Imagining Research

During the past week I have been in residency at Royal Roads University along with 16 other MA hopefuls and three fabulous instructors. We have been working on epistemologies and research theories to try and uncover what we believe, what we want to know and how we might go about discovering that. I have not thought about myself as a researcher before so this is new territory for me. I didn’t realize that there were so many cultures of inquiry and methods in which to research a question.

One of the topics we covered was the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods and why you might use one or the other or possibly use both. I believe that I am personally attracted to a mixed method favouring the qualitative side of the fence. I would most likely use a narrative approach to a question to gather usable information in my area of interest. I always want to know what is going on and why people feel and/or think like they do. Personal interviews and anonymous feedback forms would likely be my choice to gather the information. (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998)

Looking at Phenomenology and Ethnography cultures of inquiry was equally as interesting and I would be tempted to use these types of inquiry if I was looking at a historical or cultural issue. Hermeneutics feels like a very complicated and intense way to research. Although I know it can be a valuable method, it is most likely not for me.

As for the quantitative side, I do understand that you need data to back up your claims. The methods I would use would vary based on the question posed but most likely I would go the survey route.

In the end, it is all about the question you ask. This will dictate what methods you use to gather your information.


Bentz, V. M., & Shapiro, J. J. (1998). Mindful inquiry in social research. Sage Publications Inc. Retrieved from {


3 thoughts on “Imagining Research

  1. Patricia, I know what you mean, I was not fond of hermeneutics either. When I read your post I was asking myself why I didn’t like it too. So I got out my notes to review it. This is a CI that uses metaphors, storytelling, patterns to help people understand their culture, historical events, themes and symbols. The researcher cannot get away from being involved. As a researcher you are continually resetting boundaries, making guesses and validating it. The researcher needs to be objective, they are pragmatic and have a passion for interpretive work. The problem is the understanding of the context of a piece of data. Raw data is the context. This is the research that interpreted the bible. I think it is Stephanie that really has a passion for this CI. I am drawn to Action research personally.


  2. Patricia and Deb, Getting my head around all the “ologies” is making me dizzy. I do find the Hermeneutics appealing and the concept of re-writing or re-interpreting history is fascinating. As a research method, it certainly is hard to get my head around the tactics involved.I recently reached out to an author who did research and wrote a book about learning latin the ancient way and through her research she uncovered conversational latin which shed new light on the way ancient people conducted their ever day lives.I reached out to her to ask her what method of inquiry she conducted. Sounded a lot like Hermeneutic. Crossing my fingers she gets back to me.

    Here is the link to her book.


  3. Hi Patricia,

    I am also drawn to ethnography and phenomenology. Kim made the suggestion that the two approaches might work well together. From that view, I like how the blending of the two could allow you to delve into the research mind, body and soul. Given that there are many ways to approach your research, I’m still open to discovering different options.


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