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Research from a practitioner perspective

Introduction to Research from a Practitioner Perspective

Overview of contents
Practitioner Research: an introduction

References and bibliography

One potential danger in trying to bring research and practice together is that the 'researcher' voice will dominate and the 'practitioner' perspective will be underplayed. Here you will find a practitioner's views on the benefits of connecting research with practice. In a 'worst case scenario' researchers come to be criticised as seeming far removed from the realities of what goes on in practice, whereas practitioners can be criticised for being so bogged down in the swamp of what they're doing they fail to see the broader picture. Instead, of seeing research and practice as separate and mutually incomprehensible, a more enlightened stance brings the two together as part of making guidance more effective.

What's more, perhaps the researchers and practitioners are one and the same. Any committed practitioner will surely constantly review and evaluate what they do, and what is that if not research? Researchers too are perhaps unfairly maligned, their labours provide insight and context, and all these perspectives are needed if there is a serious intent to learn from experience and keep guidance from becoming stagnant. The whole ethos of this website is to enhance understanding and facilitate communication between reseach and practice as part of a process of cross-fertilisation between the two.

Research is not (should not be) something remote and distant, it can help address the questions and concerns faced by practitioners working on the front line of guidance. Furthermore, research does not denote only academic publications - although these are obviously important - it can encompass practitioner case studies and anecdote, evaluation reports and customer satisfaction surveys. Almost everyone involved in guidance is carrying out research at some level. However, perhaps there is a need to be smarter about how we capture and communicate those experiences. A little understanding of the research process might go a long way in enriching guidance practice, it could help formalise the investigations that go on all the time, and provide a framework for communicating findings more effectively. Only by knowing 'what is going on' is it possible to consider, what works, what doesnt and where guidance is (and should) be heading.

Relating research to what goes on in the 'real world' of practice is a constant challenge! Schön provides an illuminating (and memorable) image, when he refers to the problem of practitioners floundering in a 'swamp' of professional practice. Donald Schön famously contrasted the abstract world of universities with the world of the university trained working professional toiling in the 'swamp' of professional practice. In the 'swamp' of practice the theory and well-behaved problems of the discipline do not seem to fit the unruly world of practice found on a daily basis. Schön longed for a melding of the theory and abstraction with the knowledge gained through active practice, idealised in the 'reflective practitioner' and the process of action research which moves freely from experience to abstraction and back again in a real learning system.

One reason why Schön’s ideas are important in this context is because of his belief that the sum of what a professional knows is greater than the sum of what he or she can articulate or is aware of knowing and so there is a hidden dimension to practitioner competence. The practitioner reflects, sometimes intuitively, on what he or she is doing in practice. This can involve 'looking to our experiences, connecting with our feelings, and attending to our theories in use. It entails building new understandings to inform our actions in the situation that is unfolding.' This use of knowledge and understanding may also be related to the use of 'research in practice.' Schön (1983) examines nature of professional knowledge, the importance of contexts and reflection-in-action, and professional judgement:

'The practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation.' (Schön 1983, p. 68).

Schön criticises approaches to practice that are grounded in a technical rationality, where professional knowledge is seen as the application of a scientific approach. He believed this left no room for artistry; reflection in action; for dealing with those indeterminate zones of practice, where there is uncertainty, confusion and messiness where you don’t know what the problem is; and for situations in which there was conflict between different ends, means and values.

Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner. How professionals think in action, London: Temple Smith.

Schön, D. (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. This develops the thinking of the 1983 book and considers the implications for improving professional education.
There is also a very useful summary of Schon’s ideas available on the web by Mark Smith.

Smith, M. K. (2001) 'Donald Schön: learning, reflection and change', the encyclopedia of informal education.
Research in practice: Experiences, insights and interventions from the project Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education is an interesting example of 'Research in practice.' It draws on the experiences, insights and interventions from the ESRC TLRP project 'Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education' that was completed in 2005.

Full Reference:

Anderson, G., Barton, S., Blake, P., Blewett, K., Bloomer, M., Colley, H., Davies, J., Deacon, A., Diment, K., Edwards, M., Ferguson, E., Fisher, A., Gleeson, D., Hodkinson, P., James, D., Kinnear, D., Lawrence, J., Lukaszewicz, A., Maull, W., Oliver, S., Ottewill, P., Page, B., Perry, J., Postlethwaite, K., Rodbourne, K., Scaife, T., Tedder, M., Terry, A., Wahlberg, M., Watts, B., Wheeler, E. & Woodward, M. (2004) Research in Practice: Experiences, Insights and Interventions from the Project Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education, (London, Learning and Skills Research Centre).

The following sections offer you an introduction as to how you might think about research, together with an introductory set of references.


References and bibliography
If you want to follow up any of the references in this section, or are seeking some ideas for where to start with books relating to research methodology and method, this section provides details of possible texts. You are encouraged to add your own personal favourites to this reference list.

Practitioner Research: an introduction

This is intended as a starting point for practitioners thinking about undertaking research for the first time. The essential point to grasp about approaching research in an informed manner is that it means that practitioners, managers and researchers alike are better equipped to produce reports, evaluations, enquiries and studies that are built on foundations of rock rather than sand. An appreciation of how to go about research will enable you to choose an appropriate methodology that meets your organisational and personal needs, which in turn will mean any findings are more likely to withstand professional scrutiny, be comprehensible to others and have a wider application than less robust approaches. Reports based on unsubstantiated anecdotes, or weak understanding of methodology, are a missed opportunity to contribute to knowledge building within the profession. Everyone needs to start somewhere; this opening contribution is aimed at the absolute novice. Elsewhere on the site you will find more in-depth considerations of research, including a section on developing your research skills.

Research Methodology

The term methodology refers to the stance taken at the outset of research, as distinct from the methods – tools, used to gather the data that is to be scrutinised for the purposes of the enquiry. There are essentially two broad approaches to methodology, quantitative and qualitative. Layder (1993:3) succinctly describes the former as based on 'theory testing' and the latter as 'theory building', helpfully highlighting the distinctive nature of the two stances.

Research Methods

Methods are essentially the tools used to gather the data for analysis. Often this is assumed to refer to those techniques more associated with positivist models such as experiment, surveys, questionnaires, statistical analysis of existing data (unobtrusive research). However, taking a qualitative approach, a number of quite different research methods might be employed. These could include participant observation, action research, role play, focus groups, case studies, narrative approaches, interviews – (on a continuum of structured to unstructured) and so on. There are a multitude of texts available to help researchers compile questionnaires, conduct effective interviews and improve their understanding of method. A few are included among the references below. Please use the interactive facilities on this website to add you own recommendations of texts and / or any commentary you have arising from your experience with the range of tools available.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research typically is led by clear ideas prior to research, and the construction of hypotheses that can be tested through gathering evidence and measuring it in an empirical way. As the old adage about lies, damn lies and statisitics illustrates, numbers can be as susceptible to manipulation as any other form of data. Nevertheless, quantitative research has both influence and significant value, as long as there is clarity about potential limitations. Quantitative research is founded in the study of the natural sciences and often described as 'positivist' i.e. focused only on that which can be 'proven'. 'Positivism may be characterised by its claim that science provides us with the clearest possible ideal of knowledge' (Cohen et al 2000:9). Such research is often based on complex statistical analysis of large amounts of data, carefully sampled. Such an approach may be highly appropriate for fact-finding - i.e. What? Where? When? - But can rarely address 'Why?' (Bell, 1999:14).

It seems numbers can 'prove' hypotheses but may not explain phenomena. 'Numbers can be pure, beautiful, true and certain when they're abstract. Once they're applied to real world phenomena, all that collapses. … because it is so hard to find the right things to measure, and then to measure them accurately.' (Dilnot, 1998). Numbers have a certain lure because they imply certainty, but quantitative research methods are not necessarily appropriate for more complex social situations.

Such concerns led to the development of alternative forms of methodology. For example, disillusion with the 'economic determinist analyses of schooling which did little … to expose how schools reproduced inequalities or provided alternative possibilities' (Gitlin et al 1993:191) led to the exploration of alternatives. Specifically qualitative research including ethnography and other 'naturalistic research' methodologies. These offer the potential to unravel more complex inter relationships over time, unlike quantitative research, which is more usually a snap shot of a fixed point in time, and hence has been criticised as too shallow by some observers. It is argued 'that to understand cultural values and social behaviour requires interviewing or intensive field observation, with these being the only methods of data collection sensitive enough to capture the nuances of human living' (Strauss & Corbin 1998:28). As Hammersley states it, qualitative research is motivated more by a concern with 'process rather than outcomes' (1993:212).

Qualitative Research

‘We’d love to believe that we really could use numbers and mathematics to capture the essence of the real world. Because if we could, we could have the certainty that goes with it… but the beauty and certainty which make numbers so tempting also explain why the attempt to achieve that certainty in the real world is doomed… numbers can be pure beautiful, true and certain when they’re abstract. Once they’re applied to real world phenomena, all that collapses. Not because there is any problem with the numbers, but because it is so hard to find the right things to measure, and to measure them accurately. And yet the lure of the quantifiable is strong’ Dilnot, A., (1998) Analysis 2+2=5 transcript of a recorded radio 4 documentary broadcast 22/5/98, London: BBC Current Affairs

Qualitative methodology has been described as 'any type of research that produces findings not arrived at by statistical procedures or other means of quantification' (Strauss & Corbin 1998:10). It is an appropriate approach for enquiries focusing on exploration and discovery rather than measurement or proof. Such studies may not be able to make claims to being representative, but might be illuminating and illustrative.

Qualitative research is often criticised by its opponents for being unrepresentative, akin to journalism and ignoring the important statistical issues around sampling. However, 'there is a difference between an open mind and an empty head' (Dey 1993 in Strauss & Corbin 1998:47). Qualitative research is more suited to interpretation and illustration of situations and an open mind can allow richness of data to emerge which may be overlooked if a purely quantitative approach is used. The criticism of lack of replicability, or generalisability seem inappropriate given that often, 'the goal is not to produce a standardized set of results that any other careful researcher in the same situation‚ would have produced. Rather it is to produce a coherent and illuminating description of and perspective on a situation.' (Schofield 1993:93 original emphasis).

Polarisation of quantitative and qualitative approaches

Despite the criticisms directed at both approaches, the polarisation is not as extreme as it at first appears. Terms such as ‘validity’ and ‘generalisability’ more associated with statistical analysis can relate to qualitative studies. Validity in quantitative studies relates to being able to demonstrate that the instruments used measure what they set out to measure. It may be couched in terms of careful sampling, appropriate statistical treatment and an acknowledged degree of standard error. However, it can be achieved in qualitative studies through ‘the honesty, depth, richness and scope of the data achieved, the participants approached, the extent of triangulation and the disinterestedness or objectivity of the researcher’ (Cohen et al 2000:105). Similarly, ‘generalisability’ achieved in quantitative research through e.g. sample size and content, is possible in qualitative approaches albeit in a different form. Schofield suggests this might be through a conscious study of ‘the typical’ to ‘maximise the fit between the research site and what is more broadly in society’, or achieved through looking at a number of different sites (Schofield 1993:99-100, original emphasis).

The discussion on methodology demonstrates two important themes. Firstly, it is essential to make conscious decisions about which methodology (and method) is most appropriate to address the question that is being investigated. Secondly, key to the ‘validity’ of any research, are the claims being made in relation to it.

Objectivity v Subjectivity in research

Positivist approaches draw on scientific methodology concerned with presenting findings as facts, suggesting objectivity. Qualitative approaches are sometime criticised for lacking this apparent regulatory ideal. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the distinction is not so clear cut. The notion of ‘objectivity’ is contested. For example, Cohen et al. (2000:37) point out that one of the drivers behind feminist research methodology was the desire to challenge the accepted ‘alleged value-free-neutral, indifferent and impartial research’ and replace it with ‘conscious, deliberate partiality – through researchers identifying with participants.’ Suggesting valuing objectivity over subjectivity is more suspect when viewed from alternative perspectives. The suggestion that researchers should be ideologically neutral ‘is itself saturated with laissez-faire values which allow the status quo to be reproduced, i.e. … is just as value laden as is the call for them to intrude their own perspectives.’ (Cohen et al. 2000:32). It would seem research and politics are inextricably linked. For more on this theme jump to the ‘ethical context’ section of the Research in Practice forum.

The issue of objectivity and subjectivity has been much debated. Phillips suggests that objectivity has fallen into such disrepute it is often only used in ‘scare marks!’ He points out that in ‘normal parlance the term objective is commendatory, while subjective carries negative connotations.’ (Phillips Original emphasis 1993:58). In fact Phillips suggests that objectivity should not be seen as a naïve aim. Objectivity does not imply ‘certainty’ but rather that research ‘has been opened up to scrutiny, to vigorous examination, to challenge … teased out, analyzed, critizised, debated – … it is a view that has been forced to face the demands of reason and of evidence.’ (Phillips 1993:66). Essentially, work can be justified as ‘objective’ because of the critical spirit with which it has been carried out.

Eisner on the other hand refutes the whole notion of objectivity. According to Eisner the idea is a myth – there is no such thing as ‘immaculate perception’. Interestingly, he says objectivity may not even be desirable, in fact it could be misleading to present findings as objective since they cannot represent ‘truth’, just a version of reality that should be put in context. That is, all views come from a particular context, which influence perception making single objective truth impossible. Instead, ‘recognizing and accepting the inevitable transaction between self and world seem to me more realistic and more useful. This recognition would underscore the constructed, tentative, and framework-dependent character of perception and knowledge. It would contribute to a more pluralistic and tentative conception of knowledge, one more dynamic and less dogmatic, one with a human face.’ (Eisner 1993:55).

The qualitative approach can sometimes regard an element of ‘subjectivity’ as strength. Humphrey outlines the debate within the arena of disability politics, one strand of which suggests that ‘a lived experience of a given oppression is a necessary if not sufficient pre-requisite for understanding that oppression’ (Humphrey 2000:72). Taken to its logical conclusion this is ‘the solitary path of separatism’. Humphrey concludes that whilst ‘all social movements are grounded on subjectivity … ‘issues’ around discrimination (can not) be articulated let alone altered without tackling the things that disabled people share with other disadvantaged people … a key is not about locking ourselves in: it is about opening a door outwards’ (Humphrey 2000:82). It would seem a degree of identification with the subject matter will be useful, but if that identification is too close, study can become limited as a consequence. Ethnographic studies based on anthropological traditions traditionally required researchers to live among and interact with the subjects of their research for extended periods, in order to understand better the dynamics of the societal experience. Yet ‘novice field workers are cautioned against ‘going native’, that is, being so drawn into the ‘native’s’ perspective as to lose all objectivity’ (Gitlin et al. 1993:200). Having a certain ‘distance’ or detachment from the topic being researched might therefore be a strength, in that it can avoid bias. Perhaps the only acceptable practice is one that acknowledges the place of the researcher in the research process. ‘This means that the researcher does not have to pretend that she/he comes in with a ‘blank slate’ but rather acknowledges the embedded pre-judgements and allows them to be critically scrutinised’ (Gitlin et al. 1993:205 original emphasis). This is arguably more egalitarian than the view of an outsider set apart, making judgements and can allow research to be ‘transformed from a monological process to a dialogical process.’ (Gitlin et al. 1993:206).

Despite the apparently entrenched positions of Phillips and Eisner, in fact this polarity of views is probably misleading since ‘neither subjectivity nor objectivity has an exclusive stranglehold on truth’ (Phillips 1993:61). The important point that emerges is the necessity for any researcher to be explicit about their own context so others may judge how this particular perspective may have impacted on research findings. As Hodkinson (1998:557) argues it may be ‘that all qualitative research findings are simultaneously subjective and objective, being essentially constructed interpretations of data which are partly, but only partly, external to the a researcher.’ He suggests a middle route that draws on hermeneutics to consider the relationship of the researcher to the subject, rather than looking at either the subject matter under discussion, or the standpoint of researcher in isolation. Essentially, ‘all knowledge is an interpretation’ (Hodkinson, 1998:563) but that does not make it entirely the construct of the interpreter. This approach to understanding meaning might offer a means of bridging the apparent divide between those at the extreme poles of the objectivity / subjectivity continuum.

In approaching any research question objectivity is perhaps best achieved through stating the researcher’s position in relation to the topic at the outset, being explicit about both methodology as well as method, being transparent in reporting respondents’ views and including a range of perspectives on the topic under discussion. Thus, ‘in qualitative research, objectivity means openness, a willingness to ‘give voice’ to respondents’ (Strauss & Corbin 1998:43, original emphasis). ‘Objectivity’ may remain a regulatory ideal, but any researcher will be coming from a particular stance, which will implicitly have an ethical dimension. You are encouraged to view the related section on this website dedicated to the ethical context for research.

References

BELL, J., (1997?) Doing Your Research Project, A guide for First Time Researchers in Education and Social Science, Buckingham: Open University Press
COHEN, L., MANION, L., & MORRISON, K., 5TH Edition (2000) Research Methods in Education London: RoutledgeFalmer
DEY, I., (1993) in STRAUSS, A., & CORBIN, J., (1998) 2nd Edition Basics of Qualitative Research, Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, London: Sage
DILNOT, A., (1998) Analysis 2+2 = 5 Transcript of recorded documentary, 25/5/98 tape no. TLN820/98VT1021
EISNER, E., (1993) ‘Objectivity in Educational Research’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
GITLIN, A., SIEGEL, M., & BORU, K., (1993) The Politics of Method: ‘From Leftist Ethnography to Educative Research’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
HAMMERSLEY, M., (1993) ‘On the Teacher as Researcher’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
HODKINSON, P., (1998) ‘The Origins of Career Decision Making: a case study of hermeneutical research’ in British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 24, No. 5, 1998, pp 557 - 572
HUMPHREY, J, (2000) ‘Researching Disability Politics, Or, Some Problems with the Social Model in Practice’, in Disability & Society, Vol.15, No 1, 2000, pp 63 –85
LAYDER, D., (1993) New Strategies in Social Research, Cambridge, Polity Press
PHILLIPS, D.C., (1993) ‘Subjectivity and Objectivity: an objective inquiry’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
SCHOFIELD, J.W. (1993) ‘Increasing the Generalizability of Qualitative Research’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
STRAUSS, A., & CORBIN, J., (1998) 2nd Edition Basics of Qualitative Research, Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, London: Sage
WOODS, (1992) cited in COHEN, L., MANION, L., & MORRISON, K., 5TH Edition (2000) Research Methods in Education London: RoutledgeFalmer

References and bibliography

If you want to follow up any of the references in this section, or are seeking some ideas for where to start with books relating to research methodology and method, this section provides details of possible texts. You are encouraged to add your own personal favourites to this reference list.
These texts may assist you in devising a research process of your own. Background reading can be helpful for those new to research in that they may provide the building blocks to help navigate the treacherous path through early research challenges. There is a plethora of books to draw on in relation to this topic, a few examples are given here, but add your own.

BELL, J., (1997?) Doing Your Research Project, A guide for First Time Researchers in Education and Social Science, Buckingham: Open University Press
A highly practical guide to carrying out initial research, which is useful for informing and guiding the research process, identifying pros and cons of various methodology and helping the first time researcher to avoid common pitfalls. User friendly it offers reassurance as well as practical advice.

BIRMINGHAM, P., (2000) ‘Reviewing the Literature’ in WILKINSON, D., (Ed) (2000) The Researcher’s Toolkit, the complete guide to Practitioner Research London: RoutledgeFalmer
Birmingham (in Wilkinson, 2000) provides a useful framework for conducting a relevant and focused literature review – a necessary pre-requisite for much course related research, and an enlightening (though often omitted) addition to research arising from practice.

BLAXTER, L., HUGHES, C., TIGHT, M., (2001) 2ND Edition How to Research Buckingham: Open University Press
Does what it says on the cover. A useful guide for small scale research projects at college or work, jargon free and thorough in addressing the topic from getting started and identifying an appropriate theme for enquiry to tackling background reading, managing the research process and writing up.

COHEN, L., MANION, L., & MORRISON, K., 5TH Edition (2000) Research Methods in Education London: RoutledgeFalmer
Cohen, et al (2000) have put together an invaluable text book, which seems to leave no aspect of methodology or method unturned! Dense reading, it is very useful for rapid access to expertise in any area from ethical considerations to approaching interviews as a tool for gathering qualitative information.
DILNOT, A., (1998) Analysis 2+2 = 5 Transcript of recorded documentary, 25/5/98 tape no. TLN820/98VT1021
EISNER, E., (1993) ‘Objectivity in Educational Research’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
GILLHAM, B., (2000) The Research Interview London: Continuum (Real World Research Series)
For practical ‘how to’ guidance try Gillham (2000). His book ‘The Research Interview’ includes advice on preparing and conducting interviews as well as carrying out content analysis, which will be invaluable in making sense of data collected
GITLIN, A., SIEGEL, M., & BORU, K., (1993) The Politics of Method: ‘From Leftist Ethnography to Educative Research’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
HAMMERSLEY, M., (1993) ‘On the Teacher as Researcher’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
The advice of more practically focused volumes will be enriched by looking also at articles that discuss the whole concept of research more broadly. Try, Hammersley, (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues. This volume brings together a wide collection of articles that explores recent debates in educational research. Together they raise and discuss important concepts of e.g. objectivity/subjectivity, debates about the relative merits of quantitative and qualitative research, the relationship of researcher to subject and issues of generalisability arising from qualitative research. This book provides a more philosophical framework within which the practical issues of research need to be placed to understand the wider implications and limitations of any study. It is a useful book for prompting deeper analysis of data findings through careful consideration of the complex nature of any research undertaking.
HART, C., (1998) Doing a Literature Review London: Sage
Hart produces a whole volume dedicated to ‘doing a literature review’ breaking down the mystique and addressing those questions you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

HODKINSON, P., (1998) ‘The Origins of Career Decision Making: a case study of hermeneutical research’ in British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 24, No. 5, 1998, pp 557 - 572
HUMPHREY, J, (2000) ‘Researching Disability Politics, Or, Some Problems with the Social Model in Practice’, in Disability & Society, Vol.15, No 1, 2000, pp 63 –85
LAYDER, D., (1993) New Strategies in Social Research, Cambridge, Polity Press
MCLEOD, J., (2001) Qualitative Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy, London: Sage
The reader is taken through each stage of the research process, with explanations of techniques for gathering data, writing up studies and evaluating findings. Various qualitative methods are outlined and scrutinised in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Useful whether your research arises from the demands of academia or practice.

MAY, T., (1993) Social Research, Issues Methods and Process Buckingham: Open University Press
A book that aims to bridge the gap between theory and methods in social research, providing readers with a good theoretical and practical grounding.

PHILLIPS, D.C., (1993) ‘Subjectivity and Objectivity: an objective inquiry’ in HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
ROBSON, C., (2002) 2ND Edition Real World Research, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd
A resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers. A comprehensive volume covering practical and theoretical aspects of research from enquiry design, through data collection and analysis to the final challenge of presenting findings.

SCHOFIELD, J.W. (1993) ‘Increasing the Generalizability of Qualitative Research’ in
HAMMERSLEY, M., (Ed) (1993) Educational Research, Current issues London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Open University
STRAUSS, A., & CORBIN, J., (1998) 2nd Edition Basics of Qualitative Research, Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, London: Sage
For those interested in grounded theory, the names of Glaser and Strauss will take on iconic stature. Try Strauss, A., & Corbin, J., (1998) 2nd Edition Basics of Qualitative Research, Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. The title is self- explanatory. This volume outlines how to use qualitative methods to their best effect, and allow findings to emerge, without falling into the trap of random and naïve discovery. This book provides a practical guide to data analysis and interpretation as a basis for building theory. Strauss (with Glaser) are the acknowledged first advocates of this particular approach, so this book is likely to be essential to the success of any researcher wanting to use this approach.

WOODS, (1992) cited in COHEN, L., MANION, L., & MORRISON, K., 5TH Edition (2000) Research Methods in Education London: RoutledgeFalmer