Today I stumbled upon a (relatively old) article that was published in Administrative Science Quarterly (Miles, 1979, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 590-601) about the "problems" that scholars encounter when digging into qualitative data. A few of the pros and cons of working with qualitative data were listed. As you will notice, most of them feel really familiar:
Pros of qualitative data (p. 590):
Cons of qualitative data (p. 590):
Of particular interest to me was a fragment found on pages 594-595:
"We also learned that much analysis was going on in the mind of the fieldworker. Each one developed a fairly rich set of working hypotheses about what was going on in his or her site, along with a fairly retrievable store of specific anecdotes and incidents supporting the hypotheses. But without interaction with colleagues, the hypotheses went unchallenged and usually untested, and the anecdotes remembered were only those in support of the hypotheses."
Notice the words "anecdotes", "hypotheses" and the claim that qualitative researchers have a tendency to remember those fragments of data that support the hypotheses. A proposed solution is member checking although we cannot establish how strongly this protects us against "self-delusion".
Blogging away about my PhD. My goal is to keep you up to date about the progress made in my research. Stay tuned for more news and feel free to interact and comment.