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Conversations: Evolution of Qualitative Research Methodology: Looking beyond Defense to Possibilities Author(s): LeAnn G. Putney, Judith L.

Green, Carol N. Dixon, Gregory J. Kelly Source: Reading Research Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Jul. - Aug. - Sep., 1999), pp. 368-377 Published by: International Reading Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/748068 Accessed: 07/12/2009 17:09
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LeAnn G. Putney
Universityof Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

Reading Research Quarterly Vol. 34, No. 3 July/August/September 1999 ?1999 International Reading Association

(pp. 368-377)

JudithL. Green CarolN. Dixon GregoryJ. Kelly

Universityof California, Santa Barbara, USA

research qualitative methodology: Looking beyond to possibilities

Conversations column, the Editors asked us to provide a dialogue about the evolution of qualitative research methodology. When we initiated the dialogue, we considered putting together a historical overview, then moving on to what we envisioned qualitative educational research becoming in the future. As we continued, we found that the political realm surrounding our dialogue was changing the direction, scope, and content of our discussion, leading to a reflexive revisioning not unlike the realities of the research we undertake. We still intend to examine where qualitative research may be headed in light of where it has been, but with the understanding that we are facing some critical political decisions that may very well change how qualitative research is viewed by the public. We will also caution the reader that our view of qualitative research is one situated historically and theoretically. Therefore, we will not presume to speak for all of qualitative research but will speak from our disciplinary and theoretical positions about methodological issues facing qualitative researchers in education.




Constructing a Conversation
In this Conversation, we bring together four educational researchers with different expertise and back-

for groundswho have developed a commonframework The of research. first member approaching qualitative is LeAnn of this Conversation Putneyfromthe University concerned Las a research educator Nevada, Vegas,USA, with teaching-learning processes,who bringsa socioculturaland sociohistorical perspectiveto her researchand this dialogue.The otherthreemembersareJudithGreen, of CarolDixon, and GregKellyfromthe University SantaBarbara, USA. California, Judithand Carolare literacy educatorsand cofoundersof the SantaBarbara Classroom DiscourseGroupand bringan ethnographic and sociolinguistic to this Conversation. perspective a science educator, Greg, bringsa philosophyof science (epistemological) perspectiveto the dialogue.All have in and collecresearch, individually engaged qualitative effort of this is just The collaborative Conversation tively. one exampleof the networking and extensionof a reas well searchcommunity thatleads to jointpublications in of interests we have as new ways thinkingabout that common. we have developed is The commonframework one thatis concernedwith understanding whatour epistemologicalstancepermitsus to examineas well as how it informsand limitsour point of view. This concernhas also led us to explorehow all researchprograms shape the questionsthatcan be asked,the methodsthatare frameworks thatguide the research used, the theoretical and explanatory phases of such projects(whatwe call


Evolution of qualitative research methodology orienting and explanatory theories), and the knowledge that can be constructed using these approaches. In this Conversation we share with you some of the issues that we have struggled with as we have sought ways of engaging in qualitative research, teaching qualitative research approaches, and publishing the findings from our individual and collective work. This particularConversation began as a result of a keynote talk, "FromRoots to Renaissance: The Path Traveled by Qualitative Researchers,"that Judith, Carol, and Greg prepared for the 1998 Conference on Qualitative Research in Education in Athens, Georgia. In their keynote, they highlighted a historical look at qualitative research, in terms of methodology and theoretical perspective, as well as future expectations for qualitative researchers. LeAnn initiated a continuation of this dialogue by outlining a possible direction for our collective voice. Our original intent was to send this outline back and forth over e-mail, each adding to it and sending it around for the others to review and edit. However, we found that the distance between us and the round-robin approach was too disjointed and did not allow the synergy of ideas that could be achieved through face-toface, in-the-moment dialogue. We decided to convene in Santa Barbaraby gathering together some notes, a laptop computer, a tape recorder, some good cookies, and freshly brewed coffee to get this Conversationrolling. Soon we were moving together in person where the e-mail dialogue just could not take us. The document began to take shape as we moved back and forth from the philosophy of science to the historical underpinnings that we wanted to make visible. This meeting gave us the framework for what was to occur next and served as a springboard for subsequent sessions that could now take place using phone and e-mail to continue the Conversation. We continued sending the edited pieces back and forth to all involved. In this way, the dialogue became a blending of voices, with the different perspectives still an integral part of a collective voice as represented in the range of citations provided. Through this and previous dialogues we have stretched our understandings of what it means to do research, what theoretical perspectives contribute to and guide our work, and how the research perspectives we select shape what we can do, say, and know-or in other words, what philosopher Kenneth Strike (1974, p. 103) called "the expressive potential" of our research. Strike introduced this argument more than 2 decades ago in an important yet often overlooked article, "On the Expressive Potential of Behaviorist Language."His abstract captured his perspective, treating peripheralism

369 and associationism as the two central doctrines. He argues that these doctrines on acceptable constraints place semanticand syntactical languagefor the discussionof humanbeings, and assess of the consequencesof these doctrinesfor the description educationalgoals and methods.It is shown thatperipherare philosophical doctrinesinalismand associationism heritedfromBritishEmpiricism, and thatthey are more treatedas partof the philosophyof psyappropriately rather than as testableempirical claims.It is archology, thatthis philosophyplaces on a gued thatthe constraints languagerenderit incapableof expressingsome meaningful educational goals, rule out some meaningful empirical hypotheses,and underminesome important ethical distinctions. (p. 103) We build on the construct of expressive potential of research programs to explore the history of qualitative research in education in order to consider where we have been, where we are currently,and to suggest where the future might take us. We intend to show that qualitative researchers (a) have achieved a degree of success in the past 2 to 3 decades; (b) are, like other educational researchers, facing a crisis of confidence at the public and policy levels; and (c) have a solid foundation to address this crisis and thus expand and enhance the expressive potential of the language(s) to guide research programs from various qualitative traditions.

The historical journey

One way to understand the history of qualitative research, and how a multivocal community of practice has developed, is through the work of a philosopher of science, Helen Longino (1993). She argued that Scientificknowledge...isan outcome of the criticaldiaand groupsholdingdifferent logue in which individuals points of view engage with each other.It is constructed not by individuals but by an interactive dialogiccommunity. A community's practiceof inquiryis productiveof transformative knowledge to the extentthatit facilitates criticism. 112) (p. To guide this critical dialogue in the development of disciplinary knowledge (including methodological perspectives within a discipline), Longino proposed four criteria as necessary to achieve the "transformative dimension of critical discourse" (p. 112). The community of practice must be characterized by: 1. Publiclyrecognizedforumsfor the critiqueof evidence, of methods,and of assumptions and reasoning. 2. A toleranceof dissent,and a change of beliefs and theories over time in responseto the critical discoursetaking place withinit.


READING RESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September 3. Publiclyrecognizedstandards by referenceto which



andobservational are theories, hypotheses, practices evant to thegoalsof the inquiring community.

evaluatedand by appealto which criticism is made rel-

4. Equality of intellectual authority, by developingcon-

of theexercise of political or sensus,notas the result economic of dissenting poweror of the exclusion perit must be the result of critical in spectives; dialogue whichallrelevant arerepresented. perspectives

We view the current perspectives constituting qualitativeresearchas an outcomeof the critical dialogues thathave occurredover the past 3 decades,both within the community of practiceassociatedwith qualitative researchtraditions and with scholarsfromotherresearch traditions. The productive and transformative natureof the critical will become evident as we examine dialogues the directionof qualitative researchin education.
The struggle for recognition: Phase 1

The earliestphase of the developmentof qualitative traditions withineducationcan be characterized as a for for the value of qualitative restruggle recognition search.Thisphase saw two sets of concerns.The first was raisedby educational researchers groundedin core disciplines (e.g., anthropology, sociology,and socialpsyfor ethnographic chology)thatservedas the foundation directions in qualitative research in education. The second was initiated between by those drawingdistinctions methodsand dominant of thattime. qualitative paradigms In the earliestpartof this phase, educational researchers often took up the labels of qualitative traditions withoutunderstanding the historical groundingas noted by Rist.Forexample,in an articlein the Educational Rist(1980) arguedthatthose Researcher, who had previouslyengaged in observational research often took up the termethnography as the label for their work withouttakingup the theoretical frameworks associatedwith ethnography or understanding the purpose of ethnography (i.e., the studyof culture).
Figure 1
Axioms about The nature of reality The relationship of knower to the known The possibility of generalization The possibility of causal linkages

This issue was raised across the next 2 decades by others grounded in anthropology and other social science traditions (e.g., Green & Wallat, 1981; Heath, 1982; Jacob, 1987, 1988; Wolcott, 1992). The critical discourse in this period was one of critique that served to make visible the challenges facing educational researchers who were adopting and adapting methodologies that had originated in other disciplines and fields of study. The second concern was addressed through the purposeful use of dichotomies as a tool to initiate a critical discourse about the distinctions between qualitative methods and other paradigms. Dichotomies posed included qualitative-quantitative, naturalist-positivist,and interpretive-positivistic-critical approaches (see, e.g., Guba, 1990; Lancy, 1993; LeCompte & Preissle, 1993; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). We present two examples drawn from work in the United States (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) and in Great Britain(Halfpenny, 1979, also cited in Burgess, 1984) to illustratethe contrastive and contentious nature of these dichotomies. The first is the naturalist-positivistdichotomy found in the initial work of Lincoln and Guba (1985) as presented in Figure 1. The second example comes from the work of Halfpenny (1979, also cited in Burgess, 1984) and is represented in the comparison of sociological terms of Figure 2. By drawing attention to these epistemological differences, early qualitative researchers sought to open space for new languages, approaches, and perspectives, thus challenging the dominant paradigms. Through these challenges, researchers identified a range of questions and issues that could, and could not be addressed by previous paradigms;voices that could, and could not be heard; and educational processes and practices that could, and could not be described, interpreted, and articulated. In this way, they made visible the expressive potential of the different research methods and traditions and how the selective nature of those traditions limited

The naturalist-positivistdichotomy
Positivist paradigm Reality is single, tangible, and fragmentable Knower and known are independent, a dualism Time- and context-free generalizations (nomothetic statements) are possible There are real causes, temporally precedent to or simultaneous with their effects Inquiry is value free Naturalistparadigm Realities are multiple, constructed, and holistic Knower and known are interactive, inseparable Only time- and context-bound working hypotheses (idiographic statements) are possible All entities are in a state of mutual simultaneous shaping, so that it is impossible to distinguish causes from effects Inquiry is value bound

The role of values

Evolution of qualitative research methodology the basis for knowledge construction within the educational research community (Strike, 1974; 1989). One inadvertent consequence of this early phase and its dichotomies was a focus on methodology, with less attention to theory-method relationships. Birdwhistell (1977) captured the problematic nature of this separation: I have come to the conclusionthatthe past twenty-five of theoryfrommethodsof years have seen a separation researchprocedure.This tendencybecomes manifestin the choice and analysisof importof problem,in the location of observational isolationof site, in the preliminary data,in the developmentof relevant,consistentand exin the recordingand storplicittechniquesof observation, in of of the orientation rulesof evidence, and, age data, in the of data and methods evidence assessment finally, and presentation thatpermitand assistin orderingreexand research.(pp. 104-105) amination, This recognition of the separation of theorymethod relationships and the need to examine the expressive potential of each research tradition with its methodology marked the onset of the second phase of the critical dialogues. The transformationof the critical dialogues can be seen in the publication of research handbooks and books and journal issues on comparative methods across disciplines within education. Critical dialogues on theory-method relationships: Phase 2 We begin the discussion of the directions in this phase by examining the role of handbooks. These handbooks are of two types. One explores issues of educational research by focusing on general issues of curriculum (Jackson, 1992) or teaching (Gage, 1963; Travers, 1973; Wittrock, 1986). The other type examines methodological issues of teaching and learning in particular disciplines--e.g., reading (Pearson, Kamil, Barr,& Mosenthal, 1991), language arts (Flood, Heath, & Lapp, 1997; Flood, Jensen, Lapp, & Squire, 1991), and science (Gabel, 1994). These handbooks generally include sections on methodology and paradigms for research as well as syntheses of research (e.g., mathematics, science, arts, and reading), thus providing a basis for potentially exploring theory-method relationships. For example, in the Handbook of Research on Teaching (3rd ed., Wittrock, 1986), there was a series of methodological and comparative chapters: Linn (1986) on Methods in Research on Teaching," "Quantitative Erickson (1986) on "QualitativeMethods in Research on Teaching," and Evertson and Green (1986) on "Observationas Inquiry and Method."These chapters show how methodological decisions are framed by particular theoretical orientations that, in turn, have particuFigure 2
Quantitative hard dry fixed abstract explanatory scientific objective deductive hypothesis testing value free rigorous nomothetic atomistic positivist imposes sociological theory empiricist/behaviorist universalistic survey bad good

371 The quantitative-qualitativedichotomy of Halfpenny (1979)

Qualitative soft wet flexible/fluid grounded descriptive/exploratory pre-scientific subjective inductive speculative/illustrative political non-rigorous idiographic holistic interpretivist exposes actors' meanings phenomenological relativistic case study good bad

lar implications for how the phenomena can be observed, recorded, described, interpreted,and explained. Similarly,the newest handbook for literacy educators (Flood, Heath, & Lapp, 1997) includes a broad range of theories and approaches. As a comparative reading of the handbooks makes visible, the choice to engage in research from one perspective precludes asking particular questions, masks particulardimensions of the complex world of educational processes and practices, and constitutes a situated look at the phenomena of interest, regardless of whether qualitative or quantitative methods are used. In contrast, other handbooks focused on research methods, both within and outside the field of education-for example, TheHandbook of Qualitative Research in Education (LeCompte, Millroy,& Preissle, 1992), and TheHandbook of Qualitative Research (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). These handbooks sought to introduce new paradigms and to make visible a range of perspectives and theory-method relationships. One way that we view these handbooks is that they provide a potential public forum for seeing differences among perspectives and approaches. While this forum makes available the diversity of perspectives, it does not necessarily lead to the critical discourse called for by Longino (1993). One notable exception is the chapter by Erickson (1986) in which he explicitly constructs a comparative argument to show why a new language and its associated approach are needed.





Among the changes suggested by Erickson and others (e.g., Bogden & Biklen, 1992; Eisner, 1991; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995; LeCompte & Preissle, 1993; Lincoln & Guba, 1985) was a focus on the emic, or insider, point of view. This call intersects with concerns in teacher education for exploring reflective practice and theory in use (Clandinin & Connelly, 1988; Schon, 1984). The effect of these calls and volumes was to open to question who counts as researcher and what counts as research when researchers count (or not). Erickson's (1986) argument pointed to how changes in intellectual lineage, theoretical commitments, and conceptualization of phenomena led to what Rorty (1989) called new vocabularies or language games. Rorty captured the value of new languages, as well as the problematic nature of trying to talk across languages, when he argued for a philosophy that "does not work piece by piece, analyzing concept after concept, or testing thesis after thesis" (p. 9). Rather,he argues that it works holistically and pragmaticallyby asking the reader to try thinking in a new and different way, or more specifically, to "'tryto ignore the apparently futile traditional questions by substituting the following new and possibly interesting questions.' It does not pretend to have better candidates for doing the same old thing, which we did when we spoke in the old way. Ratherit suggests that we might want to stop doing those things and do something else. But it does not argue for this suggestion on the basis of antecedent criteriacommon to the old and the new language games. For just insofar as the new language really is new, there will be no such criteria"(p. 9). Rorty'sargument suggested that considerations of new and possibly interesting questions, in lieu of futile traditionalquestions, leads researchers to consider the pragmatic value of various vocabularies and the ways these describe and explain phenomena. Erickson's critique of positivist research approaches and his argument for a new perspective, one grounded in interpretive traditions, illustratewhy the new cannot be written in the language of the old. If we now bring these arguments together with the concept of expressive potential, we establish a basis for engaging in the critical discourse called for by Longino (1993). Such a discourse will need to examine what each approach offers, what questions each addresses, and what purpose(s) each seeks to achieve. Critiques of what counts as qualitative research: Phase 3 We have come to understand that at this phase of the historical journey, a critical discourse related to qualitative methodology has emerged, raising questions of

what counts as qualitative research and who counts as qualitative researchers. In this section, we present two sources from this emerging critical discourse that led us to pose these questions. Two articles, each presenting a particularpoint of view on how to define qualitative research and who counts as qualitative researchers, form the center of this discussion-Jacob (1987; 1988) and Wolcott (1992). Jacob, in articles published in the Review of Educational Research(1987) and the Educational Researcher(1988), defined qualitative in terms of the core traditionsthat gave rise to different approaches and theoretical perspectives: human ethnology, ecological psychology, holistic ethnography, cognitive anthropology, ethnography of communication, and symbolic interactionism. These articles, when they were published, gave rise to a range of criticaldiscourses and point-counterpoint discussions across national boundaries (Atkinson, Delamont, & Hammersley, 1988; Buchmann & Floden, 1989;Jacob, 1989; Lincoln, 1989). These dialogues challenged her taxonomy, arguing that it was not inclusive of the full range of qualitative perspectives, particularlyones used by researchersin the U.K. While we find her articles helpful, in that they frame one way of viewing a complex and diffuse field, we view any characterizationor taxonomy as excluding particularperspectives and as being located in a particularhistorical period. Wolcott (1992) in TheHandbook of Qualitative Research in Education attempted to avoid such characterization of perspectives by exploring the interrelatedness among qualitative approaches by examining strategies across disciplines and perspectives. Through the analogy of a many-branched tree, Wolcott provided a visual means to conceptualize the common roots among the many diverse qualitative strategies. In his representation, Wolcott (1992) proposed four different sets of qualitative strategies (i.e., archival, interview, nonparticipant observation, and participantobservation), each forming a branch of a tree that he called qualitative inquiry. In this way, Wolcott was able to move the critical dialogue beyond categorical divisions to an exploration of commonalities and differences among a broad range of qualitative approaches. These critiques, as well as comparative reviews (e.g., Miles & Huberman, 1994; Tesch, 1990), made visible the complexity contained in the label qualitative research. This complexity does not appear to be well understood outside the communities constituting qualitative research, thus contributing in part to the current crisis of confidence facing those engaged in this enterprise. However, for those within the community of qualitative researchers,these critiqueshave been highly productive in the spiritof Longino's arguments (1993). They are

Evolution of qualitative research methodology productive in that they provide a way for such researchers to locate themselves and others in a complex nexus of interconnected, yet diffuse, set of communities engaged in educational research. They are also productive in that they make visible the expressive potential of different approaches and strategies,the languages entailed by the various traditions,and the ranges of questions that can and cannot be posed and addressed by each. Toward an alternative critical discourse: Phase 4 During the period of critique described above, a second body of work exploring multiple perspectives on common data, or on comparing different perspectives to a common problem, also developed. This body of work provided a way of seeing what the differences in perspective or approach make to our understanding of educational phenomena. We identified a range of books and journal articles in which authors explicitly explored the expressive potential of different perspectives, both within qualitative traditions and across multiple theoretical perspectives. We were able to identify a range of illustrativevolumes and articles dedicated to examining differing points of view or theoretical orientations. These volumes examined different perspectives and theoretical traditions grounding literacy research (Beach, Green, Kamil, & Shanahan, 1992), framing discourse analysis of common classroom data sets (e.g., Green & Harker, 1988; Koschmann, in press; van Dijk, 1985), exploring different traditions for the study of narrative(e.g., Casey, 1995; Cortazzi, 1993; Godmundsdottir, 1997; Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995; Kryatzis& Green, 1997), examining ways different theoretical traditions shape the analysis of conceptual change in science teaching contexts (e.g., Guzzetti & Hynd, 1998), exploring current and emerging theoretical frameworks for research on classroom learning (Marshall, 1992; 1996), and comparing theories of child development (Thomas, 1979). These volumes provide illustrations of how the expressive potential of differing traditions can be explored, and the value of comparative work in making this visible. In this section, we present two approaches to comparative work on methodology to illustrate how a comparative approach brings clarity to this complex issue by making visible the expressive potential of each. These articles show how comparative approaches provide ways of understanding how choices among perspectives lead to particularclaims and thus to particular knowledge construction. The articles in Green and Harker (1988) described approaches to discourse analysis used to analyze common data sets. Each section of the book forms a set of planned contrasts. In the first section, three different dis-

373 course traditions were contrasted with the use of a single data set: sociolinguistic (Green, Weade, & Graham, 1988), semantic/propositional analysis (Harker, 1988), and literary/storygrammaranalysis (Golden, 1988). In the second section, differing sociolinguistic approaches to questioning were explored from a single data set (Morine-Dershimer, 1988a, 1988b; Ramirez, 1988; Shuy, 1988; Tenenberg, 1988). In the final section, individual authors or teams of authors used multiple perspectives to examine the same event (Bloome & Theodorou, 1988; Marshall& Weinstein, 1988; Rentel, 1988; Wallat & Piazza, 1988). This volume showed how expressive potential is influenced by the particulartheoretical framework selected, even within a tradition (e.g., sociolinguistics), as well as across traditions (e.g., sociolinguistic, literary,and semantic analyses). These chapters show how different disciplines shape particularquestions, approaches, literature,and claims that, in turn, limit what knowledge about educational processes and practices (e.g., story reading, questioning, writing, spelling, and discussing content across disciplines) can be constructed through each discipline and related approaches. In his monograph on Narrative Analysis, Cortazzi (1993) reviewed different theoretical and methodological perspectives on narrative,exploring what each potentially contributes to the study of teacher narratives. He examined narrativeas it has been used in the study of teaching as well as models of narrativeacross disciplines outside of education: anthropology, literarytheory, psychology, sociology, and sociolinguistics. He concluded the monograph with a description of how he analyzed the narrativesof primaryteachers in a school lunch room. Each chapter on models and approaches described the questions that can be addressed, the problems of interest, the theoretical literature,and the constructs used and provided examples of the different types of analyses and the models of narrativeunderlying or constituted by each. He also drew implications and applications of each tradition or approach for the use of the methods and theories within education, thus making visible the expressive potential of these traditions and their related approaches. These volumes are illustrativeof two growing areas of qualitative research, not all-inclusive. The citations provided at the beginning of this section point to others who contribute to our understanding of the expressive potential of differences within qualitative traditions, or in Wolcott's sense, strategies. Further,we see these volumes as providing a model that goes beyond mere critique of categories. Building on the arguments about the nature of a research language by Rorty (1989) and Strike (1974), this





model can move us to and frame the ongoing critical discourse for which Longino (1993) called. By examining what each tradition makes visible and what it contributes to our understanding of educational phenomena, we lay a foundation for assessing its appropriateness for the question of concern and its contribution to knowledge construction; that is to say, for addressing the criteriafor qualitative research and other forms of educational research as proposed by Howe & Eisenhart (1990). One of the key dimensions of the criteriathey proposed was that an article must be assessed within the tradition used by the authors. The review-within-disciplines approach they proposed had been adopted by journals in recent years across disciplines (e.g., counseling and clinical psychology and literacy) as well as in selection of reviewers for national programs (e.g., American Educational Research Association, National Research Council, and InternationalReading Association).

On what qualitative research contributes: Some key points

While these debates have been ongoing, qualitative research has made contributions to knowledge about educational processes, particularlyin the area of literacy. A description of the full range of the contributions of qualitative research is beyond the scope of this Conversation. However, to illustratethe kinds of contributions that qualitative research has made to our understanding of literacy, we present several findings that have influenced our own work on the relationships of discourse, knowledge construction, and literate practices within and across disciplines. Qualitative research approaches have enabled us to explore and understand systematically and theoretically the local and situated nature of classroom life and how that life is consequential for particularmembers or groups. Specifically, qualitative approaches have provided ways of transcribingand analyzing the discursive construction of everyday events, of examining the consequential nature of learning within and across events, and of exploring the historical nature of life within a social group or local setting. Qualitative research has also provided insights into the emic, or insider, knowledge needed by members of a group to participate in socially and academically appropriate ways. For example, outsiders coming into the classroom or a social situation cannot understand, as members do, what is required; what counts as knowledge; and who has access to what, when, where, and under what conditions. This work has also provided information about why and how miscommunication

among actors occurs, particularlywhen such actors are members of different groups (e.g., administrators-teachers, ethnic groups, genders). Qualitative approaches and the theories guiding them have also made us aware of different voices and the need to consider whose voice will be represented, how, in what ways, and for what purposes. These approaches suggest the need to consider and make visible the voices of particularindividuals, participants,groups, and communities that have traditionallynot been heard. Finally, given the need to examine what people know, understand, and produce within and across local settings, at particularpoints in time, or through particular modes of communication, qualitative research has demonstrated the need to develop grounded understandings of phenomena constructed in and through the everyday actions and activity of people within particular settings (e.g., students' constructs, what counts as knowing, how teacher actions support or constrain the opportunities students have for learning, and what counts as knowing and doing science). For us, then, qualitative research has provided ways for understanding the local and situated nature of everyday life; how this life is consequential for those who are members, as well as those seeking membership; and for exploring how equity of access to academic knowledge and societal resources are locally constructed in and through the actions of people in local settings.

Future directions: A closing and an opening

In this dialogue, we described different phases in the development of qualitative research and briefly considered how qualitative research contributes to our understanding of educational phenomena and processes. We presented this evolution as sets of critical dialogues that have made visible the complex and substantive contributions of the various traditions and perspectives of qualitative researchers. As we argued, the roots for new directions in this dialogue are in place, and a critical discourse as framed by Longino (1993) is crucial for future development. In this concluding section, we suggest why such discourses are needed and who needs to participate in them. One of the groups that needs to engage in such dialogues is the educational research community. As our discussion of the history of qualitative research suggests, just how this discourse will be undertaken, who is part of this community, and what perspectives count are not so evident. As new traditions are created or those from other disciplines are adapted, we need to explore their

Evolution of qualitative research methodology expressive potentials and determine how they contribute to the questions we have within education. For example, as we seek understandings of the potential of recent directions in poststructuralism,postmodernism, deconstruction, feminist theories, and other research perspectives, we will need to understand how they contribute to the study of educational phenomena as well as how they can be applied to educational issues and questions. As part of these dialogues, we will also need to examine how, and in what ways, the different traditions and perspectives might be combined or inform each other. These issues are critical ones within the educational research community if we are to assess the contribution of these different perspectives and research approaches. However, as we argued at the onset of this Conversation, there are other participantswho need to be part of the new directions. Past dialogues, while valuable in building the substantive foundation that currently exists, have not included those outside of education, leading to the current crisis of confidence facing educational research in general, not merely for qualitative researchers. As Stroufe (1997, p. 26) argued in an article on the reputation of educational research, there currently exists a "dissing [disrespecting]of education researchers" by policy makers and governmental agencies. We believe that while some of the dissing is due to political issues, another factor contributing to the dismissal of educational research comes from the lack of inclusion of those outside educational research in the current and past dialogues. In the past, the dialogues have occurred within the educational research community, ignoring other communities that are interested in the value and outcomes of educational research (e.g., policy makers, teachers, administrators,parents, students, legislators). Many of these dialogues appear to those outside the educational research community as unnecessary or as creating a Tower of Babel. By not including such publics in our dialogues, we have missed an important opportunity to help them develop understandings of the contributions of the new perspectives, to explore how these differences among perspectives influence what can be known, and, perhaps most important, to acquire the knowledge and language associated with the different perspectives. In other words, we have not helped them to understand the expressive potential of these new and emerging perspectives, and what they contribute that is important to consider. The current dialogues in various public arenas show that these publics do not understand the value of multiple perspectives; often, according to Stroufe, this leads them to dismiss such research as anecdotal. The

375 response to the lack of inclusion of some members of these publics has been clear. Some policy makers and government agency representatives have promoted a particularview of what counts as scientific research in education. For example, in a recent U.S. congressional session, a particularview of educational research found its way into proposed legislation in the Reading Excellence Bill (HR 2614). In that bill, research that would count for funding educational programs was defined as "replicable and reliable scientific research."This public inscription ignores much of the scholarship on replicability and reliability in science that raises questions about the uses of replication and the extent to which replication exists separate from specific studies under consideration within particularcommunities of practice in each of the sciences (e.g., Barnes & Edge, 1982; Collins, 1985; Jasanoff, Markle, Petersen, & Pinch, 1995; Kelly, Carlsen, & Cunningham, 1993; Tuana, 1989). This definition ignores the work that shows that individual students do not live large-scale, replicable lives. They live local and situated ones. Large-scaleresearch studies mask differences that shape student lives. Further, these actions suggest that the different publics that researchers seek to address are drawing on perspectives and languages that are comfortable to them. Their actions suggest that they may be unaware of or explicitly ignoring the limitations of such work for local communities. This state of affairs suggests that while progress has been made in the acceptance and development of qualitative research, the current context for educational research, and qualitative research in particular,is once again a contested terrain.The contested terrain suggests another reason for continuing the critical dialogues so that we might transformthem from ones of contention to ones in which evidence of the value of each approach or perspective might be examined. This form of critical discourse has the potential of moving beyond arguments about mere methodological difference to arguments that explore the contribution of different perspectives to the complex and dynamic issues facing educators and learners in our culturally and socially diverse world. Such dialogues have the potential for helping those participatingin the discourse to explore how these perspectives shape particularviews of children, teachers, parents, settings, schools, social institutions, culture, class, ethnicity, race, gender, economic conditions, and educational goals and outcomes. Without this information, we will not be able to assess the adequacy and appropriateness of different frameworks for addressing particulareducational issues. Answers to these questions must be considered across all approaches and by all stakeholders, not just by





qualitative researchers, if we are to get beyond the divide that currently separates educational researchers from their publics and understand how and which of these perspectives contribute to the goal of equity of access to education. In the area of literacy, such conversations will allow us to explore what counts as literacy and who counts as literate, when literacy counts (c.f. Heap, 1980; Soares, 1992). REFERENCES
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