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Paperback 272 pp.
4 photos (1-colour); 6 tables; 1 map, 6" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Qualitative Research in Action

A Canadian Primer, Third Edition

Deborah K. van den Hoonaard

Qualitative Research in Action emphasizes that communication, connection, and flexibility are the cornerstones of qualitative research. Bringing the stages of research to life with a wide array of examples drawn from actual studies, the text guides students through the processes of finding inspiration and developing questions; gathering, coding, and analyzing data; and writing up results.

Readership : Suitable for second- or third-year qualitative research courses, typically offered at the university level.


  • "This text is a wonderful introduction to qualitative research, covering all major facets in a simple, straightforward, and effective manner."
    --Vivian Stamatopoulos, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

  • "If you teach qualitative research methods at a Canadian university, this is the text you want to use."
    --Andreas Tomaszewski, Mount Royal University

Note: Every chapter includes:
- Learning Objectives
- Introduction
- Summary
- Questions for Critical Thought
- Exercises
- In-Class Exercise
- Suggested Readings
- Related Websites
1. Introduction
Qualitative Research
About This Book
2. Asking Questions and Identifying Goals
Underlying Assumptions and the Research Process
The Research Process
Generic Social Processes
How Researchers' Assumptions Affect Their Research Questions
3. Strategies for Designing Research
Origins of Qualitative Studies
Where to Find Ideas for Research Topics
How to Begin Your Own Study
4. Ethics on the Ground: A Moral Compass
Ethical Principles of Research in Canada
Research Involving Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Applying the Principles of Ethics to Qualitative Research
Writing Up Research
5. Observing Social Life through Field Research
Historical Antecedents of Contemporary Fieldwork
Conducting a Field Study
Innovations in Virtual Ethnography
6. In-Depth Interviewing
Standardized Interviews
In-Depth Interviews
Conducting an In-Depth Interview Study
What You Should Do After the Interview
Innovations in Interviewing
7. Focus Groups (NEW!)
Planning Focus Groups
Conducting Focus Groups
Analyzing the Data and Group Interactions
8. Unobtrusive Research
Analyzing Pre-existing Documents
Analyzing Documents of Social Institutions
Analyzing Media Content and Reflections of Reality
Analyzing Physical Objects
Innovations in Research
9. Trust the Process: Analyzing Qualitative Data
Beginning with Memos
Coding Interview Transcripts and Field Notes
Bringing It All Together: From Codes to Generic Social Processes
Innovations in Analysis of Research
10. Writing Up Qualitative Research
Getting Started
Writing Your Report
Matters of Style
Cleaning It All Up
A Word about Plagiarism
Presenting Indigenous Research
Innovations in Presenting Research
Appendix A: Selected List of Qualitative Research Resources
- Studies by Canadian Scholars
- Qualitative Research Resources
Appendix B: Sample Field Notes
Appendix C: Checklist for Writing Research Reports

Instructor's Manual:
- Lecture outline slides
- Sample syllabus
-Evaluation assignments (sample research project, essay topics, case study, etc.)
For each chapter:
- Chapter overview
- List of key terms
- Learning objectives
- Critical thought questions
- Class discussion questions
- Student exercises
- Suggested resources: readings, videos, websites, etc.
PowerPoint Slides:
For each chapter:
- 15-20 lecture outline slides
Test Bank:
For each chapter:
- 5-10 multiple choice questions
- 2-3 short answer questions
- Ethical issues questions
E-Book ISBN 9780199030064

Deborah K. van den Hoonaard is a professor of gerontology at St Thomas University and served as Canada Research Chair for qualitative research and analysis from 2006 to 2016.

Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese
Social Research Methods - Alan Bryman and Edward Bell
Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography - Edited by Iain Hay
The Research Process - Gary D. Bouma, Rod Ling and Lori Wilkinson
Approaches to Social Research - Royce A. Singleton and Bruce C. Straits
SPSS Virtual Teaching Assistant - Hannah Scott
Fundamentals of Qualitative Research - Johnny Saldana
Series Editor Patricia Leavy and Editor-in-chief Natasha Beretvas
The Methods Coach - Lance W. Roberts, Karen Kampen and Tracey Peter
Approaches to Qualitative Research - Edited by Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Patricia Leavy
Social Statistics in Action - Andrea M. Noack
An Introduction to Statistics for Canadian Social Scientists - Michael Haan and Jenny Godley
Understanding Social Statistics - Lance W. Roberts, Jason Edgerton, Tracey Peter and Lori Wilkinson
The Statistics Coach - Lance W. Roberts, Tracey Peter and Karen Kampen
Simple Statistics - Terance D. Miethe and Jane Florence Gauthier

Special Features

  • Canadian research and examples help students understand how qualitative methods have shaped sociological research in this country.
  • Expert advice and helpful tips based on the author's years of experience as a researcher offer students proven ways to tackle challenging research situations.
  • Part of the well-regarded Themes in Canadian Sociology series, known for its clear and concise approach to current research and trends in the discipline.
  • Comprehensive introduction to the basic tools of qualitative research, such as field studies, interviews, unobtrusive research, and document analysis.
  • Thorough coverage of research ethics challenges students to engage with the principles of research ethics: respect for persons, concern for human welfare, and justice.
  • Critical thinking questions encourage students to consider key issues during each step of the research process.
  • Suggested in-class exercises help students practice what they have learned and promote discussion and engagement with the material.
  • An engaging writing style draws students into the exciting challenge of doing good qualitative research.
New to this Edition
  • A new chapter on focus groups covers essential skills, such as planning and conducting focus groups and analyzing focus group data. (Ch. 7)
  • Enhanced Indigenous content throughout examines Indigenous methodologies, ethics, and practices, allowing students to gain a better perspective of the qualitative research landscape in Canada.
  • Innovations in Research sections appear throughout the text rather than in a separate chapter (formerly Ch. 8), discussing contemporary methods such as virtual ethnography; innovations in photo elicitation; visual sociology, internet research, and researching in the blogosphere; discourse and narrative analysis; and autoethnography and ethnodrama.