Pursuing Excellence In Qualitative Inquiry

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Qualitative Psychology


Psychological science is now in a period of major transition. After almost a century of dominance by a foundational view of empirical science, a new pluralism is sweeping the field. We witness the rapid and global expansion of perspectives, visions, and goals of inquiry. Partly owing to the traditional distinction between quantitative and qualitative research, these pluralistic pursuits are typically gathered under the qualitative umbrella. As I will first propose, the criteria of excellence applicable to traditional empirical research are mistakenly applied to most forms of qualitative inquiry. Furthermore, because of their differing ontologies, epistemologies, and aims of inquiry, there are no adequate criteria of excellence applicable across the qualitative spectrum. Thus explored is the emergence and sustainability of criteria within communities of practice. Within such communities, criteria of excellence become evident. At the same time, when criteria are solidified, their rigorous application is inimical to the well-being of the field and its contributions to society. Discussions of excellence ultimately may profit from an orientation of reflective pragmatism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)