ERIC Number: ED334060
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Variables Influencing the Meaning of Labels in Qualitative Research.
Spector, Barbara S.; Glass, Merton L.
This study sought to identify the variables which influence the meanings of labels used by science education researchers doing qualitative research. In a qualitative emergent design study, participant observation, informal interviews, and document review were used to gather and analyze data in recurring cycles. Presentations and discussions among qualitative researchers at National Association for Research in Science Teaching conferences and Journal of Research in Science Teaching articles were the primary data source. Secondary data sources included qualitative research methodology articles from other areas of education, philosophy, and the social sciences. The glossaries generated from the meetings and the readings were compared for clues to relationships among the ways various authors used labels and for the variable that influenced the way the labels were used. A concept of a research tradition played a dominant role in developing the emergent model. A theoretical model of variables that influence the meanings science education researchers construct for labels in qualitative research emerged and consisted of the: (1) pluralistic nature of qualitative research; (2) research traditions from philosophy and the social sciences; (3) societal paradigm shift and its impact; (4) debate between quantitative and qualitative researchers; and (5) multiple applications of qualitative research in science education. The model suggests that the criteria for acceptance of the meaning of a label be the label's congruence with the context of the tradition in which it is used rather than its consistence with an isolated definition. A 50-item bibliography is provided. (KR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Lake Geneva, WI, April 7-10, 1991).