Interpreting qualitative data and report writing: profiling the researcher or the research?

Year: 1997

Author: Brooker, Ross, Macpherson, Ian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Authors such as Linclon and Guba (1985), Merriam (1989), and Miles and Huberman (1984) point out that qualitative research is to make a difference then it must contain well-grounded, thick, and rich descriptions. Simmt (1997) in a recent paper reminds us that although these same authors suggest how this can be achieved, "it is an unusual text that manages to preserve the complexity and integrity of the event or phenomenon the researcher is attempting to understand using qualitative data." Often the outcomes of the research are reported as abstract rules and generalisations which "... do not have a face, nor a repertoire of actions" (Kessels and Korthagen, 1996, p. 21). The research outcomes too often say more about the persons who interpret the data and write up the research than the research itself. The process becomes a "hermenuetic of self-indulgence" (Smith, 1997). The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the researcher in interpreting and reporting qualitative research.