Notes On Methodologies

It is important to note that there is always a broad logic or fit that should operate between the research question(s), the methods used to obtain data about the questions, the methodologies which inform the research, the assumptions about the nature of knowledge (epistemology) and even, assumptions about the nature of reality (ontology).

A useful analogy that conveys the notion of fit is that of Russian, Matryoshka or Babushka dolls:


The relationships between methods, methodology, theory, epistemology and ontology is always difficult to get one's head around. A paper that is available online and that you might find useful is by Jonathon Grix1.

A site that covers most of the broad ideas you will be thinking about can be found here.

The three methodologies we will pay some attention to are Grounded Theory, Ethnography, and Narrative research. Broadly speaking these three fall under a broad umbrella of what is commonly called an interpretivist approach to doing educational research. Smith2 offers a useful account that is well worth a read. The journal is available through the library's access to it.

Locating oneself in what must appear to be a confusing swirl of labels, categories, isms, ologies and the like is always difficult. Denzin and Lincoln3 are generally regarded as the authoritative source when it comes to making some sense of the various practices and approaches in educational research. An article4 that critiques this position and offers a useful review/overview is worth reading.

A good online resource for all of these is QDA resource at the University of Huddersfield.

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