Using theory to escape the descriptive impasse
Bruce, T. (2010). Using theory to escape the descriptive impasse. Waikato Journal of Education, 15(2), 7-19.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6154
In this article, I focus on the importance of theory for undertaking and making sense of research. In particular, I consider one of the most common challenges for postgraduate students, which is how to shift from describing findings (what I found) to theorising about them (why my findings turned out this way). Using a case study approach, I describe my engagement with a particular set of data and demonstrate how different theories led me to focus on different elements and draw different conclusions. I conclude that explicitly shifting my theoretical approach ended up guiding me towards a much stronger interpretation of my descriptive findings.
Faculty of Education, University of Waikato
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