You are on page 1of 20

Virgil Notes

Lincoln, Yvonna S., & Guba, Egon G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE
Publications, Inc.
Preface, 7-12
7 Today we live in the age of science. The eternal questions are best answered it is asserted, by putting
queries directly to Nature and letting Nature itself answer. [As this book was written in 1985, I think that this
is a fair statement. It seems that today, little has changed except that the social sciences are more in line with
the new naturalism of this book and there have been shifts in the hard sciences.]
When discussing Naturalistic Inquiry and referring to a definition by Edwin P. Willems, they state, What is
salient to us is that, first, no manipulation on the part of the inquirer is implied, and, second, the inquirer
imposes no a priori units on the outcome. Naturalistic investigation is what the naturalistic investigator does,
and these two tenets are the prime directives. p. 8
Ch. 1: Postpositivism and the naturalist paradigm, 14-46.
The 4 truths
Truth4 the empirical truth of science a claim is true if it is consistent in nature.
Truth3 logical truth a claim is true if it is logically consistent with another claim known to be true.
Truth2 ethical truth a claim is true if the person who asserts it is acting in conformity with accepted
standards of conduct.
Truth1 metaphysical truth cannot be tested against some external standard. It is a basic belief about whose
truth must be taken for granted.
When a systematic set of beliefs or truths are joined with an accompanying method, it is referred to as a
paradigm in this book.
Patton, Michael Quinn (1978). Utilization-focused evaluation. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, p.203
A paradigm is a world view, a general perspective, a way of breaking down the complexity of the real world.
As such, paradigms are deeply embedded in the socialization of adherents and practitioners: paradigms tell them
what is important, legitimate, and reasonable. Paradigms are also normative, telling the practitioner what to do
without the necessity of long existential or epistemological consideration. But it is this aspect of paradigms that
constitutes both their strength and their weakness their strength in that it makes action possible, their
weakness in that the very reason for action is hidden in the unquestioned assumptions of the paradigm.
16 Since all theories and other leading ideas of scientific history, have, so far, been shown to be false and
unacceptable, so surely will any theories that we expound today. [I disagree. Please argue convincingly to me
that the sun is not hot by a reasonable human measure accepting that there is a reality and Im not just
imagining this whole thing.]
Second and true caveat is that theories are remarkably immune to change. We fight to keep out theories by
altering them in the slightest possible way to accommodate new data. 17 the loosely coupled nature of
theories makes it possible for scientists to squirm mightily before giving up a theory (or a paradigm). Any
conflicting fact can be accommodated by making adjustments elsewhere in the system.
A look at eras
The Prepositivist era From the time of Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) to Pre-Hume (1711-1776)

If we intervened, it was unnatural, and so distorted what might be learned. We should be a passive observer.
The Positivist Era Positive evaluation of science and the scientific method. Began in the early 19th century,
particularly in the Vienna Circle of Logical Positivists.
23 quoting Harre (1981) According to positivism a science should be taken as no more than a well-attested
body of rules for predicting the future course of observation.
Leads to an inadequate conceptualization of what science is.
o We need to keep in mind the context of discovery and the context of justification. T3 and T4 take
too strong a precedence.
o Predisposition to prediction and control without a concentrating enough on understanding.
[While I think that is generally the case, it is overstated]
Unable to deal adequately with two crucial and interacting aspects of the theory-fact relationship
o Underdetermination or the problem of induction.
26 Deductions are closed but inductions are open. Thus there is always a larger number of
theories that can fit observations more or less adequately. Hence there cannot be convergence, no
ultimate conclusions [But the same would hold true for any theories not matter how they are
arrived at. The point is to be able to adequately argue one theory over another. In some cases, in
science, wrong theories were argued more strongly than correct ones, leading to a lag between
realization and acceptance. The same is probably true in naturalistic inquiry.]
o the apparent impossibility of having facts that are not themselves theory-determined. Can
you have an observational language that is not a theoretical language as well? [I agree that you
probably cannot easily do this. At the same time, does it matter? Im not convinced that this
necessarily leads to circular logic. If observation is within a theoretical language, then we need
to be willing to accept apparent paradox as a weakness of the theory and seek for improvement
upon that theory. This is not a weakness, but a necessity of seeking an answer. The fact that
many waver on this possibility in practice is a limitation of man and not method.]
Overly dependent on operationalism.
o Too much consideration of fact and not enough of meanings or implications. [Once again, I
disagree. I agree however that positivism is over-burdened by operationalism and the reporting
of facts. It may be, however, that it simply takes centuries of facts before a clear implication can
be seen. I think that one critique that is spelled out better later in the book but not here is that
positivism breaks up the world into micro parts that are themselves not partial to reality. If we
break up something too much, it loses its context and meaning. However, if we eventually
understand all of the parts and can find a theory for putting them together, then we are in effect
conducts a naturalistic positivism, whereby many facts are later put into a theory. The system
o Argues that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle [which is relied upon way too much herein]
demonstrates against determinism. [But that is all a point of view. Is it that we determine the
reality upon our execution, or are we merely revealing reality by our execution. I think that one
problem that positivism suffers from in practice that relates though is the overdependence on A
or B, without AB being a possibility.
o Can everything ultimately be subjected to a single set of laws? [I think that it might possibly be
so, given a set of laws where at some point a random assignment is possible. In other words, can
free will exist. Yes. Im not convinced that all positivists are against this assertion (but many
surely are). Im also not convinced that you cannot be a positivist and yet believe that there are
non-reductionable items so to speak.]
Positivism has produced research with human respondents that ignores their humanness

o Definitely agree that this has both ethical and validity implications.
o The human condition is simply not reducable to an acceptable level. [This is one reason why I
follow many naturalistic methods when conducting human research, although I am technically
not a naturalist. In other words, use the method that applies best or provides the most knowledge
from the system you are choosing to study.
Postivism falls short of being able to deal with emergent conceptual/empirical formulations from a
variety of fields.
o [True of any paradigm that I know of at the moment though]
Postivism rest on at least assumptions that are difficult to maintain.
o That there is a single tangible reality out there that can be broken into pieces and studies. [The
second part is what makes this difficult. Can we break something into pieces when we dont
understand the whole enough to know which pieces to take for instance? Possibly, but it may
take millennia to fully understand in any case.]
o Epistemological assumption that you can separate the observer from the observed the knower
from the known. [In many cases, simply not possible, but in many cases, this is possible
physically. Can we separate our paradigmatic beliefs away from our research is a challenge.]
o Assumption of the temporal and contextual independence of observations. [I dont think that this
assumption is held today by many scientific researchers. It is instead something that you try to
control for in experimental design. On the human level, Im not sure that it is possible to control
for it though even close to adequately.]
o Assumption of linear causality. No effects without causes. [I believe that this is definitely a
problem with positivism. I am not a full positivist though. For example, I believe in God and
there cannot be a cause for the existence of God, yet He exists. Most positivists would argue that
a thing cannot just happen. Can there be an accident? Can complexity be broken down to a
point where random doesnt exist any more? Im not sure that it can or even should.]
o An axiological assumption of value freedom. [Once again, I think that many hard scientists
accept that they do bring in their values and try to control for them. There is a degree of value
freedom rejection. Surely, I agree that to assume that you can naturally be free of value in an
experimental design is probably not true.]

The PostPositivist Era (so new it doesnt even have its own name yet)
Hesse, Mary (1980). Revolutions and reconstructions in the philosophy of science. Bloomington, IN: Indiana
University Press., p 172-173. [p. 29-30 here]
Parelleling the five points of the [Habermas] dichotomy [of natural and human sciences], we can summarize
this post-empiricist account of natural science as follows:
1. In natural science data is not detachable from theory, for what count as data are not determined in the
light of some theoretical interpretation, and the facts themselves have to be reconstructed in the light of
interpretation. [contrary to objectivity]
2. In natural science theories are not models externally compared in nature to a hypothetico-deductive
schema, they are the way the facts themselves are seen. [contrary to h-d theory]
3. In natural science the law-like relations asserted of experience are internal, because what we count as
facts are constituted by what the theory says about their interrelations with one another. [contrary to
external law-like relations]
4. The language of natural science is irreducibly metaphorical and inexact, and formalizable only at the
cost of distortion of the historical dynamics of scientific development and of the imaginative
reconstructions in terms of which nature is interpreted by science. [contrary to exact and formal
language, but at the same time bypassing the fact that all language is formalizable in some ways]
5. Meanings in natural science are determined by theory; they are understood by theoretical coherence
rather than by correspondence with facts. [contrary to separation of facts and meaning.]

30 Where positivism is atomistic, the new paradigm is structural. Where positivism establishes meaning
operationally, the new paradigm establishes meaning inferentially [which is simply a different operation
though]. Where positivism sees its central purpose to be prediction, the new paradigm is concerned with
understanding [of course, it is easier to get funding when you can predict something as a result of research].
Finally, where positivism is deterministic and bent on certainty, the new paradigm is probabilistic and
speculative [Although probabilistic can apply to both].
6 arguments in favor or postpositivism [in human research] by Heron, John. (1981). Philosophical basis for a
new paradigm. In Peter Reason & John Rowan (Eds.), Human inquiry: A sourcebook of new paradigm
research. New York: John Wiley.
1. Researchers cannot define one model of behavior for themselves and another for respondents. If our
behavior is one of intelligent self-direction, then too must be the respondent.
2. Was intention of the respondent the same as the interpretation by the researcher?
3. When human beings communicate, they must agree on the language to be employed.
4. 31 Heron notes that while science as a product takes the form of a set of propositional statements, the
process of scientific inquiry involves not only propositional knowledge but also practical knowledge
(the skills, proficiencies, or knacks of doing research) and experiential knowledge (knowing a person
or thing through sustained encounters).
5. Procedural norms should depend on shared values between researcher and respondent.
6. Knowledge as power that can be used against the people from whom the knowledge was gained.
Postpositivism as a new axiomatic system
33 Axioms may be defined as the set of undemonstrated (and undemonstratable) basic beliefs accepted by
convention or established by practice as the building blocks of some conceptual or theoretical structure or
[The next few pages discuss the axioms of geometry and a 180 degree triangle in terms of Lobachevskian
triangles. Here is the problem. Is this not a way of explaining the unknown without changing the theory (the
resistance to change argument from above). In other words, if the 180 degree triangle wont fit the data under
what we believe to be true, lets change the 180 degree triangle rather than the theories we are working with
even though what we are changing is a completely theoretical alteration of another theory.]
Their crucial points about axioms
1. Arbitrary and may be assumed for any reason, even if only for the sake of argument.
2. Not self-evidently true, nor need they appear to be so. [but often the case]
3. The utilities of an axiom system are not determined by the nature of the system, but by the interactions
of the system and the characteristics of the application. In other words, if we change the context
enough, we can change the axiom system.
4. A system and an axiom are fit through testing. [Seems to say the same thing as 3 but in different
Table 1.1 Contrasting Positivist and Naturalist Axioms
Axioms About
Positivist Paradigm
The nature of reality
Reality is single, tangible, and
The relationship of the knower and Knower and known are
the known
independent, a dualism.
The possibility of generalization
Time- and context-free
generalizations (nomothetic
statements) are possible.

Naturalist Paradigm
Realities are multiple, constructed,
and holistic.
Knower and known are interactive,
Only time- and context-bound
working hypotheses (Idiographic
statements) are possible.

The possibility of causal linkages

There are real causes, temporally

precedent to or simultaneous with
their effects.

The role of values

Inquiry is value-free.

All entities are in a state of mutual

simultaneous shaping, so that it is
impossible to distinguish causes
from effects.
Inquiry is value-bound.

Implications for research 14 characteristics of operational naturalistic inquiry justified by their logical
dependence on the axioms above and by their coherence and interdependence.
1. 39 Natural setting. N (the naturalist) elects to carry out research in the natural setting or context of
the entity for which study is proposed because naturalistic ontology suggests that realities are wholes
that cannot be understood in isolation from their contexts, nor can they be fragmented for separate study
of the parts
2. Human instrument. N elects to use him- or herself as well as other humans as the primary datagathering instruments required for mutual shaping.
3. p. 40 - Utilization of tacit knowledge. N argues for the legitimation of tacit (intuitive, felt) knowledge in
addition to propositional knowledge (knowledge expressible in language form) because often the
nuances of the multiple realities can be appreciated only in this way; because much of the interaction
between investigator and respondent or object occurs at this level; and because tacit knowledge mirrors
more fairly and accurately the value patterns of the investigator.
4. Qualitative methods. more adaptable to multiple realities [not sure true]. More open to mutual
shaping and exposing the relationship of the researcher to the respondent. [presupposes a respondent]
5. Purposive sampling. N is likely to eschew random or representative sampling in favor of purposive or
theoretical sampling because he or she thereby increases the scope or range of data exposed (random or
representative sampling is likely to suppress more deviant cases) [doesnt necessarily increase the scope
since it is often used for the purpose of concentrating on a specific case which in fact limits scope, but
on purpose] as well as the likelihood that the full array of multiple realities will be uncovered; and
because purposive sampling can be pursued in ways that will maximize the investigators ability to
devise grounded theory [or biased theory] that takes adequate account of local conditions, local mutual
shaping, and local value (for possible transferability}. [this whole argument here and later on is weak
and fails to recognize bias and politics. If anything, using purposive sampling is a weakness comparably
and is often conducted out of convenience and availability rather than the reasons purported here.]
6. Inductive data analysis
7. 41 Grounded theory. N prefers to have the guiding substantive theory emerge from (be grounded in
the data because no a priori theory could possibly encompass the multiple realities that are likely to be
encountered [but plausibility?]; because believing is seeing and N wishes to enter his transactions with
respondents as neutrally as possible [as if other science does not?]; because a priori theory is likely to be
based on a priori generalizations, which, while they may make nomothetic sense, may nevertheless
provide a poor ideographic fit to the situation encountered [accepted]because the mutual shapings
found in a particular context may be explicable only in terms of the contextual elements found there; and
because grounded theory is more likely to be responsive to contextual values (and not merely to
investigator values).
8. Emergent design. [Assumes that other methods do not allow for flexibility or change due to results]
9. Negotiated outcomes. N prefers to negotiate meanings and interpretations with the human source from
which the data [assumes human source] have chiefly been drawn because it is their constructions of
reality that the inquirer seeks to reconstruct [even if their constructions are false beliefs and fail to see
their own bias?]; because inquiry outcomes depend upon the nature and quality of the interaction
between the knower and the known [not lacking without negotiation], epitomized in negotiations about
the meaning of data; because the specific working hypotheses that might apply in a given context are
best verified and confirmed by the people who inhabit that context [and if they dont agree you can
chalk it up to their own misinterpretation and thus still be open to a strong researcher bias, so this
argument is really not going anywhere]; because respondents are in a better position to interpret the
complex mutual interactions shapings that enter into what is observed [why?]; and because

respondents can best understand and interpret the influence of local value patterns [the only statement
that I think is really true but it assumes that this is not already accounted for during an interview process,
or to put it another way, we need this to help out the poor interviewer who doesnt allow for this during
the process.]
10. Case study reporting mode. more adaptable, provides for naturalistic generalizations, and [p.42] it
is suited to demonstrating the variety of mutually shaping influences present; and because it can picture
the value positions of investigator, substantive theory, methodological paradigm, and local contextual
values. [Much of that is true, but it is begged by acceptance of the paradigm itself, which is fine.]
11. Idiographic interpretation. N is inclined to interpret data (including the drawing of conclusions)
idiographically (in terms of particulars of the case) rather than nomothetically (in terms of lawlike
generalizations) Brings out importance of context.
12. Tentative application. N is likely to be tentative (hesitant) about making broad application of the
findings because realities are multiple and different
13. Focus-determined boundaries. [Hard to argue that this is not also the case in other inquiry. The key
here is more on emergent focus rather than pre-determined.]
14. Special criteria for trustworthiness. N is likely to find the conventional trustworthiness criteria (internal
and external validity, reliability, and objectivity) inconsistent with the axioms and procedures of
naturalistic inquiry. [gone into in depth later]
Ch. 2: Is the naturalistic paradigm the genuine article? 47-69.
The new paradigm of Schwartz and Ogilvy: merger of tables 1 and 2.
Dominant Paradigm

Emergent Paradigm





Linearly causal

Mutually causal





Associated Principle
Real-world entities are a diverse lot of complex systems
Systems experience many simultaneous and potentially
equally dominant orderings none of which are naturally
Images of systems and organisms are created by a dynamic
process of interaction.
Future states of systems and organisms are in principle
Systems and organisms evolve and change together in such
a way as to make cause/effect meaningless
New forms of systems and organisms unpredicted (and
unpredictable) from any of their parts can arise
spontaneously under conditions of diversity, openness,
complexity, mutual causality, and indeterminancy.
Mental processes, instruments, and even disciplines are not

Chapter then goes into tables with explanatory descriptions of the of the naturalistic paradigm.

Ch. 3: Constructed realities, 70-91.

Stake, Robert. (1977). Some alternative presumptions. Evaluation News, (3), 18-19. No volume number listed.
there is too great a temptation to suppose that truth is to be found in words and to suppose that intuitions are
only poor facsimiles of truth. In practical matters, what is in fact true is that which is understoodIn any
circumstance the truth might be but a single truth but evaluators are certain not to find it. What they can find
are multiple truths, multiple understandings, some contradictory to others. Evaluators should seek to resolve the
contradictions and misunderstandings but should expect that they will have to portray the multiple realities they
find (p. 19; emphasis added).
Four levels of reality
1. Objective reality
a. there is a tangible reality, and experience with it can result in knowing it fully.
b. 82-83 here Realism, the view that the world of which we have knowledge exists
independently of our knowledge of it, has, according to Skagestad (1981, pp.77-78),
explanatory power with respect to two puzzling facts: One is the fact of error elimination, or,
on the phenomenal level, the fact of exchanging one belief for another. There would be no point
in changing beliefs only to go on changing beliefs indefinitely. This activity of changing ones
beliefs can be rendered rational only as an attempt to reach a belief which will not thereafter
need to be changed. [] The second argument advanced is the drift toward consensus in
science; that is, the fact that independent investigators, starting from different assumptions and
different observations, tend ultimately to arrive at the same conclusion. This factis explained
by the hypothesis that their different inquiries are directed toward one and the same reality. (pp.
c. But, stability of a belief does not increase its probably validity.
2. Perceive reality
a. There is a reality, but no one can know it fully.
3. Constructed reality
a. 83 reality as a construction in the minds of individuals asserts that it is dubious whether there
is a reality. If there is, we can never know it. Furthermore, no amount of inquiry can produce
convergence on it.
b. So reality doesnt exist until it is constructed.
c. Nothing exists in a form other than that which is constructed by the person. 84 the
constructed realities ought to match the tangible entities as closely as possible, not, however, in
order to create a derivative or reconstructed single reality (or fulfill the criterion of objectivity),
but rather to represent the multiple constructions of individuals (or fulfill the criterion of
4. Created reality
a. There is no reality. 85 Reality is best understood as a standing wave function that is not
realized (note the term) until some observer pops the qwiff
b. Reality doesnt exist until we create it.
c. Wolf, in describing Schrdingers cat problem states (1981, p. 127) It is only when we
observers attempt to construct a history of our perceptions that reality becomes paradoxical.
Wolf, Fred Alan. (1981). Taking the quantum leap. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
d. I have a problem with the Schrdinger cat paradox though. The point is that while we may be
the instrument in the determination, we are not the instrument in the existence of the paradox and
the assignment of possibilities.
e. [She suggests that this posture requires a suspension of disbelief. Why should that be the case if
it is a rationale accepted ideal.]

Ch. 4: The disturbing and disturbed observer, 92 109.

Investigator-Object Dualism
92 The concept of the active observer researching out and touching, to try ideas to see if they worked, was
entirely consistent with the positivist point of view. [Isnt that what action research seeks to do though?]
To the positivist, the inquirer and the object of inquiry are independent while in the naturalist point of view they
influence one another.
Chinks in the positivist perspective
o Observation shapes what is observed.
o error from the respondent due to knowledge of a research situation existing.
o Respondent may choose a role from among various selves, all of which are true or will test
boundary behaviors.
o 95 Measurement as change agent refers to the possibility that the mere act of measurement,
as in a pretest, may alter (bias) the respondent for subsequent measurement situations
(preamble or practice effects).
o response sets has to do with the demonstrated fact that respondents exhibit certain typical
biasing behaviors, such as their tendency to endorse rather than reject any statement and the
tendency to prefer strongly stated to weakly stated statements.
o [can use secret, but questionably ethical, research or] unobtrusive measures or indicators left
behind by an ignorant subject, unaware that the innocent actions may be used as data.
o Observation disturbs what is observed.
o Heisenberg, Werner (1958). Physics and philosophy. New York: Harper & Row. (p.58) what
we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
o Observation is shaped by what is observed.
o 99 The questionnaire maker is being shaped throughout by his or her expectations of what the
sample of respondents will be like, and how they are likely to react to whatever instruments he or
she may finally send out. [As if the same is not true in an interview to a greater extent]
o the respondents are constantly being shaped by their perceptions and expectations about the
researcher and his or her use of the data.
Justifications for including interactions
-They start by arguing in an unnumbered point that we cant get rid of it even if we wanted to anyway.
1. Theories and facts are not independent.
a. [I had a little trouble following their argument about this one, not that it isnt true, but just that
the argument wasnt that good.]
b. 101 facts themselves can be construed as facts only within some theoretical framework; facts
in and of themselves have no absolute meaningthere can be no observational language that is
c. [The first part of that quote doesnt seem to go with the argument being proposed here, but the
second part rings true somewhat. But it goes against what they were saying about the axiom of
naturalistic research. If we cannot have an observational language that is theory-free, then how
can we observe BEFORE we have a theory about what we are observing? Furthermore, why
does a factual framework have to be theoretical. 8675309 is a phone number in one context and
a song lyric in another. Neither is theoretical, just contextual. There can be theoretical





underpinnings as far as whether a phone really exists, but I dont think that is where they were
heading. In fact, I dont know where they were heading.]
d. Inductive proof is not conclusive but persuasive. [I accept this, but dont see it as a strength, but
as an example, which hard science is prone to as well, that the best arguer will provide the
accepted truth independent of the value of the data behind the argument in some cases.]
e. [Finally, in what way does adding interaction affect this theory fact dichotomy.] 102 If
theories and facts are not independent, it is impossible to divest inquiry of some amount of
human judgment. The investigator must determine when an appropriate balance is reached such
that the facts support the proposed (grounded) theory and the proposed theory does not
overdetermine the facts. [This part is true not matter what the paradigm isnt it, or shouldnt it?
But then they finally get to why interaction is important, but I dont see it as necessity by this
argument] Continuing and intensive interaction between investigator and object is essential to
the formation of sound (even if not compelling) judgments.
Purposeful sampling and emergent design are impossible to achieve without interaction.
a. [Two problems here. Purposeful sampling needs to be defined better as something open to
change, but if you change the sampling based upon emergent theory, then you are allowing
predispositions determine sampling and thus self-fulfilling your theoretical aims. Second, I still
dont see how interaction is needed to achieve the objective here. Ill include some types of
purposeful sampling though for the notes.]
b. Patton, Michael Quinn. (1980). Qualitative evaluation methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
c. Patton (1980) identifies six types: sampling extreme or deviant cases, when the purpose is to
obtain information about the unusual cases that may be particularly troublesome or enlightening;
sampling typical cases, when the purpose is to avoid rejection of information on the grounds that
it is known to arise from special or deviant cases; maximum variation sampling, when the
purpose is to document unique variations that have emerged in adapting to different conditions;
sampling critical cases, when the purpose is to permit maximum application of information to
other cases because, if its true of critical cases, it is also likely to be true of all cases; sampling
politically important or sensitive cases, when the purpose is to attract attention to the study; and
convenience sampling, when the purpose is to same time, money, or effort [or due to typical
To move beyond mere objectivity requires a level of mature judgment that can be achieved only by
continuous interaction. 103
a. [Finally an argument with some meat to it.]
b. We need to find ways to go into our primary subjective experience and rescue material from it.
We need interaction in order to identify where our subjectivity lies. [I feel that this is definitely
true, but that interaction may not necessarily have to be between the researcher and the subject.]
104 - Human research is inherently dialectical. [Ill just say that it doesnt have to be externally
dialectical or dialectical with subjects.]
105 - Meaningful human research is impossible without the full understanding and cooperation of the
a. [Cooperation does not require understanding and vice-versa, even though it helps. I think that
this should be presented more as an ethical point, which it is. The key is the relationship among
the researchers and subjects. This is discussed, but that relationship can take many forms as long
as that form is taken into account.]
It is the quality of interaction that provides the human instrument with the possibility of fully exploiting
its own natural advantages.
a. [I think I can sum this up as we can adapt to the situation through interaction and that adaptation
is infinite within our minds, but we need interaction in order to trigger the adaptation, perhaps
through feedback as an example.]
b. Interactivity gains adaptability, insight, and knowledge base [which closely relates to insight].

Ch. 5: The only generalization is: There is not generalization, 110 128.
Generalization as the aim of science.
Nomic or Nomological generalization as 110 the generalization must be truly universal, unrestricted
as to time and space. It must formulate what is always everywhere the case, provided only that the
appropriate conditions are satisfied. Kaplan, Abraham. (1964). The conduct of inquiry. San Francisco:
Hess, Mary (1980). Revolutions and reconstructions in the philosophy of science. Bloomington, IN:
Indiana University Press. The pragmatic criterion for science. Science will be judged successful to
the degree that it is able to produce increasingly successful prediction and control of the environment
Problems with that conception
Depends on determinism or a grand formula. It is only the limits of the human mind [and current
research] that prevents conceptualization of this formula.
Depends on inductive logic. In other words, we create generalizations, they do not pre-exist. [but this
argument presupposes acceptance of the paradigm that there is no reality unto itself and suggests that we
cannot create adequate generalizations, when in many cases we can. A compelling argument would be
that we often cannot tell whether the generalization is adequate until it is proven to not be adequate.]
114 while generalizations are constrained by factsthere is no single generalization that must emerge
to account for them.
Dependence on freedom from time and context. It is difficult to imagine a human activity that is
context-free. [It might even be impossible even for a super-mega-ultra computer. But that doesnt
mean that an activity doesnt exist that is so and that we cannot map something to the point that there is
a prediction. The problem is that this book consistently assumes, and rightfully so based upon what
many believe, that the grand formula cannot account for a random generation at some level. I believe
that it can though.]
Entrapment in the nomothetic-idiographic dilemma. based on law vs. based on the particular individual.
Entrapment in a reductionist fallacy. We can only reduce so far before it becomes meaningless
contextually. They also argue, 118 there can be no set of generalizations, consistent with one
another, that can effectively account for all known phenomena
Naturalistic generalization
Stake, Robert (1978). The case-study method in social inquiry. Educational Researcher, 7, 5-8.
o 5 Case studies will often be the preferred method of research because they may be
epistemologically in harmony with the readers experience and thus to that person a natural basis
for generalization
o 2 kinds of generalization
120 if you want people to understand better than they otherwise might, provide them information in
the form in which they usually experience it. They will be able, both tacitly and propositionally, to
derive naturalistic generalizations that will prove to be useful extensions of their understandings. [But
they could be creating false propositions.]
Is it in the mind (Stake) or public and shared (Hamilton)?
123 Cronbach, Lee J. (1975). Beyond the two disciplines of scientific psychology. American
Psychologist, 30, 116-127. (p. 124) An observer collecting data in the particular situation is in a
position to appraise a practice or proposition in that setting, observing effects in context. (p. 125).
When we give proper weight to local conditions, any generalization is a working hypothesis, not a

123-4 as the inquirer moves from situation to situation, his task is to describe and interpret the effect
anew, that is, in terms of the uniqueness found in each new situation. Generalization comes late.

124 The degree of transferability is a direct function of the similarity between the two contexts, what we
shall call fittingness.
Talks about holographic generalizations in that the part contains all of the information of the whole. The only
problem is that you can break a holographic plate down to a point where the whole is no longer present. It is
just small in that we are dealing with refined light, but the stored image is a disruption of the light that requires
more than a single atomic particle, which their argument could be extrapolated to.
Ch. 6: Is causality a viable concept? 129 159.
129 If causes are the key to prediction and control, knowledge of causes is tantamount to power.
Historical formulations of causality.
Aristotle material (wood as the material of a wooden chair), formal (the mental picture of a chair held
in the mind of its maker), efficient (the one that made the chair), and final (the purpose for which the
chair was made)
Hume (1700s) temporal precedence, physical contiguity, and recurrent regularity
Popper deductive-nomological formulation (effect not before cause, effect only with a cause within the
parameters of the laws of nature)
Essentialists (effect not before cause, cause is necessary and sufficient for effect) problem is the
necessary and sufficient part for example the cause could basically cause itself. It is also reductionist in
that you would have to infinitesimally reduce the system until you found what was the necessary and
sufficient component that Always yielded the effect.
Activity or manipulability approach (effect not before cause, person manipulated environment to cause
effect) anthropomorphic causality becomes meaningless without human intervention.
Counterfactual formulation (139 For every event C and every event E, E causally depends on C iff E
would not have occurred if C had not occurred. ignores multiple causality and suffers
Probabilistic (E is later than C, probability of cause then effect is massively larger than probability of
effect alone, there exists no event D such that D is earlier than or simultaneous with C, and D screens off
C from E.) temporal problems and cannot suffice without knowledge of mechanism involved.
But causality is linked to knowledge of more than is possible, we then are left with the functional relationship
substitute. Also, just because something always has happened [to our knowledge] does not mean that it always
will [or even always has]. They further argue that causality cannot be linked to the existence of an exterior,
objective world, however, in the absence of such a world, we only eliminate cosmic causation but not subjective
causation. [I disagree that understanding causality is evolutionary.]
They then go into a speed of light and hyperphysics explanation of the nonsense of temporal causality, but that
is only a context shift, which they themselves seem to be o.k. with in other parts.
A strong critique is that most things have multiple causalities.
The concept of Mutual Simultaneous Shaping
Two ends that need to be served explanation and management
151 Everything influences everything else, in the here and now. Many elements are implicated in
any given action, and each element interacts with all of the others in ways that change them all while

simultaneously resulting in something that we, as outside observers, label as outcomes or effects. But
the interaction has no directionality, no need to produce that particular outcome (indeed, the outcome
may be a totally unpredictable morphogenic change); it simply happened as a pro[152]duct of the
interaction the mutual shaping. All elements are involved as contingently necessary (Nurmi, 1974)
in the sense that they participate in a synergistic relationship that activates them all. The resulting
shaping is moreover, circumstance relative (Nurmi, 1974) in that there is a plurality of shapers
(overdeterminism), with each becoming meaningful in ways that depend on varying circumstances or
Understanding involves the making of plausible imputations that depend on ones purpose.
153 enabled actions do not always occur, for constraints may exist in the context to prevent them.
[Isnt this relying on a causation of constraint though? The argument was really nice up to this point.]
154 the factors that may be introduced by a manager, whether enablers or constraint blockers or
maskers, pass immediately out of his or her controlthey themselves are caught up in the mutual
shaping process
Side effects may occur that are unanticipated but still important.

Ch. 7: Is being value-free valuable? 160-186

Values encompass:
assumptions or axioms of the convention used
theories and any logical derivatives thereof that explain
perspectives that a belief places on a system.
social/cultural norms
personal/individual norms
Examples given that inquiry is not value free. [This is true as almost a dichotomy at times. For instance, if I
value death, then inquiry into a virus would seek its function while if I value life the inquiry might seek cure.
Im not talking just about the purpose but the values undergirding that purpose.]
Consequences of a value free claim
Persistence to the use of the experimental/scientific method
Determination of what is and is not admissible knowledge.
Coherence as a criterion of truth while it is only a criterion of stability [or acceptance]
Intrusion of morality (as in what constitutes a good outcome)
Normative implications of findings. Normality as value-laden.
Forcing [allowing] political decisions to take a technical mode [fooling people into believing that they
are not enforcing their own values in the decision]
Nature has no value structure [Here is a deviation for me. I believe, religiously, that there is a value
structure to nature.]
The veil of objectivity obscures balance.
Ch. 8: Doing what comes naturally, 187-220.
What is the form of naturalistic inquiry a study in its emic context by a human instrument. 187 Once in the
field, the inquiry takes the form of successive iterations of four elements: purposive sampling, inductive
analysis of the data obtained from the [188] sample, development of grounded theory based on the inductive
analysis, and projection of next steps in a constantly emergent design. The iterations are repeated as often as
necessary until redundancy is achieved. See Figure 8.1 on page 188.

A natural setting demands a human instrument who builds on tacit knowledge using qualitative methods to
engage in the process of purposive sampling, inductive data analysis, grounded theory, and then emergent
design in a cycle repeated until redundant. The final case report involves negotiated outcomes and is
idiographically interpreted and tentatively applied.
Glaser, Barney G. & Strauss, Anselm L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.
(p.3) 205 grounded theory is one that will fit the situation being researched, and work when put into use. By
fit we mean that the categories must be readily (not forcibly) applicable to and indicated by the data under
study; by work we mean that they must be meaningfully relevant to and be able to explain the behavior under
206 grounded theory is not nomological/deductive (Ford, 1975, pp. 51ff) but patterned; it is open-ended and
can be extended indefinitely; and it is discovered empirically rather than expounded a priori.
Critiques of grounded theory
Underdetermined - Any set of facts can have many interpretations [especially if not placed within some
framework]. Their reply is that this is true for any theory.
Raw data are facts only within a given framework. Facts are theory-laden. They reply that they
presuppose each other and develop together. [I think that they could have done better. At some points
their arguments only work on those that have already accepted what they are saying and leave real
explanation flat.]
Negotiated outcomes as requirement for trustworthiness [not sure that I agree here. I think I critiqued this
elsewhere. Actually, I think it comes back in Ch. 11 and is more fully explained there.]
Idiographic interpretation
216 What is found in some particular context has meaning only in the idiographic sense for that context at
that time. And not to be overlooked is the fact that what is found depends also on the particular interactions the
investigator has with elements of the site, including the values he or she brings to it.
Tentative application
216 If there is some question whether [217] the findings may apply even in the same context at some other,
later time, it is surely an issue whether they apply in other, somewhat dissimilar contexts.
Focus-determined boundaries
True, but that is true of conventional research to as a reply.
Ch. 9: Designing a naturalistic inquiry, 221 249.
Traditional inquiry requires that a lot be laid out prior to the study including: overall plan, hypotheses and
statement of problem, theoretical perspective, variables, relationships among variables, methods and
instruments, and the modes of data analysis. They add time schedule, designation of agents, projection of
budget and statement of expectations [perhaps as part of null hypothesis].
Naturalistic inquiry 225 cannot be given in advance; it must emerge, develop, unfold.
Naturalist has a focus that determines procedure, but this can change. Theory emerges. Sampling serves
various purposes. Instrumentation is internal/subjective not external/objective, data analysis is inductive, and
timing, budge, and end products cannot be predicted.

1. Determining the focus

a. 226 A problem is more than a mere questiona problem is a state of affairs resulting from the
interaction of two or more factorsthat yields (1) a perplexing or enigmatic state (a conceptual
problem); (2) a conflict that renders the choice from among alternative courses of action moot
(an action problem); or (3) an undesirable consequence (a value problem).
b. The purpose is to resolve the conflict by accumulating sufficient understanding.
c. Determining the focus establishes the boundaries for the study.
d. Determining the focus establishes inclusion-exclusion criteria for new information [although
exclusion goes against emergent design in some ways]
e. Not set in concrete.
2. Determining fit of paradigm to the focus [admitting that the naturalistic paradigm may not always be
the best to apply when constructing the design]
3. 232 Determining the fit of the inquiry paradigm to the substantive theory selected to guide the
inquiry. Skipped when the theory emerges from the data.
4. Where and from whom will data be collected.
a. Provide for identification of initial elements
b. Provide for orderly emergence of the samples based upon results of previous samples
c. Provide for continuous refinement of the sample
d. Provide for termination
5. Determine successive phases of inquiry
a. 235 the study goes through several phases in order, first, to get some handle on what is salient
(that is, what one needs to find out about); second, to find out about it; and third, to check the
findings in accordance with trustworthiness procedures and gaining closure.
6. Determining instrumentation the human preferably in a team.
a. Claim that while non human instruments can be helpful at times, there is no hope that such
instruments can expose anything not built into them by the instrument maker. [but isnt it the
hope that you will or will not expose a certain thing when you design a survey for instance.]
b. If the instrument can be constructed that is grounded in the data that the human instrument has
produced, then these objections disappear.
7. Planning data collection and recording modes
8. Planning data analysis
9. Planning the logistics
a. Designate agents to implement inquiry
b. Schedule
c. Budget
d. Oversight
e. Closure
10. Plan for trustworthiness questions to address include [I just put the ones I found most useful]
a. 247 How extensive will field contacts be in order to satisfy the requirement of prolonged
b. How will triangulation be incorporated? By sources? By methods? By multiple investigators?
c. 248 What provisions will be made to carry out negative case analysis, to subject emerging
hypotheses to continuous test and to refine them until they are fully explanatory of observed
d. How will an audit trail be laid for a final dependability/confirmability audit? Who (or what kind
of person) will be commissioned to do the audit?

Ch. 10: Implementing the naturalistic inquiry, 250-288.

Making contact
Prepare a form in advance with the following
o name, address, phone number of agency seeking consent
o purpose of inquiry
o consent and participation information
confidentiality and anonymity
data access
Notice that absolute anonymity not possible if subpoenaed
Right to withdraw at any time for any reason without notice by the respondent
Notice that participation is voluntary
o signature and date spot
Importance to build and maintain trust
Difficulty and necessity of identifying and using informants
Unfolding the design
Focusing the initial focus will change.
paradigm fit to focus
determining when and from whom data will be collected [and when]
Determining successive phases of inquiry
Using human instrument
Data analysis
Planning logistics
Planning for trustworthiness
Data collection techniques
o Purposes 268 here-and-now constructions of persons, events, activities, organizations,
feelings, motivations, claims, concerns, and other entities; reconstructions of such entities as
experienced in the past; projections of such entities as they are expected to be experienced in the
future; verification, emendation, and extension of information (constructions, reconstructions, or
projections) obtained from other sources, human and nonhuman (triangulation); and verification,
emendation, and extension of constructions developed by the inquirer (member checking).
Interviews can be categorized further by their degree of structure, their degree of overtness, and
the quality of the relationship between the interviewer and respondent.
o Steps
Deciding whom to interview
Preparing for interview
Initial moves
Pacing and keeping it productive
Terminating and closure
o Advantage lets the respondent move back and forward in time
o Advantage provides here-and-now experience in depth.
o Nonverbal cues
kinesics (body movement)
proxemics (spatial relationships)
synchrony (rhythmic relationships of sender and receiver)
chronemics (use of time as in pacing, probing, and pausing)
paralinguistics (volume, voice quality, accent, inflection)

haptics (touching)
Documents and records
Unobtrusive informational residues 279 Unobtrusive informational residue is information that
accumulates without intent on the part of either the investigator or the respondent(s) to whom the
information applies.
o Physical traces (accretion and erosion measures, paths through lawn, crease in a book, foreign
language signs)
o Archival records
o Private records
o Simple observations
o Contrived observations

Ch. 11: Establishing Trustworthiness, 289-331.

Starts with the example of Margaret Mead v. Derek Freeman, where two completely opposite results argued
based upon imposed conclusions lead to general loss of trustworthiness.
Conventional paradigm
Internal validity 290 extent to which variations in an outcome (dependent) variable can be attributed
to controlled variation in an independent variable.
o Since many things may affect the dependent, they need to be controlled or randomized.
o Eight threats
history external events occurring between first and later measures
maturation processes within the respondents over time
testing effects of taking a test on the scores of later tests
instrumentation changes in calibration, etc.
statistical regression tendency for movement toward the mean when comparison groups
have been selected on the basis of initial extreme scores or positions.
differential selection effects of comparing essentially noncomparable groups
experimental mortality effects of differential loss of respondents
selection-maturation interaction an effect based upon changing interaction with
continued contact.
External validity
o 291 Cook and Campbell (1979, p. 37), as the approximate validity with which we infer that
the presumed causal relationship can be generalized to and across alternate measures of the cause
an defect and across different types of persons, settings, and times. It is the purpose of
randomized sampling from a given, defined population to make this criterion achievable.
o 4 threats
selection effects constructs tested may be specific to that group
setting effects results may be a function of the context
history effects history changes context preventing proper comparison
construct effects constructs studied may be peculiar to the studied group
o Stability, consistency, accuracy, the ability of someone else with similar instruments to come up
with the same results
o Intersubjective agreement.
o 293 Objectivity is threatened, then, by using imperfect methodologies, that make it possible
for inquirer values to refract the natural data putting questions not directly to Nature Itself
but through an intervening medium that bends the response; by engaging in inquiry with an
openly ideological purpose; or by relying exclusively on the data provided by a single observer.

Criteria for the Naturalistic Paradigm

Truth valueor credibility 294 the extent to which the findings of an inquiry display an
isomorphism (a one-to-one relationship) with that [single, tangible] reality.
o Cant know that value without already knowing tangible reality though.
o 295 When nave realism is replaced by the assumption of multiple constructed realities, there
is no ultimate benchmark to which one can turn for justification whether in principle or by a
technical adjustment via the falsification principle.
o One demonstrated truth value by showing that one has 296 represented those multiple
constructions adequately, that is, that the reconstructions (for the findings and interpretations are
also constructions, it should never be forgotten) that have been arrived at via the inquiry are
credible to the constructors of the original multiple realities.
o Credible (credibility) as the operational word
Applicability or transferrability
o 298 The best advice to give to anyone seeking to make a transfer is to accumulate empirical
evidence about contextual similarity; the responsibility of the original investigator ends in
providing sufficient descriptive data to make such similarity judgments possible.
Consistency or dependability taking into account factors of instability in the individuals, the
context, and the design.
Neutrality or confirmability
o 3 views of objectivity
Ontological - Objectivity when data of a study reflect reality or when nature answers the
questions put to it.
Epistemological - Objectivity when neither the observer or the observed have been
disturbed during the inquiry process.
Axiological When inquiry is value free. Nature speaks for itself without impact from
o Relates to the data and whether they can be confirmed.
Meeting the criteria
o Prolonged engagement, persistent observation, and triangulation.
Avoiding perceptual distortions, selective perception, retrospective distortions, situated
304 If the purpose of prolonged engagement is to render the inquirer open to multiple
influences the mutual shapers and contextual factors that impinge upon the
phenomenon being studied, the purpose of persistent observation is to identify those
characteristics and elements in the situation that are most relevant to the problem or issue
being pursued and focusing on them in detail. If prolonged engagement provides scope,
persistent observation provides depth.
4 modes of triangulation different sources, methods, investigators, and theories.
o Peer debriefing testing working hypotheses with a devils advocate
o Negative case analysis 312 eliminates all outliers and all exceptions by continually revising
the hypothesis at issue until the fit is perfect.
o Referential adequacy archive some data for future benchmark cross-analysis
o Member checks cross-checking with groups from whom data collected.
Check their intentionality
Error correction or challenging perception versus interpretations
Opportunity for respondent to volunteer additional information
Respondent on record for accepting claims
Opportunity to summarize

Respondent can give overall assessment of adequacy [seems redundant on earlier points]
Note: 315 member checks can be misleading if all of the members share some
common myth or front, or conspire to mislead or cover up.

o 316 It is, in summary, not the naturalists task to provide an index of transferability; it is his or
her responsibility to provide the data base that makes transferability judgments possible on the
part of potential appliers.
o Should be implied with credibility
o Overlap methods once again applies primarily to credibility.
o Stepwise replication Teams deal with data sources separately and independently but with
emergent design, not possible to be completely independent.
o Inquiry audit examination of process and product and their fit.
o Audit with an audit trail including
raw data
data reduction and analysis products
data reconstruction and synthesis products
process notes
materials relating to intentions and dispositions
instrument development information.
o [Very formulaic in their auditing, suggesting that this open design is much more rigid.]

Ch. 12: Processing naturalistically obtained data, 332-356.

Data viewed as constructions by the researcher stemming from interaction with data sources. Data analysis
seen as a reconstruction.
333 The process of data analysis, then, is essentially a synthetic one, in which the constructions that have
emerged (been shaped by) inquirer-source interactions are reconstructed into meaningful wholes. Data analysis
is thus not a matter of data reduction, as is frequently claimed, but of induction.
Four overlapping data processing dimensions
1. deduction induction
2. generation-verification (discovering constructs v. verifying propositions)
3. construction-enumeration (abstracting units of analysis v. systematically applying previously defined
4. subjective-objective
Characteristics of data analysis
Holsti, O.R. (1969). Content analysis for the social science and humanities. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
1. Data analysis is carried out on the basis of explicitly formulated rules and procedures (p.3)
a. Naturalist insists that the rules should not be formulated until the end.
2. The systematic nature of inquiry conforms to certain general canons of category construction so that
the inclusion or exclusion of content is done according to consistently applied rules (p.4)
a. In the end, all of the data should be processed according to the same rules.
3. Data analysis aims for generality with results that have theoretical relevance.
a. Rejected by the naturalist.
4. 338 content analysis deals in manifest content.
a. It is not only to the receiver that context is important; it is also crucial to the analyst (data
processor). Furthermore, the inferences from data to environment may not be propositional; they
may be tacit.

The Constant Comparative Method

339 a means for deriving (grounding) theory, not simply a means for processing data. [Just a note
here, but they consistently use parenthetical remarks in this book. If you feel the need to use redefine
statements, then either the second one should be used alone, or two sentences should be formulated (or
one better one, he?).]
Derived from Glaser, Barney G., 7 Strauss, Anselm L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory.
Chicago: Aldine. (p. 105)
a. comparing incidents applicable to each category
the categories emerge
Some semantic domains
1. strict inclusion X is a kind of Y
2. spatial X is a place in Y, X is a part of Y
3. cause-effect X is a result of Y, X is a cause of Y
4. rationale X is a reason for doing Y
5. location for action X is a place for doing Y
6. function X is used for Y
7. means-end X is a way to do Y
8. sequence X is a step (stage) in Y
9. attribution X is an attribute of Y
b. integrating categories and their properties
342 shift from comparing incidents with other incidents classified into the same
category to comparing incidents to the primitive versions of the rules (properties)
describing the category.
c. delimiting the theory
343 The inquirer begins to realize both parsimony and scope in his or her
the original list of categories will be reducible in size because of improved articulation
and integration
d. writing the theory
Ch. 13: Case reporting, member checking, and auditing, 357-381.
The case study
is the primary vehicle for emic inquiry
builds on readers tacit knowledge
effective for demonstrating the interplay between inquirer and respondents
provides reader opportunity to probe for internal consistency
provides thick description for judgments of transferability
provides grounded assessment of context.
362 The substantive case report should contain the following:
An explication of the problem, evaluand, or policy option that is the occasion for the study
A thorough description of the context or setting within which the inquiry took place and with which the
inquiry was concerned
A thorough description of the transactions or processes observed in that context that are relevant to the
problem, evaluand, or policy option
A discussion of outcomes of the inquiry, which may most usefully be thought of as the lessons to be
learned from the study

writing should be informal
writing should be interpretive and evaluative only if section intended for that purpose
error on overinclusion of information
honor any promises of confidentiality
maintain audit trail
firm termination date for the case [but what about waiting for proper emergence]
381 when the three terminating steps developing a case report, subjecting it to a comprehensive member
check, and commissioning and facilitating an external audit have been completed, the study is ready for public