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Collecting and analyzing qualitative data: Hermeneutic principles, methods and case examples

Patterson, Michael E.; Williams, Daniel R. 2002. Collecting and analyzing qualitative data: Hermeneutic principles, methods and case examples. Advances in Tourism Applications Series, Volume 9. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing, Inc. 127 p.

Over the past three decades, the use of qualitative research methods has become commonplace in social science as a whole and increasingly represented in tourism and recrearion research. In tourism, for example, Markwell and Basche (1998) recently noted the emergence of a pluralistic perspective on science and the growth of research employing qualitative frameworks. Similarly in recreation, a recent analysis of the Journal of Leisure Research indicated that 28% of the articles from 1992-1996 employed qualitative approaches, compared to only 1.5% for the period 1978-1982 (Weissinger, Henderson, and Bowling, 1997). At the same time, however, these disciplines have struggled with the ability to define and communicate the underlying philosophy and principles by which qualitative research is conducted or evaluated in a peer-review process. Although the Journal of Leisure Research published a special issue on the philosophy science noting that the recreation and leisure literature has been largely uninformed by the philosophy of science and encouraging us to engage in a dialogue on this issue (Sylvester, 1990; Weissenger, 1990), such a discussion has been slow in emerging. In fact, a recent paper in Leisure Sciences expressed a qualitative researcher's increasing discomfort with the nature of the qualitative research published in these disciplines (Dupius, 1999). Similarly in tourism, while noting the re-emergence of qualitative approaches in research over rhe last 20 years, Walle (1997) recently suggested that the discipline needs to draw upon the experience of closely associated social science disciplines, such as consumer behavior and social anthropology, where the contemporary discussions of alternative methodologies are more advanced than those currently found in tourism. Overall then, despite the increased prevalence of research conducted using qualitative approaches in recreation and tourism, discussions of the principles that should guide this research lags behind other social science disciplines. Yet if we are to ensure that the increasing number of qualitative studies achieve the promise of new and different types of insights rather than becomes merely a weak repetition of the types of understandings already realized by more traditional approaches, the underlying philosophy and principles that guide the practice of specific qualitative approaches to science need to be more clearly communicated.

Keywords: qualitative research, hermeneutic principles, tourism

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Collecting and analyzing qualitative data: Hermeneutic principles, methods and case examples
Electronic Publish Date: February 25, 2008
Last Update:
February 25, 2008

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