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Understanding and Evaluating Qualitative Educational Research

Understanding and Evaluating Qualitative Educational Research

April 2010 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Illustrating the techniques of qualitative research to help readers learn to read, analyze, and design studies themselves

Taking a well-rounded and practical look at qualitative educational research, this book focuses on the diverse ways that qualitative researchers design their studies, and illustrates the wide range of techniques with myriad examples. Each example within a category of qualitative research—ethnography, grounded theory, phenomenology, case study, action research, narrative, and mixed methods—is accompanied by commentary from the editor regarding the particular approach used. The text concludes with an "Issues and Concepts" section that addresses issues that are at the forefront of this rapidly changing field.

Key Features

  • Distinguishes among major qualitative research approaches to help readers connect qualitative methods with completed research studies
  • Shows students how to read, analyze, and design their own qualitative research studies
  • Covers current issues in qualitative educational research

High-Quality Ancillaries

An open-access student study site at provides access to articles.

Includes Articles From the Following Journals
Action Research
American Educational Research Journal
American Journal of Medical Quality
Community College Review
The Counseling Psychologist
Educational Researcher
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies
Journal of Mixed Methods Research
Journal of Research in Nursing
The Journal of School Nursing
NASSP Bulletin
Organizational Research Methods
Qualitative Health Research
Qualitative Inquiry
The Qualitative Report
Qualitative Research
Qualitative Social Work
Television & New Media

Part I: Qualitative Research Approaches
Chapter 1: Reading Ethnography
Chapter 2: Reading Grounded Theory
Chapter 3: Reading Phenomenology
Chapter 4: Reading Case Studies
Chapter 5: Reading Action Research
Chapter 6: Reading Narrative
Chapter 7: Reading Mixed Methods
Part II: Issues at the Forefront of the Qualitative Research Field
Chapter 8: Clarifying Research Approaches
Chapter 9: Qualitative Research in the New Millennium
Chapter 10: Standards of Evidence
Chapter 11: Review Boards, Research Ethics, and Academic Freedom
Chapter 12: Writing Up Results
Chapter 13: Reflexivity
Chapter 14: Negotiating Through Graduate School
Epilogue: Reading, Writing, and Thinking About Qualitative Research
About the Author

"I very much appreciated Understanding and Evaluating Qualitative Educational Research as a resource to help those new to educational research to understand what the different approaches are and how they can be critiqued through the research literature. 
Lichtman’s approach to the problem of enabling neophyte researchers (although often experienced in professional practice as educators) is to choose two examples from the research literature which exemplify a particular approach. Each chapter provides an overview of the approach and then the two articles which she critiques by a running commentary alongside each article. I found this format very helpful. She has chosen articles which do not necessarily provide a ‘best practice’model and this helps the reader begin to identify what information is missing, what is contentious and how particular approaches have specific discourses and ways of examining the world. 
This book provides a gentle way to examine paradigms and methodologies and it will certainly be one that I recommend to my students and colleagues."

Yvonne Hillier
Higher Education Review
Higher Education Review, Vol 43, No 2, 2011. ISSN 0018-1609.

The friendly, accessible tone of the book invites otherwise intimidated students to engage with qualitative research. Reading Dr. Lichtman's personal notes alongside the text provides support in understanding concepts that might have been overlooked by the novice. It is as if the reader has a personal "professor" guiding them through this new territory.

The book is also easy to navigate. The author clearly prepared readers for what was to come by previewing each chapter, explaining the organization of each chapter as well as the book itself. The references utilized in writing this book include the heroes of the qualitative world, such as Lincoln, Creswell, and Denzin.

Knowing that the readers of this book are most likely students, the author gives advice regarding how to inject life into the writing of research and encourages the use of engaging, stimulating communication skills. Students are even provided sage advice for navigating through graduate school.

Debra Phillips
Texas A&M University

Good range of qualitative methodologies; effective resource in helping students learn how to read qualitative research articles critically

Dr Kaela Jubas
Education , University of Calgary
December 10, 2010

Clear description of qualitative approaches.

Dr Tevni Grajales
Educational Couns Psych Dept, Andrews University - Michigan
October 27, 2010

The use of research articles to critique the models of quali research provides doctoral students with strong examples of how/why/specific designs were used to explore issues.

Dr Georgia Johnson
Interdiscipline , University of Idaho
October 25, 2010

A clearly written, logically set out text suitable for students of varying abilities. Really strong and very accessible sections tend to be towards the start of the text.
I will monitor my student's use of Lichtman's book and report back at a later date

Dr Gordon Mellor
School of Education, Bedfordshire University
October 5, 2010

For instructors

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This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.