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date: 25 April 2019

Qualitative Data Analysis and Theory

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.

The role of theory in qualitative data analysis is a shifting feast, and current researchers have many possibilities to select among. Since the 1970s the dynamic and inclusive nature of qualitative research has allowed the entry of many interested disciplines into the field. These various discipline groups have brought in new theoretical orientations and practices from their own fields and have encouraged a wide diversity of applications to the analysis of data. In addition, the shifts and changes in broader theoretical orientations through the advent of postmodernism, poststructuralism, post-postmodernism, mixed methods, and the crossing of theoretical divisions between quantitative and qualitative now seen in performative research have also added further options for researchers to consider. This diversity of choice has shifted the field light years away from dogmatic direction to researcher decision, researcher justification, and transparency of process.