Qualitative Research, Part II

My point is the lack of required intellectual rigor and the requirement for reflexivity empowers anybody with a Ph.D. and a word processor to spew whatever they care to into the information pipeline. I find the new trend of “participatory and advocacy practices” masquerading as scholarship particularly alarming. It seems clear from the title and the description that there is no attempt at impartiality. These authors start with a premise, a cause even, and work backwards to studies and “research” to prove their point.

There seems to be way too little structure and accountability, too little grounding in provable facts, in qualitative research. This casual acceptance of advocacy endangers, if not destroys, its value as “science.” There are plenty of opportunities for advocacy that fall under the general heading of “advocacy,” where they belong. This is not to say that I have a problem with all qualitative research. There is a great place in research for non-numerical, experiential study. However, I am very uncomfortable with how the less rigorous structure of qualitative research creates too much opportunity for mischief and actual unscientific behavior.

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