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Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences - Essay Example

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Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences

Within the matrix of traditional research models, therefore, the researcher was neither reflector nor practitioner.
The traditional research model constrained itself and limited its potentialities for the articulation of consistently practical, applicable and relevant knowledge. Delimiting the role of the researcher to collector, organiser, interpreter and disseminator of knowledge prevents researchers from reflective engagement with the topic of enquiry and, thus, detracts from the final output itself - the research. This, at least, ids the position held by a significant number of researchers (Reason, 1994; Park, 1999; Green and Levin, 1998; Reason and Bradbury, 2001; Bray et al., 2002).
Having outlined the primary difference between traditional and non-traditional/reflective research, this present research shall now explore the strategies by, and through, which the researcher may integrate reflective approaches into qualitative enquiry projects. More specifically stated, following a definition and discussion of reflective research and its variant forms and strategies, the research will look into its potential contributions to a qualitative study on the social impacts of e-commerce.
Reflective research represents both a reconsideration of the principles upon which traditional research is founded and, a break with it. The traditional research model, as briefly noted in the introductory paragraphs, demands separation between research and practice, between the researcher and the practitioner. Indeed, within the matrix of the research activity and the subsequent utilisation of its output, the roles of either are clearly separate. As Bray et al. (2002) note, the researcher's role is confined to the production of findings and the practitioner's role is the application of, and reflection upon, those findings.
The concept of the researcher-practitioner/reflective researcher/reflective practitioner emerged from the evidently and fundamentally flawed premise upon which the traditional research model, as outlined and defined in the preceding, is founded. Reason and Bradbury (2001), as have other researchers (Park, 1999; Bray et al., 2002) contend the separation to be founded upon an inherently flawed understanding of the purpose of research for two reasons. In the first place, within the traditional research model, it is the researcher who identifies the problem to be studied, designs the study's methodological approach, collects the data he/she deems appropriate, interprets the data objectively and then publishes his/her findings. In the second place, within the parameters of traditional research models, the research subject, not to mention the practitioners within the field under investigation, are treated as providers, or sources of information which the researcher is seeking. The research subjec ...Show more


Until recently, there has always been a strict and very clear demarcation between the researcher and the practitioner, between research and reflection (Green and Levin, 1998). The researcher was defined, and in many research and learning models still is, as the objective collector, interpreter, organiser and disseminator of knowledge…
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Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences essay example
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