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Qualitative Methods for Family Studies and Human Development

Qualitative Methods for Family Studies and Human Development

February 2007 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Daly has crafted one of the most accessible, comprehensive, and functional texts in research methods that students, scholars, and practitioners concerned with understanding family and development will immensely appreciate."
Carla L. Fisher, The Pennsylvania State University

"I love this book! It is thoroughly excellent—accessible and clear. … What an accomplishment: an inviting research methods book written with intelligence and humility—makes you want to dive right into your next research project."
—Katherine R. Allen, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This book is a masterpiece. Kerry Daly has written the finest and most profound volume on qualitative research available in print. From the opening chapter to the last, it is clear that we are in the hands of a master scholar who brings great depth and wisdom to his work. . . . A tour de force by any standard.
—David Dollahite, Brigham Young University

Qualitative Methods for Family Studies and Human Development serves as a step-by-step, interdisciplinary, qualitative methods text for those working in the areas of family studies, human development, family therapy, and family social work. Providing a systematic outline for carrying out qualitative projects from start to finish, author Kerry J. Daly uniquely combines epistemology, theory, and methodology into a comprehensive package illustrated with specific examples from family relations and human development research.

Key Features:

  • Outlines different analytic procedures: The most commonly used methodological traditions are covered, including ethnography, interpretive phenomenology, grounded theory methodology, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, and participatory action research.
  • Offers examples from both hypothetical and actual research studies: Attention is given to the unique challenges associated with qualitative research on couples and families, ethics procedures, and credibility issues.
  • Allows readers to make informed choices within clear guidelines: Balances breadth of topic coverage with sufficient detail to equip students to make informed decisions about methodologies and to be able to design and implement a qualitative research project.
  • Cultivates good perceptual skills: Several pedagogical text boxes, tips and guidelines for data collection, examples, and illustrations encourage students to reflect on their own preferences, values, and experiences.

Chapter 1: Qualitative Research and the Art of Learning to See
Learning to See

The Paradox of Learning to See

Paradox of Control and our Ability to See

Lessons From the Art World: Positioning Ourselves to See Fully

Drawing Informs Research: The Cultivation of Perceptual Skills

Chapter 2: Epistemological Considerations in Qualitative Research


Epistemology and Paradigms: Implications for Doing Qualitative Research

Chapter 3: Paths of Inquiry for Qualitative Research



Induction, Deduction and Abduction in Practice: Cycles of Inquiry

Chapter 4: Ontology of the Human Realm: Theoretical Foundations for Qualitative Inquiry
Ontology and the Nature of Human Reality

Ontological Assumptions About Human Development

Ontological Assumptions About Families

Ontology Shapes Inquiry

Chapter 5: Methodology: How Theory Shapes Inquiry
Ethnography and the Study of Culture

Phenomenology: The Study of Conscious Experience

Grounded Theory Methodology

Narrative Inquiry: The Study of Story

Critical Approaches: The Tradition of Feminist Inquiry and the Example of Participatory Action Research

Chapter 6: Methods of Data Collection and Creation


Focus Groups

Chapter 7: Research design: Constructing a Research Proposal
What Kind of Chef Are You?

Level I: Philosophical and Methodological Positioning

Level II: Developing a Research Proposal

Overview of the Research Plan: Practical Considerations

Chapter 8: Positioning the Self: Role Considerations and the Practices of Reflexivity
Dimensions of Reflexive Practice

Why Do We Do Reflexivity?

Reflexivity in Family Research

Reflexivity and Social Positioning

Balancing Vulnerability and Researcher Presence

Chapter 9: Analytical Strategies
What is Analysis in Qualitative Research?

Analysis for What?

Transcription as Part of Analysis

Analytic Approaches in Various Methodologies

The Diamond Approach: A Theory Development Model for Qualitative Data Analysis

Chapter 10: Integrity Practices: Ethics, Credibility and Politics of Conducting Qualitative Research
Ethical Guidelines

Informed Consent

Protecting Participants Through Confidentiality and Anonymity


Credibility issues



"Daly has crafted one of the most accessible, comprehensive, and functional texts in research methods that students, scholars, and practitioners concerned with understanding family and development will immensely appreciate."

Carla L. Fisher
The Pennsylvania State University
Journal of Family Communication

I have adopted this book as an eseential text for this course. It gives both a good overview of the different research methods and also raises critical issues about using qualitative methods for family research

Ms Clarissa Sammut Scerri
Psychology , University of Malta
October 6, 2012

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