Innovation in qualitative research methods: a narrative review

Wiles, Rose, Pain, Helen and Crow, Graham (2010) Innovation in qualitative research methods: a narrative review. Swindon, Borough of, GB, Economic and Social Research Council, 34pp. (NCRM Working Paper Series, 03/10).


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This paper reviews claims for methodological innovation in qualitative research. It comprises a review of 57 papers published between 2000-2009 in which claims to innovation in qualitative methods have been made. These papers encompass creative methods, narrative methods, mixed methods, online/e-research methods, focus groups and software tools. The majority of claims of innovation are made for new methods or designs, with the remainder claiming adaptations or adoption of existing methodological innovations. However, the evidence provided of wholly new methodologies or designs was limited, and in several papers such claims turned out to relate either to adaptations to existing methods, or to the transfer and adaptation of methods from other disciplines, primarily from arts and humanities. We argue that over-claiming innovation in the sense of the development of a wholly new methodology or design has a number of important implications that are potentially detrimental to qualitative social science.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
ISSNs: 1468-7941 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: methodological innovation, qualitative research, narrative literature review
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences
ePrint ID: 178087
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2010Published
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2011 15:07
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:34
ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (Co-ordinating Hub Award)
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-576-47-5001)
April 2004 to June 2009

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