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Naturalistic Inquiry

Yvonna S. Lincoln Texas A&M University
Egon G. Guba
© 1985   416 pages   SAGE Publications, Inc   
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Hardcover ISBN: 9780803924314 $70.00

"An interesting, well written, fascinating critique of positivism. I wish this would be sufficient to put the nails in the coffin of positivism once and for all."

--Ian I. Mitroff, University of Southern California

"This book provides a clear discussion of the essential elements of positivism and post-positivism. It also provides a useful set of guidelines for conducting research within the framework of naturalism. Lincoln and Guba reveal the chinks in the armor of conventional methodological ideas. Their writing draws on a vast array of examples and provides a new vocabulary for thinking about method."

--Shulamit Reinharz, Brandeis University

"This book will interest graduate students and educational researchers as well as social scientists struggling with qualitative and quantitative methodologies. A breath of fresh air."

--Choice

"Overall, this volume serves as a good introductory text in naturalistic inquiry and field research courses."

--International Journal of Intercultural Relations

"The book itself is a good illustration of our inclination towards and our need of more general descriptions. . . . If one wants to inform oneself about the paradigmatic discussion and the development of research methodology within the area of studies of social fields, it is a very interesting book."

--Instructional Science

Showing how science is limited by its dominant mode of investigation, Lincoln and Guba propose an alternative paradigm--a "naturalistic" rather than "rationalistic" method of inquiry--in which the investigator avoids manipulating research outcomes. A "paradigm shift" is under way in many fields, they contend, and go on to describe the different assumptions of the two approaches regarding the nature of reality, subject-object interaction, the possibility of generalization, the concept of causality, and the role of values. The authors also offer guidance for research in the field (where, they say, naturalistic inquiry always takes place). Useful tips are given, for example, on "designing" a study as it unfolds, establishing "trustworthiness," and writing a case report. This book helps researchers "both to understand and to do naturalistic inquiry." Of particular interest to educational researchers, it is valuable for all social scientists involved with questions of qualitative and quantitative methodology.

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