Facilitating the interaction between theory and data in qualitative research using CAQDAS

Sinkovics, R. R. and Alfoldi, E. A. (2012) Facilitating the interaction between theory and data in qualitative research using CAQDAS. In: Symon, G. and Cassell, C. (eds.) Qualitative Organizational Research: Core Methods and Current Challenges. SAGE Publications: London, pp. 109-131. ISBN 9780857024107

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Publisher's URL: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book235422


It is generally acknowledged in the business and management literature that qualitative research tends to be ‘messy’. In contrast to the typical linear structure of the quantitative research task (find or develop a theory, gather empirical data, confirm or disconfirm the theory), qualitative findings often emerge through a complex process of gradual evolution, driven by the interaction between theory and data. This iterative, cyclical process can be considered a hallmark of qualitative research. It lies at the heart of terms such as evolution of perspective (Peshkin, 1985), zipping (Orton, 1997), systematic combining (Dubois & Gadde, 2002), cycles of deliberation (McGaughey, 2004, 2007) and the term we adopt in this chapter, progressive focusing (Parlett & Hamilton, 1972; Stake, 1981, 1995). Our aim is to demonstrate how such an inherently ‘messy’ process can be made more manageable and rigorous through the use of CAQDAS. We acknowledge potential dangers in the indiscriminate and overly mechanistic use of CAQDAS (Hesse-Biber, 1996; Marshall, 2001). However, drawing on the example of a research project carried out by one of the authors, we illustrate ways to use CAQDAS in fruitful way to make non-linear research processes more systematic and add to both flexibility and rigour (Sinkovics, Penz, & Ghauri, 2008).

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:Qualitative research, methodology, CAQDAS, NVivo.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sinkovics, Professor Rudolf
Authors: Sinkovics, R. R., and Alfoldi, E. A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Publisher:SAGE Publications

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