Qualitative research methods: book chapters

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2011): Das Denken mit ATLAS.ti sichtbar machen: Computergestützte qualitative Analyse als textuelle Praxis. In: G. Mey & K. Mruck, eds.: Grounded theory reader. 2nd updated and extended edition. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. Pp. 381-403

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How is a new quality of reading, which we call "sociological understanding", created during the process of qualitative analysis? A methodological (conventional) answer to this question usually speaks of mental processes and conceptual work. This paper suggests a different view—sociological rather than methodological; or more precisely a view inspired by a contemporary sociology of science. It describes qualitative analysis as a set of material practices. Taking grounded theory methodology and the work with the computer programme Atlas.ti as an example, it is argued that thinking is inseparable from doing even in this domain. It is argued that by adopting the suggested perspective we might be better able to speak of otherwise hardly graspable processes of qualitative analysis in more accountable and instructable ways. Further, software packages would be better understood not only as "mere tools" for coding and retrieving, but also as complex virtual environments for embodied and practice-based knowledge making. Finally, grounded theory methodology might appear in a somewhat different light: when described not in terms of methodological or theoretical concepts but rather in terms of what we practically do with the analysed data, it becomes perfectly compatible with the radical constructivist, textualist, or even post-structuralist paradigms of interpretation (from which it has allegedly departed by a long way). (Translated to German and reprinted from Historical Social Research 2007/FQS 2008)

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2005): Co znamená interpretovat text? [What it means to interpret a text of qualitative data?] In: M. Miovský, I. Čermák & V. Chrz, eds.: Kvalitativní přístup a metody ve vědách o člověku - IV: Vybrané aspekty teorie a praxe. Olomouc: FF UP. Pp. 85-95

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What it means to interpret the text of collected qualitative data? Interpretation is usually understood as an intellectual procedure by which our empirical experience is conceptually processed; by which it is grasped and seen in some novel way. This is how methodologists and philosophers think. My contribution takes a different view. I show interpretation not so much as mental processes (of reading), but rather as observable and accountable material practices (of writing). I demonstrate, for instance, that what we commonly take as „new reading of a text“ actually can be viewed as „reading of new and new texts“, i.e., of texts that are progressively and constantly produced by and through our own analytical work with the data. From such a point of view, the art of interpretation becomes perhaps less exclusive and mysterious, but the more it becomes accessible, accountable and instructable.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. (2000): Political screenings as trials of strength: Methodological consequences of the relativist perspective in oral history research. In: D. Koleva, ed.: Talking history. Sofia: LIK. Pp. 63-81

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