Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Ely, M., Anzul, M., Friedman, T., Garner, D., & Steinmetz, A. M. (1991). Doing qualitative research: Circles within circles. London: Falmer Press.

This book portrays the experience of doing qualitative researchÑthe struggles, questions, insightsÑas an interplay between affect and cognition. The authors write, "we believe that qualitative study is forged in the transaction among what is done and learned and felt by the researcher. It is an intensely recursive, personal process, and while this maybe the hallmark of all sound research, it is crucial to every aspect of the qualitative way of looking at life." The general characteristics of qualitative research are described and then the chapters (each written by one of the authors) chronicle the research process. In the first chapter, for example, they consider the research question and entry, noting that questions for study evolve or shift as the study progresses, and that negotiation is an ongoing process. These issues are, thus, revisited in subsequent chapters. They use many examples from their own and others' work to elaborate on methods involved in qualitative research: participant observation, interviewing, keeping logs, audiotaping and videotaping, data analysis, and leaving the field. The importance of the affective "feel" of each procedure is also discussed. The processes of doing the final analysis and writing the story are intricately woven with examples. The final chapter is called "reflecting" and revolves around five themes that emerged from the authors' work and provides insight into the overall experience of doing qualitative research. One of these themes is that the processes of qualitative research also become processes of professional growth.

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