Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
From Qualitative Research to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
Two respected and widely published researchers—one quantitative and one qualitative—were chatting together while they waited for the Research Committee of their professional organization to convene. The quantitative researcher said, admiringly, “I don’t know how you figure out what to write. Me, I just get my SPSS print out and ’write around’ it. The work that you do interests me because, although I can use a national data base to generate information, it still won’t tell me much about individual experience.” The qualitative researcher said, “Your work is important because it documents general directions in the field. In my view, we need both—the general and the particular—to make well-informed decisions.” As this candid exchange suggests, quantitative and qualitative each has a role to play and each merits respect when it is carefully planned, conducted, and presented in a manuscript.
Rigorous qualitative research is an empirical type of inquiry. Nevertheless, skepticism from some researchers persists. A common misconception is that qualitative research is less intellectually challenging because it does not use higher mathematics. However, the challenge in qualitative research is to invest long periods of time in gathering data, to derive the essence from a large and diverse collection of data sources, to think abstractly in order to generate themes, and to write eloquently about interpretations. In any qualitative research that you conduct, strive to address the questions that quantitative research cannot answer adequately. Honor the traditions in qualitative inquiry by publishing work that is rigorous and serves to advance the quality of the paradigm (LaRossa, 2012).
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