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Journal cover: Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1746-5648

Online from: 2006

Subject Area: Organization Studies

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A researcher's tale: dealing with epistemological divergence

Document Information:
Title:A researcher's tale: dealing with epistemological divergence
Author(s):Janet Bryant, (Swinburne University of Technology, Lilydale, Australia), Barbara Lasky, (Swinburne University of Technology, Lilydale, Australia)
Citation:Janet Bryant, Barbara Lasky, (2007) "A researcher's tale: dealing with epistemological divergence", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 2 Iss: 3, pp.179 - 193
Keywords:Narratives, Qualitative research, Research methods
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/17465640710835346 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The paper's purpose is to explore a theoretical and methodological dilemma.

Design/methodology/approach – Commencing doctoral research, and committed to an orthodox grounded theory approach, a unique story was uncovered which, to do it and the research justice, required an alternative form of representation. Intuition decreed that this should be narrative. However, grounded theory and narrative entail epistemologically and ontologically incommensurate paradigms. The paper seeks to consider whether inclusion of the unique story would compromise, or subvert, the already emergent grounded theory. An exploration of the relationship between different epistemological and ontological traditions is also to be made, based on the assumption that method “slurring,” and a more eclectic approach to using incommensurate paradigms, may be valuable.

Findings – In transcribing and coding data using strictly orthodox grounded theory methods, the researcher runs the risk of “stripping” the research story of some critical dimension(s). However, combining a narrative approach with that of grounded theory, the paper allows for the representation of an atypical “Maverick” case, along-side other more typical cases.

Originality/value – The paper points out, to the early career qualitative researcher in particular, that it is legitimate to combine seemingly incommensurate methodologies, notably where not to do so would result in the loss of enriching and powerful insights into basic social processes.

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