CoverPreface1. Overview of qualitative inquiry and general texts on this topicA School Story of Qualitative InquiryAn Analysis of the StoryQualitative Inquiry ProcessThe Reality about the ProcessOrganization of this BookConclusion2. Assumptions we make in doing qualitative inquirySome Common AssumptionsAn Analysis of AssumptionsCommon Questions about Qualitative InquirySome Additional Beliefs and Assumptions Regarding Human InquiryConclusion3. Keeping a record, writing fieldnotesA StoryAn AnalysisKinds of FieldnotesExampleSome Ideas about Record KeepingMechanics of FieldnotesConclusion4. Relationship building to enhance inquiryAn Article-Based StoryThe ProcessResults and ConclusionAn Analysis of KL's ExperienceConclusion5. Standards and quality in qualitative inquiryA Self-Critique StoryAn AnalysisCredibilityTransferabilityDependabilityConfirmabilityOther CriteriaA ChecklistAudit TrailConclusion6. Focusing the inquiryA School's Superintendent's StoryAn AnalysisConclusion7. Data collectionGathering Through Observations, Interviews and DocumentsAn Assistant Principal's StoryGeneral LessonsObserving LessonsInterviewing LessonsDocument Review LessonsConclusion8. Data interpretationA Graduate Student StoryStory Reading Through Analysis, Synthesis and InterpretationAn AnalysisSpradley's Approach to InterpretationDomain AnalysisConclusion9. Sharing and reportingSharing through Story TellingRevisiting Three StoriesAn Analysis of Three StoriesConclusion10. AppendicesAppendix A.1 - A Sample Study from BYU-Public School PartnershipAppendix A.2 - What Have We Learned?Appendix A.3 - Patterns of ExperienceAppendix B.1 - Allowing Space for Not-Knowing: What My Journal Teaches Me, Part 1Appendix B.2 - Allowing Space for Not-Knowing: What My Journal Teaches Me, Part 2Appendix B.3 - Allowing Space for Not-Knowing: What My Journal Teaches Me, Part 3Appendix B.4 - Allowing Space for Not-Knowing: What My Journal Teaches Me, Part 4Appendix B.5 - Marne's critique of her own studyAppendix C - An Elementary School Example: My Observations of JimmyAppendix D - Reflecting on ReflectionAppendix E - A Study of Educational Change in AlbertaAppendix F - Moving Ahead: A Naturalistic Study of Retention Reversal of Five Elementary School ChildrenAppendix G.1 - An Examination of Teacher ReflectionAppendix G.2 - Themes of ReflectionAppendix H - Spradley's theme synthesis and report writingAppendix I - Index of Topics

A Checklist

The criteria discussed in this chapter are combined in the checklist presented here. This checklist may be used to guide consumers of qualitative inquiries in their critiques of qualitative proposals and reports. Clearly, availability of a good audit trail and access to the inquirer’s field notes would facilitate the use of this checklist in judging the quality of a study. However, audit trails and field notes are rarely available for most studies found in the literature because they take up too much space. The checklist may also be used to plan and conduct qualitative studies.

  1. Is a meaningful topic addressed?
  2. Is qualitative inquiry appropriate for the topic?
  3. Are people treated ethically?
  4. Are natural conditions maintained as closely as possible?
  5. Is the report well written?
    1. Does it communicate well?
    2. Does it address conflicting results?
    3. Does it include descriptions of the researcher, the data gathered, and the conditions under which data were gathered?
    4. Does it include analysis and synthesis of the data?
  6. Is the study credible?
    1. Is prolonged engagement adequate?
    2. Is persistent observation adequate?
    3. Is triangulation adequate?
    4. Is peer debriefing adequate?
    5. Is negative case analysis adequate?
    6. Are progressive subjectivity checks made?
    7. Is the emic perspective highlighted?
    8. Are member checks adequate?
  7. Is thick description adequate to make transferability of the study likely?
  8. Is the study dependable?
    1. Is an adequate audit trail maintained?
    2. Was an audit conducted? Do results support dependability?
    3. Are data collection and analysis procedures adequate? Has the researcher been careless or made mistakes in conceptualizing the study, sampling people and events, collecting the data, interpreting the findings, or reporting results?
  9. Is the study confirmable?
    1. Is an adequate audit trail maintained?
    2. Was an audit conducted? Do results support confirmability?
    3. How adequate are the findings? How well are they supported by people and events that are independent of the inquirer?

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