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



Guba, E. G. and Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Lincoln, Y. S. and Guba, E. G. (1985). Qualitative inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Schwandt, T.A. and Halpern, E.S. (1988). Linking auditing and metaevaluation. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Questions for Consideration

  1. What questions or comments do you have over the materials presented in this chapter?
  2. Which of the standards are most important? Would you add others?
  3. Why are standards for critiquing qualitative inquiries needed?
  4. How can all these standards be met in a given study?
  5. How can the meaningfulness of a research problem be determined?
  6. Do you agree with Marné’s self critique? Why or why not?
  7. How can you use the checklist presented above in your inquiry setting?
  8. What are you planning to do (doing) to ensure that the standards for qualitative inquiry presented in this chapter will be met in the qualitative inquiry you are conducting?
  9. What is an audit trail?
  10. Why is it important to maintain an audit trail?
  11. How are you keeping an audit trail of your inquiry?

Suggested Activities

  1. Using the standards described in this chapter and any others you feel are relevant, critique one of the completed studies reported in the Appendices of this book (besides Marné’s in Appendix B).
  2. In your field notes, critique your own study against these same standards. For each standard, explain how you are meeting the standard or propose how you will revise your inquiry to meet any standard you are not currently addressing in your own inquiry. If you think some of these standards are irrelevant or too hard to achieve in your situation, explain your rationale in your field notes. Discuss any additional standards you want to use.
  3. Review your field notes to make sure you are keeping the details you need to have an adequate audit trail. Begin a new file that will serve as an index to your audit trail that has an entry for every day you do anything associated with your project.
  4. What questions did this chapter raise for you?