Interpretive research puts the meaning-making of those studied at the center of a research project. Guided often by an abductive logic of inquiry, such research is commonly not driven by formal hypotheses or variables. Based on a constructivist ontology and an intersubjectivist (or constructivist) epistemology, interpretive research generates data through talk, observation, and/or document selection and analyzes them through a wide array of methods, including category analysis, discourse analysis, genealogy, metaphor analysis, story-telling analysis, etc. This introductory workshop explains the vocabulary, processes, and evaluative standards consistent with the interpretive emphasis on meaning-making. We will begin with a comparison of interpretive to positivist (variables-based) methodologies and methods, emphasizing the value of methodological pluralism for the study of human societies. Overall, the goals of workshop include:
- Cultivation of the ability to explain what constitutes an interpretive approach to social science research and its contributions to knowledge;
- Completion of two hands-on data-generation exercises in order to bring these abstract ideas to life for participants; and
- Interactive discussion of research design and practice as raised by workshop participants.