Hermeneutic circle: Interpretive interpretation is an iterative process of moving back and forth from pieces of observations (text) to the entirety of the social phenomenon (context) to reconcile their apparent discord and to construct a theory that is consistent with the diverse subjective viewpoints and experiences of the embedded participants. This chapter will explore other kinds of interpretive research. In general, these documents emphasize the vulnerabilities of human subjects and the need to balance the benefits of knowledge generation against the risks of harm. For instance, if a study’s participants generally agree with the inferences drawn by a researcher about a phenomenon of interest (based on a review of the research paper or report), then the findings can be viewed as confirmable. Chapter 2. Hill et al., 1997), in which the researcher is trying to respect the data and use category labels close to the original language of participants. Ethnography is an interpretive research design inspired by anthropology that emphasises that research phenomenon must be studied within the context of its culture. Naturalistic Inquiry . Prasad, Pushkala. Despit… In addition to fundamental paradigmatic differences in ontological and epistemological assumptions discussed above, interpretive and positivist research differ in several other ways. Each of these concepts is presented as a compound word, with the concepts design and methodology attached to the noun research. Finally, interpretive research may sometimes fail to answer the research questions of interest or predict future behaviors. Figure 10.2. Interpretive interpretations tend to focus on language, signs, and meanings from the perspective of the participants involved in the social phenomenon, in contrast to statistical techniques that are employed heavily in positivist research. What is interpretive research design? Examples of actions may include organizational change programs, such as the introduction of new organizational processes, procedures, people, or technology or replacement of old ones, initiated with the goal of improving an organization’s performance or profitability in its business environment. sees human action as meaningful and historically contingent. from encounters in "the field" (which we define here broadly, to Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Ways of knowing: Research questions and logics of inquiry Chapter 3. At the same time, "interpretive" and textual-archival research). Armonk, NY: M E Sharpe. design, concept formation, data analysis, and standards of assessment interpretive research practices (notably, in their use of word-based The Goal of an Interpretivist Approach to Research With interpretivist research, the goal is to develop an understanding of the subjects and the topic. Too little data can lead to false or premature assumptions, while too much data may not be effectively processed by the researcher. The first level involves viewing or experiencing the phenomenon from the subjective perspectives of the social participants. appropriate assessment have recently been developed in ways that can 2005. Research design is fundamental to all scientific endeavors, at all levels and in all institutional settings. Interpretive research focuses on analytically disclosing those Data is collected in interpretive research using a variety of techniques. "Interpretive Research Design is a streamlined, clear, and important discussion of a topic of crucial concern across the social sciences. Hence, such research requires an immersive involvement of the researcher at the study site for an extended period of time in order to capture the entire evolution of the phenomenon of interest. In the learning phase, the experiences and feedback from action evaluation are used to generate insights about the problem and suggest future modifications or improvements to the action. This differs from most other data collection and research methods because it shifts the focus away … meaning-making practices, while showing how those practices configure to In the Shadow of Illness: Parents and Siblings of the Chronically Ill Child . So, as Bevir and Kedar (2008) discuss, While positivist research employs a “reductionist” approach by simplifying social reality into parsimonious theories and laws, interpretive research attempts to interpret social reality through the subjective viewpoints of the embedded participants within the context where the reality is situated. Bringing together interpretive principles and practice, this welcome book reminds us that scholars who study not rocks or genomes but people and communities require a commensurate understanding of science. The researcher must provide rich, detailed descriptions of the research context (“thick description”) and thoroughly describe the structures, assumptions, and processes revealed from the data so that readers can independently assess whether and to what extent are the reported findings transferable to other settings. methods in the social sciences broadly and in the discipline of Interpretive research is a research paradigm (see Chapter 3) that is based on the assumption that social reality is not singular or objective, but is rather shaped by human experiences and social contexts (ontology), and is therefore best studied within its socio-historic context by reconciling the subjective This International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Vol. Wherefore research designs? Inadequate trust between participants and researcher may hinder full and honest self-representation by participants, and such trust building takes time. To ensure dependability, interpretive researchers must provide adequate details about their phenomenon of interest and the social context in which it is embedded so as to allow readers to independently authenticate their interpretive inferences. Concept formation in political The primary mode of data collection is participant observation, and data analysis involves a “sense-making” approach. Rigor in interpretive research is viewed in terms of systematic and transparent approaches for data collection and analysis rather than statistical benchmarks for construct validity or significance testing. Research design is fundamental to all scientific endeavors, at all levels and in all institutional settings. [16] Lincoln, Y. S., and Guba, E. G. (1985). Case research . Strategies for Did they feel that their experience was pressured, slow, or discontinuous (“felt-time”)? The aim of interpretive description, a relatively new qualitative methodology, is to generate knowledge relevant for … This is an interactive design that assumes that complex social phenomena are best understood by introducing changes, interventions, or “actions” into those phenomena and observing the outcomes of such actions on the phenomena of interest. Observational techniques include direct observation , where the researcher is a neutral and passive external observer and is not involved in the phenomenon of interest (as in case research), and participant observation , where the researcher is an active participant in the phenomenon and her inputs or mere presence influence the phenomenon being studied (as in action research). Use of expressive language: Documenting the verbal and non-verbal language of participants and the analysis of such language are integral components of interpretive analysis. “An Assessment of the Scientific Merits of Action Research,”. Lynch 2007, Prasad 2005). Interpretation must occur at two levels. Although interpretive research tends to rely heavily on qualitative data, quantitative data may add more precision and clearer understanding of the phenomenon of interest than qualitative data. In many social science disciplines, however, scholars working in an interpretive-qualitative tradition get little guidance on this aspect of research from … qualitative research in some disciplines, it is conducted from an This Naturalistic inquiry: Social phenomena must be studied within their natural setting. Fourth, given the heavily contextualized nature of inferences drawn from interpretive research, such inferences do not lend themselves well to replicability or generalizability. However, because interpretive analysis is subjective and sensitive to the experiences and insight of the embedded researcher, it is often considered less rigorous by many positivist (functionalist) researchers. All interpretive research must adhere to a common set of principles, as described below. Lastly, data collection and analysis can proceed simultaneously and iteratively in interpretive research. The credibility of interpretive research can be improved by providing evidence of the researcher’s extended engagement in the field, by demonstrating data triangulation across subjects or data collection techniques, and by maintaining meticulous data management and analytic procedures, such as verbatim transcription of interviews, accurate records of contacts and interviews, and clear notes on theoretical and methodological decisions, that can allow an independent audit of data collection and analysis if needed. During that process, she learnt and chronicled how chimpanzees seek food and shelter, how they socialize with each other, their communication patterns, their mating behaviors, and so forth. Fourth, interpretive research can also help uncover interesting and relevant research questions and issues for follow-up research. Working in the postpositivist tradition. In some methods such as ethnography, action research, and participant observation, the researcher is considered part of the social phenomenon, and her specific role and involvement in the research process must be made clear during data analysis. [14] Bluebond-Langer, M. (1996). This concept is akin to that of internal validity in functionalistic research. 16, No. The last chapter introduced interpretive research, or more specifically, interpretive case research. Hence, qualitative research is not amenable to statistical procedures such as regression analysis, but is coded using techniques like content analysis. A second technique is observation . In J A Smith (ed.) Crafting qualitative research: The ethnographic research method, derived largely from the field of anthropology, emphasizes studying a phenomenon within the context of its culture. Ethnography . Because interpretive research is based on different set of ontological and epistemological assumptions about social phenomenon than positivist research, the positivist notions of rigor, such as reliability, internal validity, and generalizability, do not apply in a similar manner. Armonk, NY: M E 7 . The evaluation stage examines the extent to which the initiated action is successful in resolving the original problem, i.e., whether theorized effects are indeed realized in practice. The analysis then delves into these themes to identify multiple layers of meaning while retaining the fragility and ambiguity of subjects’ lived experiences. Examples of such units of significance are concepts such as “felt space” and “felt time,” which are then used to document participants’ psychological experiences. As discussed in the previous chapter, case research is an intensive longitudinal study of a phenomenon at one or more research sites for the purpose of deriving detailed, contextualized inferences and understanding the dynamic process underlying a phenomenon of interest. Such numeric data helped her clearly distinguish the high-speed decision making firms from the low-speed decision makers, without relying on respondents’ subjective perceptions, which then allowed her to examine the number of decision alternatives considered by and the extent of conflict in high-speed versus low-speed firms. A third technique is documentation , where external and internal documents, such as memos, electronic mails, annual reports, financial statements, newspaper articles, websites, may be used to cast further insight into the phenomenon of interest or to corroborate other forms of evidence. Joint use of qualitative and quantitative data, often called “mixed-mode designs”, may lead to unique insights and are highly prized in the scientific community. However, qualitative versus quantitative research refers to empirical or data -oriented considerations about the type of data to collect and how to analyze them. addition, the chapter discusses the research methodologies, and design used in the study including strategies, instruments, and data collection and analysis methods, while explaining the stages and processes involved in the study. The two concepts research design and research methodology need to be clarified firstly, in order to clear the confusion that is often associated with their usage, particularly by emerging researchers. Interpretive research design: concepts and processes, by Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Y anow, New Y ork and London, Routledge, 2012, 184 pp., ISBN 9780415878081 Creation of categories is an interpretive process on the part of the researcher (or in many cases the team of researchers, cf. Because interpretive research assumes that social phenomena are situated within and cannot be isolated from their social context, interpretations of such phenomena must be grounded within their socio-historical context. The researcher is interested in understanding how participants make meaning in a situation or phenomenon. According to Smith and Osborn (2015), IPA “produces an account of lived experience in its own terms rather than one prescribed by pre-existing theoretical preconceptions” (para 1). In positivist research, however, the researcher is considered to be external to and independent of the research context and is not presumed to bias the data collection and analytic procedures. First, interpretive research employs a theoretical sampling strategy, where study sites, respondents, or cases are selected based on theoretical considerations such as whether they fit the phenomenon being studied (e.g., sustainable practices can only be studied in organizations that have implemented sustainable practices), whether they possess certain characteristics that make them uniquely suited for the study (e.g., a study of the drivers of firm innovations should include some firms that are high innovators and some that are low innovators, in order to draw contrast between these firms), and so forth. This method, illustrated in Figure 10.2, can be grouped into data collection and data analysis phases. Dependability. on Politics 6 (3): 503-17. concepts determined a priori but rather seeks to allow these to emerge training and mainstream journals. This implies that contextual variables should be observed and considered in seeking explanations of a phenomenon of interest, even though context sensitivity may limit the generalizability of inferences. Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices. Design/methodology/approach. In the data collection phase, participants embedded in a social phenomenon are interviewed to capture their subjective experiences and perspectives regarding the phenomenon under investigation. First, this type of research tends to be more time and resource intensive than positivist research in data collection and analytic efforts. Many puritan interpretive researchers reject this coding approach as a futile effort to seek consensus or objectivity in a social phenomenon which is essentially subjective. Interpretive analysis: Observations must be interpreted through the eyes of the participants embedded in the social context. [15] Giorgi, A and Giorgi, B (2003) Phenomenology. It has become a major philosophy and research method in the humanities, human sciences and arts. In other methods, such as case research, the researcher must take a “neutral” or unbiased stance during the data collection and analysis processes, and ensure that her personal biases or preconceptions does not taint the nature of subjective inferences derived from interpretive research. Action research is a qualitative but positivist research design aimed at theory testing rather than theory building (discussed in this chapter due to lack of a proper space). London: Sage Publications. Phenomenology is a research method that emphasizes the study of conscious experiences as a way of understanding the reality around us. are today in a minority position in political science disciplinary This is in contrast to the positivist or functionalist paradigm that assumes that the reality is relatively independent of the context, can be abstracted from their contexts, and studied in a decomposable functional manner using objective techniques such as standardized measures. Examples of questions that may be asked include “can you describe a typical day” or “can you describe that particular incident in more detail?” These interviews are recorded and transcribed for further analysis. Since interpretive research rejects the notion of an objective reality, confirmability is demonstrated in terms of “inter-subjectivity”, i.e., if the study’s participants agree with the inferences derived by the researcher. independent of cultural-historical specificity. data), interpretive research is distinctive in its approach to research Interview types and strategies are discussed in detail in a previous chapter on survey research. Simultaneous problem solving and insight generation is the central feature that distinguishes action research from other research methods (which may not involve problem solving) and from consulting (which may not involve insight generation). It is the job of the interpretive researcher to. Research design is fundamental to all scientific endeavors, at all levels and in all institutional settings. Second, interpretive research requires well-trained researchers who are capable of seeing and interpreting complex social phenomenon from the perspectives of the embedded participants and reconciling the diverse perspectives of these participants, without injecting their personal biases or preconceptions into their inferences. Sharpe. Unlike a positivist method, where the researcher starts with a theory and tests theoretical postulates using empirical data, in interpretive methods, the researcher starts with data and tries to derive a theory about the phenomenon of interest from the observed data. However, the failure of many positivist techniques to generate interesting insights or new knowledge have resulted in a resurgence of interest in interpretive research since the 1970’s, albeit with exacting methods and stringent criteria to ensure the reliability and validity of interpretive inferences. Third, interpretive analysis is holistic and contextual, rather than being reductionist and isolationist. and Evered, R.D. This method follows an action research cycle consisting of five phases: (1) diagnosing, (2) action planning, (3) action taking, (4) evaluating, and (5) learning (see Figure 10.1). The primary mode of data collection is participant observation, although other techniques such as interviews and documentary evidence may be used to corroborate the researcher’s observations. Whereas the philosophical grounding of interpretive research has long around research genres and studies that do not fit within established methodologies (Caelli, Ray, & Mill, 2003). It is suggested that the entire action research cycle be traversed at least twice so that learning from the first cycle can be implemented in the second cycle. Use of imageries, metaphors, sarcasm, and other figures of speech is very common in interpretive analysis.  Sharpe. In many social science disciplines, however, scholars working in an interpretive-qualitative tradition get little guidance on this aspect of research from the positivist-centered training they receive. Furthermore, the case researcher is a neutral observer (direct observation) in the social setting rather than an active participant (participant observation). been clear, empirical issues of research design, research practice, and A more contemporary example of ethnographic research is Myra Bluebond-Langer’s (1996) [14] study of decision making in families with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, and the physical, psychological, environmental, ethical, legal, and cultural issues that influence such decision-making. contrasts strongly with the drive to identify generalizable laws The interpretive method, also known as interpretive sociology, or interpretivism The critical method, also sometimes called critical sociology Let's take a closer look at these two research … First, they are well-suited for exploring hidden reasons behind complex, interrelated, or multifaceted social processes, such as inter-firm relationships or inter-office politics, where quantitative evidence may be biased, inaccurate, or otherwise difficult to obtain. neurship research. Third, all participants or data sources may not be equally credible, unbiased, or knowledgeable about the phenomenon of interest, or may have undisclosed political agendas, which may lead to misleading or false impressions. Phenomenology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Credibility. Action research . Research design is fundamental to all scientific endeavors, at all levels and in all institutional settings. Multi-paradigm atic research design spaces for cultural studie s researchers . methodologies and methods have also been drawing greater attention. The researcher may even change her original research question if she realizes that her original research questions are unlikely to generate new or useful insights. The paper concludes with a dis- Sometimes, coded qualitative data is tabulated quantitatively as frequencies of codes, but this data is not statistically analyzed. In this Bringing together interpretive principles and practice, this welcome book reminds us that scholars who study not rocks or genomes but people and communities require a commensurate understanding of science. In the Shadow of Illness: Parents and Siblings of the Chronically Ill Child, http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/oa_textbooks/3/, CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. "Interpretive Research Design: Concepts and Processes is an indispensable handbook that should have a place on the bookshelf of every politics, policy and public administration scholar whose work is informed by an interpretive approach. So, as Bevir and Kedar (2008) discuss, interpretive methodologies encompass an experience-near orientation that sees human action as mean… Case research is a unique research design in that it can be used in an interpretive manner to build theories or in a positivist manner to test theories. (2013). It is.. Although there is some overlap between qualitative and Researcher as instrument: Researchers are often embedded within the social context that they are studying, and are considered part of the data collection instrument in that they must use their observational skills, their trust with the participants, and their ability to extract the correct information. Confirmability. This is a valuable but often understated benefit of interpretive research, and is not available in positivist research, where the research project cannot be modified or changed once the data collection has started without redoing the entire project from the start. "Interpretive Research Design is a streamlined, clear, and important discussion of a topic of crucial concern across the social sciences. Interpretive research can be considered credible if readers find its inferences to be believable. Bevir, Mark and Kedar, Asaf. “see through the smoke” (hidden or biased agendas) and understand the true nature of the problem. This workshop is made possible through the generous support of the National Science Foundation and the University of Utah (US), University of Toronto (Canada), and Vrije Universteit (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). (Bevir and Kedar 2008, Yanow and Schwartz-Shea, 2006; see also Klotz and generate observable outcomes. The study must ensure that the story is viewed through the eyes of a person, and not a machine, and must depict the emotions and experiences of that person, so that readers can understand and relate to that person. assist doctoral students and junior scholars to make their research more Transferability. This research conceptually illustrates how positivist and interpretive philosophies translate into different research approaches by reviewing an extant positivist qualitative study that uses grounded theory and then detailing how an interpretive researcher would approach the same phenomenon using the hermeneutic method. Yanow, Dvora and Schwartz-Shea, Peregrine, eds. For instance, the researcher may conduct an interview and code it before proceeding to the next interview. Hence, action research is an excellent method for bridging research and practice. of human actors at the center of scientific explanation. Confirmability refers to the extent to which the findings reported in interpretive research can be independently confirmed by others (typically, participants). In this method, the researcher is usually a consultant or an organizational member embedded into a social context (such as an organization), who initiates an action in response to a social problem, and examines how her action influences the phenomenon while also learning and generating insights about the relationship between the action and the phenomenon. and a set of key readings. The participants’ lived experience is described in form of a narrative or using emergent themes. particular linguistic, historical, and values standpoints. Starting from meaning: Contextuality and its implications Chapter 4. Background: Phenomenology is a discipline that investigates people's experiences to reveal what lies 'hidden' in them. Phenomenological inquiry requires that researchers eliminate any prior assumptions and personal biases, empathize with the participant’s situation, and tune into existential dimensions of that situation, so that they can fully understand the deep structures that drives the conscious thinking, feeling, and behavior of the studied participants. For example, Eisenhardt (1989), in her interpretive study of decision making n high-velocity firms (discussed in the previous chapter on case research), collected numeric data on how long it took each firm to make certain strategic decisions (which ranged from 1.5 months to 18 months), how many decision alternatives were considered for each decision, and surveyed her respondents to capture their perceptions of organizational conflict. 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