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The Five-Question Method for Framing a Qualitative Research Study

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The Qualitative Report Volume 8 Number 3 September 2003 447-461 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR8-3/mccaslin.pdf

The Five-Question Method For Framing A Qualitative Research Study
Mark L. McCaslin
University of Idaho, Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

Karen Wilson Scott
University of Idaho, Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

The Five-Question Method is an approach to framing Qualitative Research, focusing on the methodologies of five of the major traditions in qualitative research: biography, ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, and case study. Asking Five Questions, novice researchers select a methodology appropriate to the desired perspective on the selected topic. The Method facilitates identifying and writing a Problem Statement. Through taking a future perspective, the researcher discovers the importance and direction of the study and composes a Purpose Statement. The process develops an overarching research question integrating the purpose and the research problem. The role of the researcher and management of assumptions and biases is discussed. The Five-Question Method simplifies the framing process promoting quality in qualitative research design. A course outline is appended. Key words: Qualitative Research, Five-Question Method, Biography Research, Phenomenology Research, Grounded Theory Research, Case Study Research, and Ethnography Research

Introduction Planning a qualitative study for the first time tends to be an intimidating venture for graduate students just entering the field. Even armed with a topic of interest, for a novice in qualitative research, identifying the problem can seem highly problematic in and of itself. “Students often enter a doctoral-level course with little or no previous preparation in qualitative research” (Cobb & Hoffart, 1999). We view graduate students’ general lack of exposure to and experience with qualitative research as a...

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