of Qualitative Research in Communication Subfields
Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Subfields, Thirteen Stories of Qualitative Communication Research



Chapter 3. Theoretical Traditions and Qualitative Communication Research
Introduction: “What Would You Like on Your Sandwich?”

The Phenomenological Tradition

The Sociocultural Tradition

Critical Theories



Chapter 4. Design I: Planning Research Projects

“My City, My Society, and My Life”: Renee’s Story

Sources of Research Ideas

Evaluating the Scene



Chapter 5. Design II: Implementing Research Projects

Negotiating Access

Exploratory and Mixed Methods


Human Subject Protections

The Research Proposal



Chapter 6. Producing Data I: Participation, Observation, and Recording Communication
Introduction: Welcome to Fieldwork

Ethnography and Participant Observation

Successful Participant Observation

Adapting Roles

Tactical Observing

Writing Fieldnotes



Chapter 7. Producing Data II: Qualitative Interviewing

Purposes of the Qualitative Interview

Types of Interviews in Communication Research

Interviewing Practices

Question Design and Use

Transcribing Interviews



Chapter 8. Producing Data III: Studying Materiality

Material Culture




Chapter 9. Sensemaking I: Analyzing, Coding, and Managing Data

Qualitative Data Analysis: An Overview

In-Process Writing

Categories and Codes

Grounded Theory

Coding Examples

Leaving the Field

Tools for Analysis



Chapter 10. Sensemaking II: Creating, Evaluating, and Enhancing Interpretations of Data

Creating Interpretations

Evaluating Interpretations

Enhancing Interpretations



Chapter 11. Writing, Authoring, and Publishing
Introduction: Going Public

The Crisis of Representation

After the Fall: Reading and Writing Qualitative Research

Institutional Contexts of Qualitative Writing

The Craft of Qualitative Writing: Three Types of Formats and Their Related Strategies

Some Final Thoughts on Writing


Author Index
Subject Index

“This is the best qualitative methods book I’ve seen, especially among books aimed at undergraduate audiences.”

Michael Irvin Arrington
Indiana State University

“The book is exceptionally well written and easy to read even for students who know nothing about research methods.”

Martina Topic
Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK

“The engaging and accessible (generally) nature of writing is excellent and provides good inspiration and a good foundation to build on in terms of introductions to key steps and dimensions in qualitative research. The referencing of examples from ‘real’ research is attractive to lecturers and students alike and makes the introduction to qualitative research come alive.” 

Anders Hansen
University of Leicester, UK

“An insightful and thoroughly researched book that will be extremely helpful for students aiming to engage with qualitative research at a deeper level.”

Sylvie Magerstädt
University of Hertfordshire

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