Between paradigmatic and pragmatic – Teaching as Practice of Qualitative Research. Perspectives on Discourses in this regard Abstract for the World Conference on Qualitative Research (WCQR)

  • Maria Kondratjuk


The paper deals with teaching qualitative research as practice of qualitative research. Teaching qualitative research has different traditions across the wide variety of academic disciplines as well as across the countries. Teaching qualitative research has manifold functions, addresses a heterogeneous audience and is taught by heterogeneous people with different research backgrounds. Teaching qualitative research is realizable through courses in basic study programs (compulsory lecture), through seminars and training programs, through conferences or through informal research workshops (analyzing and interpreting data e.g.).

Debates on teaching qualitative research are often around specific discussion lines – sometimes driven from them, like the quality of teaching or the right techniques. That induces a reduction of these debates and ends up in programmatic implications how to teach with which techniques in the best way. More meaningful is to understand how the teaching of qualitative research is going on, because “[h]ow qualitative research methods and methodology are taught is closely linked to the ways in which qualitative researchers in the social sciences conceptualize themselves and their discipline” (Breuer & Schreier 2007, abstract).

Questions dealing with the Teachability and Learnability of qualitative research are comparatively on low attention with at the same time an increasing demand on methods and teaching. We find a diverse availability of teaching and learning contexts and there seemed to be three virulent perspectives regarding teaching in qualitative research (Mey 2008). 1. A well-founded knowledge about qualitative research approaches, methodologies, theories, styles, methods (and about the differences) to justify my worldview and my used methodology. 2. The basic principles of qualitative research – the teaching and learning of an understanding of research as a social arrangement and communication and interaction process (with respect to the principles of qualitative research like openness, reflexivity, subjectivity e.g.). 3. Teaching an acquirement of abilities to act appropriate in the research process, like the reflection of previous knowledge and bias, insecurity.

One discourse line is the distinction between the paradigmatic and the pragmatic view. From a pragmatic point of view, qualitative research methods are considered research strategies or techniques and can be taught in the sense of recipes with specific steps to be carried out. According to a paradigmatic point of view qualitative research methods and methodology are conceptualized as a craft to be practiced together by a master and an apprentice. Depending on which view you belong to, it has occasionally extensive implications of teaching.