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ERIC Number: ED284874
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Qualitative Approaches to Evaluating Education.
Fetterman, David M.
This paper explores the variety of qualitative methods available, in the context of a larger quantitative-qualitative debate in the field of educational evaluation. Each approach is reviewed in terms of the work of its major proponents. The dominant forms of qualitative evaluation include: (1) ethnography; (2) naturalistic inquiry; (3) generic pragmatic (sociological) inquiry; and (4) connoisseurship/criticism. The last approach differs from the first three in deriving from an artistic conception of the teacher's role in the classroom, as opposed to science-based conceptions stressing the discovery of behavioral laws operating in educational settings. One example of a qualitative study is discussed: a national ethnographic evaluation of a program for dropouts. New developments in methods include phenomenography, the mapping of the qualitatively different ways people experience and think about phenomena, as well as various metaphors for educational research and evaluation derived by analogy with other fields such as law, journalism, and economics. The growth of qualitative approaches is considered as a sign of greater ecumenism of methods and a possible paradigm shift in the qualitative direction. A five-page reference list concludes the document. (LPG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987). Document contains light type.