Reviews

Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice

This book represents an extensive revision and updating of the 1997 first edition. It includes five new chapters commissioned for this volume. It is intended to be a comprehensive but accessible guide to ‘a variety of methodological approaches to qualitative research’.

David Silverman, a well-known author on qualitative research, has drawn together an impressive international team of contributors for this text. As befits his own professional background most of the contributors have their roots in sociology, and the reader must be aware that they inevitably bring this perspective to their writing.

The book is organised into nine sections or parts. The first is a brief introduction to qualitative research by the editor. Part II examines ethnography under the heading ‘Observation’. Part III is concerned with ‘Texts’ and with documents as a research tool. It has an interesting chapter in which internet communication’ is considered as a qualitative research tool. ‘Interviews’ are examined in Part IV with ‘Talk’ the focus of Part V. This is followed by a consideration of the use of ‘Visual Data’ as a research method in Part VI.

The book concludes in Parts VII-IX with a wider exploration

...

David Silverman, a well-known author on qualitative research, has drawn together an impressive international team of contributors for this text. As befits his own professional background most of the contributors have their roots in sociology, and the reader must be aware that they inevitably bring this perspective to their writing.

The book is organised into nine sections or parts. The first is a brief introduction to qualitative research by the editor. Part II examines ethnography under the heading ‘Observation’. Part III is concerned with ‘Texts’ and with documents as a research tool. It has an interesting chapter in which internet communication’ is considered as a qualitative research tool. ‘Interviews’ are examined in Part IV with ‘Talk’ the focus of Part V. This is followed by a consideration of the use of ‘Visual Data’ as a research method in Part VI.

The book concludes in Parts VII-IX with a wider exploration of a number of issues; namely, questions regarding reliability and validity, the way in which qualitative research relates to and impacts upon the wider social community, and what Silverman refers to as ‘missing issues’ in qualitative research.

The text is well-written and each chapter is well supported with notes, recommended reading and an extensive reference list. Effective use is made of illustrations and case studies where appropriate to enhance the text.

This is probably not the first text that a novice qualitative researcher should reach for, but it should certainly be one that they refer to. Silverman has not set out to produce a ‘How to do qualitative research’ text but what he has produced is a value-added volume; something that takes the reader into a more critical examination of some of the issues surrounding the qualitative approach. It is certainly a text that more experienced qualitative researchers should consider adding to their own library.

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