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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
December 11, 2015
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.

Sage College Publishing

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