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"Stretching" Exercises for Qualitative Researchers

"Stretching" Exercises for Qualitative Researchers

Fourth Edition

August 2015 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In the new Fourth Edition of her inventive, one-of-a-kind book, author Valerie J. Janesick uses dance, yoga, and meditation metaphors to help researchers tap into the intuitive and creative side of their research. In every chapter, “stretching” exercises help readers develop, practice, and hone fieldwork skills and vital habits of mind such as observation, interviewing, writing, creativity, technology, and analysis. While reading the book and working through the exercises, readers can complete a researcher’s reflective journal—an invaluable tool that will remain useful throughout their careers.

Chapter 1. Qualitative Research and Habits of Mind
Identifying, Practicing, and Developing Habits  
Getting Feedback and Writing About It  
Finding Your Theoretical Habit  
Developing Habits of Mind  
Terms Used to Describe Qualitative Research  
Characteristics of Qualitative Work  
Questions Suited to Qualitative Research Methods  
Using Theory in Qualitative Research  
Artistic Approaches to Qualitative Research  
Contemplative Qualitative Inquiry and the Zen of Research  
Why Try These Exercises?  
How to Use This Book  
The Audience for This Book  
Suggested Resources  
Chapter 2. The Observation, Reflection, and Writing Habit
Exercise 2.1: Observing a Still Life Scene  
Description of a Still Life Scene  
Constructing a Researcher Reflective Portfolio  
Types of Portfolios and Assessment  
How the Electronic Portfolio Works  
Portfolio Contents  
Exercise 2.2: Physical Description of This Setting  
Exercise 2.3: Observation in the Home or Workplace  
Exercise 2.4: Description of a Familiar Person or a Stranger  
The Qualities of Exemplary Case Studies  
Exercise 2.5: Observing at an Art Museum or at a Movie  
Exercise 2.6: Observing an Animal at Home, the Zoo, or a Pet Shop  
Exercise 2.7: Drawing to Become a Better Observer: Drawing Upside Down  
Chapter 3. Advancing the Observation, Reflection, and Writing Habit
Exercise 3.1: Nonparticipant Observation Assignment  
Exercise 3.2: Reflecting to Strengthen the Writing Habit  
Exercise 3.3: Writing Your Educational Autobiography  
Exercise 3.4: Writing a Pedagogical Letter  
Next Steps: Self-Evaluation  
Pitfalls in Observation  
Chapter Summary  
Suggested Resources  
Chapter 4. The Interview and Writing Habit
Two People Talking, Communicating, and Constructing Meaning  
Types of Interview Questions  
Preparing Questions  
Examples of Interview Questions From a Recent Study  
Exercise 4.1: Interviewing Someone You Know  
Exercise 4.2: Interviewing a Stranger  
Exercise 4.3: The Oral History Interview  
Exercise 4.4: The Focus Group Interview Demonstration Exercise  
Exercise 4.5: Presenting Interview Data as a Found Data Poem  
Exercise 4.6: Describing Your Role in a Research Project as Identity Poetry  
Exercise 4.7: The Digital, Virtual Interview and Google Groups  
Exercise 4.8: Interviewing Someone Twice  
Exercise 4.9: Practicing an Online Interview  
Conducting Qualitative Interviews: Some Rules of Thumb  
Chapter Summary  
Suggested Resources  
Chapter 5. The Creative Habit
The Role of the Researcher and the Researcher Reflective Journal  
Exercise 5.1: Variations on Writing Your Name  
Exercise 5.2: The Camera as an Extension of the Eye, the Eye as an Extension of the Soul  
Exercise 5.3: Building a Collage: My Role as a Researcher  
Exercise 5.4: Constructing a YaYa Box or Making a Quilt Patch  
The Qualitative Researcher and the Intuitive Sense  
Exercise 5.5: Writing About Your Favorite Vegetable  
Intuition, Creativity, and Compassion in Research  
The Researcher Reflective Journal as Creative Act  
Exercise 5.6: Your Journey  
Future Directions  
Exercise 5.7: Reflective Journal Writing Practice in Dialogue Form  
Exercise 5.8: Haiku and Any Form of Poetry on the Role of the Researcher  
Exercise 5.9: Framed Photograph and Narrative Writing Exercise  
Exercise 5.10: Writing Timeline Exercise  
Chapter Summary  
Suggested Resources  
Chapter 6. The Analysis Habit
The Qualitative Researcher as Contemplative and Mindful  
Checkpoints for Data Analysis, Reporting, and Interpretation  
Various Approaches to Analysis and Interpretation of Data  
Ethics and the Qualitative Researcher  
True Stories: Sample Ethical Dilemmas  
Attributes of the Qualitative Researcher  
Qualitative Researchers Interacting With Institutional Review Boards, IRBs  
Chapter Summary  
Exercise 6.1: Design and Create a Cover for Your Researcher Reflective Journal  
Exercise 6.2: Describe Your Favorite Meal  
Exercise 6.3: Writing About Change in Yourself in Any Five-Year Period  
Chapter 7. The Technology Habit
Benefits for Small-Scale Studies Using Technology  
The Context  
The Power of Skype Interviewing  
Next Steps: Editing Through Audacity  
Transcription With Express Scribe, Dragon, iTalk, iSpeak, and MS Word  
Voice Recognition Software  
Researcher Reflective Portfolios  
Excel as a Text/Data Analysis Tool  
Analysis Strategies From MS Word to MS Excel  
Overall Virtual Interview: From Collection to Analysis  
Electronic Mailing Lists, Websites, Journals, and Software Options  
Exercise 7.1: Conducting and Transcribing a Skype Interview Using Express Scribe for Transcription  
Exercise 7.2: Create a Word Cloud Using Wordle and One With Tagxedo  
Exercise 7.3: Create a Glog, a Poster Online Through Glogster  
Chapter Summary  

"Stretching" Exercises for Qualitative Researchers is an important text, and a must have for qualitative researchers. For my students—and myself—the opportunities to deepen the creative self provide essential tools for broadening our horizons of understanding and approaches to our participants, our work, and ourselves.

Dave Shen-Miller
Bastyr University

Research methods is a rigorous and over-rational man sitting in a pond. People are afraid of him and hold him in awe. No one invites him to dance. But Valerie J. Janesick did, because he saw his emotion, his passion, and his possibility to be a dancer. 

Wenfan Yan
University of Massachusetts, Boston

I loved this book by Janesick, have used it myself and will continue to use it. It is a great book with fantastic insights. I referenced it in class frequently, but the chapters were not practical enough for new graduate students to purchase as a full course text.

Dr Kerstin Roger
Community Health Sciences, Univ Of Manitoba
May 31, 2016
Key features


  • 10 new stretching exercises help qualitative researchers practice the techniques needed to sustain them in the post-modern digital era.
  • An all-new chapter on The Technology Habit includes coverage of Skype, voice recognition software, virtual interviews, and more.
  • New examples clarify narrative writing in its many forms.
  • New examples of sample projects provide exemplars and models for students.
  • Twenty new figures help explain analysis and interpretation.


  • A total of 36 “stretching” exercises challenge readers to practice skills and engage in continuous writing and reflection.
  • In-depth examples of student work illustrate the exercises and demonstrate how other students engaged with the activity and made sense of the data they collected.
  • An emphasis on sharing field experiences, reflections, observations, and narratives with classmates helps develop team-based skills and a sense of community.
  • Data representation through such vehicles as data poetry, identity poetry, and haiku are explained.
  • Chapter-ending summaries provide a useful roadmap of the content.
  • A rich array of helpful appendices include sample projects and consent forms, tips for working with institutional review boards, rules of thumb for conducting interviews, advice on analytical coding, and more.

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