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Research and Scholarship

A guide for capstone and thesis students

 

Qualitative Research: Ethnography, Case Studies, and Action Research

Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research is a method of understanding the big picture or they total situation.  It often explores the why and how decisions are made. and allows flexibility in how the researcher and the participants interact. It entails observation and in depth interviewing. Disciplines that use qualitative research and analysis include sociology, psychology & human behavior, and business. Techniques for gathering data include ethnography, focus groups, case studies, and action research.

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Action Research: An Overview 

Action research is a process of participatory inquiry aimed at generating knowledge to guide practical action in pursuit of the participants’ purposes and outcomes. It can be contrasted with traditional scientific research, which seeks to find the “truth” through highly researcher controlled investigation methodologies. Action research, in contrast, seeks to generate knowledge to find solutions to problems and to enable actors to achieve their goals. 

Susan A. Mohrman (USC)

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Case studies investigate a case (person, group, event or institution) in depth. Collective or comparative case study looks at several case studies to highlight key focal points between studies.

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  • Case study. (2008). In K. O'Reilly, Key concepts in Ethnography. London, United Kingdom: Sage UK.
  • Literati Search for "case study."

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Written reports of direct and sustained contact observing individuals and cultures.

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  • Introduction. (2008). In K. O'Reilly, Key concepts in ethnography. London, United Kingdom: Sage UK.

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