Preface1. 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

An Analysis of the Story

What was going on here? What did the participants learn from this experience? What questions were they asking? What was each person hearing, seeing, thinking? How aware were they of what was going on from their own and others' perspectives? What records were kept about this experience? What was there to share about this experience with others? Under what assumptions were the participants operating? What standards did the participants have for judging the quality of their experience?

Of course, there are many possible answers to these questions and several other questions that could be asked about this event. But in this book, I would like to point out that whatever else they were doing, the participants were conducting a form of qualitative inquiry while they were learning and teaching. We were not consciously following a linear process, but all of us - Sid, Cheryl, Jack, Steve (and the other students, though we will not examine them as closely just now), and I - were all conducting our own inquiries, learning from the process, and sharing our learnings with others.

I used to believe that people needed to be taught a process and certain activities for conducting inquiry using a qualitative orientation. But experiences like the one described in this story have convinced me that most learners are already engaging in many inquiry activities naturally. And I believe that teachers who are busy learning in natural ways are going to exemplify that learning for their students and find better ways to share what they are learning through their inquiries. I would like to support teachers and other educators in their inquiry efforts by inviting you to expand your natural learning activities to include more of what are commonly known as qualitative inquiry activities.