Edited by Patricia Kennett
Chapter 13: Cross-national qualitative research methods: innovations in the new millennium
This chapter investigates some of the most significant innovative developments in the past decade in qualitative methods that cross cultures and languages. As in the first edition, the research addressed is largely confined to the European Union and mostly published in the last five or so years. Necessarily selective, it reviews recent literature on problems and resolutions for managing cross-national investigative frameworks and contributions that have been concerned with the management of multi-lingual data. After a brief review of well-established methods of data collection it examines innovations exploiting the near limitless possibilities of web-based and electronic sources, as well as a stable of qualitative strategies derived from set theoretic methods that are arguably the most important – and certainly some of the most debated – of recent years. Defining the cross-national is less problematic than delimiting the qualitative. The former is not a method per se but an approach that incorporates cross-cultural space and, often, time. However, qualitative research cannot simply be defined as the non-numerical, although much of this research deals with spoken, written or visual material. Over 20 years ago Howe (1988), in an influential paper, dismissed a rigid positivist–interpretivist cleavage as redundant in what some were seeing as a ‘post-positivist turn’.
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