Some Theoretical Perspectives Used in Qualitative Research

Theoretical Perspectives

Some theoretical perspectives that can be used in qualitative research are as follows (Creswell, 2007):

  1. Feminist perspectives challenge today's oppressed women and the institutions that shape these conditions. Research topics may include policy issues related to the realization of social justice for women with certain domains of knowledge about the conditions of oppression experienced by them (Ollesen, 2000).
  2. Racial discourse raises important questions about the construction and control of racial knowledge, particularly about people and communities of color (Ladson-Bilings, 2000)
  3. Critical theory perspectives focus on empowering human beings to be free from the racial, class, and gender constraints placed upon them (Fay, 1987)
  4. Queer theory-this is how the term used in this literature focuses on individuals inculcating themselves as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender group. Research that applies this theoretical perspective does not mean making the above individuals as raw objects that can be treated for granted, but rather trying to find the cultural and political sides of what makes them isolated in the social sphere. This theory even echoes the rights and experiences of oppressed individuals (Gamson, 2000)
  5. Disability studies focus on the meaning of inclusion in schools, involving school administrators, teachers, and parents who have children with certain disabilities (Mertens, 1998).

Putting Theory In Qualitative Research

How the theory is used, will also affect its placement in a qualitative study. In qualitative research that uses cultural themes or theoretical perspectives, theories appear at the beginning and can be modified or adjusted in such a way based on the views of the participants. 

However, for most theory-oriented qualitative designs, such as critical ethnography, Lather (1986) classifies the use of theory as follows:

Conducting grounded theory Research empirically requires a reciprocal relationship between data and theory. The Data must be processed dialectically in order to be able to generate new propositions that allow the emergence of a theoretical framework while maintaining that framework Strictly so that it does not get mixed up with the research data


Creswell, J.W. (1999) Mixed method research: Introduction and application. In G.J. Cizek (Ed.). Handbook of educational policy (pp. 455-472). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choos¬ing among Five Approaches ( 3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Creswell, J.W. (2008). Educational Research: Ptoming, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Creswell, J.W. & Brown, M.L. (1992, Fall). How chairpersons enhance faculty research: A grounded theory study. The Review of Higher Education, 16(1), 41-62.
Creswell, J.W., & Miller, D. (2000). Determining validity in qualita¬tive inquiry. Theory into Practice, 39(3), 124-130.
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach. Sage publications.
Creswell, J.W. & Piano Clark, V.L. (2007). Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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