Rediscovering Qualitative Research

Authored by: Pieter Van den Broeck

The Routledge Handbook of Planning Research Methods

Print publication date:  November  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415727952
eBook ISBN: 9781315851884
Adobe ISBN: 9781317917038


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Planning theory and practice have seen a long evolution of research agendas and methods, related to various and sometimes conflicting knowledge traditions. These research agendas mobilise a wide spectrum of epistemologies, theories, research strategies and research methods, which need to be identified to understand the nature of a specific research project. In this context, ‘qualitative research’ – when defined as ‘research using non-quantitative research methods/techniques’ (e.g., participant observation, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, field observation or participatory mapping) – is a rather poor characterisation of a research project. Although each of the following nine chapters in Part 3 indeed do mobilise these specific non-quantitative methods and sometimes explicitly discuss them, they – more importantly – are also specific combinations of an epistemological position, theories, research strategies and research methods.

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