Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ah Ha moments

Don't ya just love those "ah ha" moments? You know, when a couple of things in your mind just come together and gel into a completely new idea? Especially when it's an idea that is useful? I've had a couple this afternoon and wanted to share them.

Both ah ha's go goes back to a conversation I had with a classmate recently about the difference between theoretical orientation and theoretical framework in the context of qualitative research reports (e.g. article, dissertations, etc.). We decided that a theoretical framework was a deliberately selected basis or grounding for a research project, usually based on someone else's previous research, and something that may inform one research study but doesn't necessarily inform all of one's research. A theoretical orientation on the other hand, was more like a world view, possibly constructed from one's social and cultural background rather than consciously selected. My classmate called it a lens through which research was viewed. Its something that a researcher can become aware of and acknowledge but not necessarily something that can be entirely set aside and definitely something that will inform all of one's research.

The ah has for me came while I was reading a dissertation that I'm reviewing for class. I'd been trying to apply our definitions of theoretical orientation and framework to this dissertation and I realized first, that the author was using the type of research he did (grounded theory) as a theoretical framework, not something I'd ever considered before. That was the first ah ha.

The second one was that he was using multiple theoretical frameworks. Not only was he using grounded theory as a theoretical framework, he was also using a number of other theories to frame his study. I had also not considered that before, everything I've read about doing qualitative research has talked about a single theoretical foundation for a research project, never more than one!

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I am... a wife a daughter a sister/sister-in-law an aunt a reader a librarian a doctor a quilter a niece a grandmother ;-) a cat owner 6 feet 1 inches tall a yoga enthusiast a cook