Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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Canadian Scholars’ Press
412 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
December 2018
Print ISBN: 9781773380971


An edited collection packed with advice, exercises, and anecdotes, The Craft of Qualitative Research is a practical, introductory guide that will develop students’ skills and confidence in qualitative research. Accessible in style and tone, this text equips students with the tools needed to manage and overcome challenges, emotions, biases, and power dynamics in the field. To encourage experiential learning, 45 concise chapters include real-world examples and practical exercises from scholars and professionals in varying disciplines and stages of career. Each section begins with an editors’ introduction then takes readers through the steps of successful qualitative research: from planning projects ethically and entering the field, to collecting and analyzing data, and lastly, to exiting the field and disseminating findings. Students in research-reliant disciplines, particularly sociology, anthropology, criminology, social work, and health studies, will benefit from this distinctly practical resource.


  • offers material accessible to both inexperienced and experienced researchers
  • offers readers focused, experiential case studies exploring key stages of the research process in an in-depth fashion

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Introduction: Invitation to the Craft of Qualitative Research 1

Steven W. Kleinknecht, Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott, and Carrie B. Sanders


Chapter 1. “The Person Behind the Research:” Reflexivity and the Qualitative
Research Process 10

Kalyani Thurairajah

Chapter 2. The Role of Unpredictability in Ethnographic Fieldwork 17

Mark S. Dolson

Chapter 3. Collateral Damage: Preparing Your Friends and Family for Your
Ethnography 25

Tony Christensen

Chapter 4. The Story of Dr. Charles Smith: An Exercise in Rolling Thematic
Analysis 32

Chris McCormick


Chapter 5. Living Your Ethics: “It’s” Not Just a Dusty Document 46

Kerstin Roger and Javier Mignone

Chapter 6. Observing Teens: Negotiating Power and Opportunity During Field
Research 53

Katherine Irwin

Chapter 7. Doing Research Undercover: Interviewing Protesters 60

Gül Çalışkan

Chapter 8. Social Regulation and Ethics in Research 67

Will van den Hoonaard


Chapter 9. An Insider’s Perspective on Research with Policewomen in
Canada 78

Lesley J. Bikos

Chapter 10. Politics and Tensions of Doing Transgender Research: Lessons
Learned by a Straight-White-Cisgender Man 85

Matthew S. Johnston

Chapter 11. Researching Truck Drivers: Difficult Data Collection and Proving
Oneself Amidst a Culture of Suspicious Masculinity 92

Michael A. Fleming

Chapter 12. “You’re an Alien to Us”: Autoethnographic Accounts of Two
Researchers’ Experiences in an Organizational Setting 98

Cathlene Hillier and Emily Milne


Chapter 13. Using a Qualitative Approach in Applied Military Personnel
Research 107

Justin Wright

Chapter 14. Navigating Emotions While Establishing Trust and Rapport in
Autoethnography 114

Colleen McMillan

Chapter 15. Personal Reputation as an “In” to Field Research Settings 121

Steven W. Kleinknecht

Chapter 16. “You Are Not Allowed to Be Here…”: Ethnography of Rejection, Shame, and Hurt 127

Thaddeus Müller

Chapter 17. Doing Research on Behind-the-Scenes Phenomena: Entering the
Female Escort Industry 133

Magdalena Wojciechowska


Chapter 18. “Going Through the (E)motions”: Attending to Social Location and
Emotionality in Observational Studies of Police 144

Crystal Weston and Carrie B. Sanders

Chapter 19.Reconsidering Relations in the Field: Attending to Dominance
Processes in the Ethnographic Encounter 152

Scott Grills

Chapter 20. Minding the Gap at the Limits of Observation 160

Kritee Ahmed

Chapter 21. Tips and Tricks for Writing Reflexive Field Notes When Doing Team- Based Rapid Ethnographic Research 167

Krystal Kehoe MacLeod


Chapter 22. “Show and Tell”: Using Objects as Visual Interview Guides in
Qualitative Interviewing 178

Kathleen Steeves and Deana Simonetto

Chapter 23. Interactional Strategies of Interview Participants and Their Sense of
Self 185

Deborah K. van den Hoonaard

Chapter 24. “Opening Access” to Open-Access Editors: Communication
Technologies in Long Distance Interviewing 193

Taylor Price and Antony Puddephatt

Chapter 25. Conducting Phenomenological Interviews 200

Ellen Rose

Chapter 26. A Reflection on Challenges and Negotiation in the Context of
International Fieldwork 207

Abhar Rukh Husain


Chapter 27.Listening to Streets and Watching Paint Dry: Collecting Other Forms of Data 218

Deborah Landry

Chapter 28. Doing Archival Research 225

Ariane Hanemaayer

Chapter 29. “Every Corner Tells a Story”: Using Neighbourhood Walks and GPS
to Understand Children’s Sense of Place 232

Bree Akesson

Chapter 30. Ethnography in Inaccessible Fields: Drawing on Visual Approaches to Understand the Private Space of the Home 237

Dawn Mannay

Chapter 31. Collecting Social Media Data in Qualitative Research 245

Meghan Lynch and Catherine Mah


Chapter 32. Reframing an Awkward Moment: A Comparison of Two Analytic
Strategies for Being Reflexive 256

Amber Gazso and Katherine Bischoping

Chapter 33. Making Sense of Your Data: From Paralysis to Theoretical
Engagement 263

Michael Adorjan

Chapter 34. “Dilemmas of Voice” in Community-Based HIV Research 271

Jeffrey P. Aguinaldo

Chapter 35. Analyzing Materiality 278

Carrie B. Sanders and Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott

Chapter 36. Tree Drawings: Visual Analysis and Representation of Queer Activist
Life History Research 288

Susan Diane


Chapter 37. Leaving the Field/Can You Leave the Field? 304

Jeffrey van den Scott

Chapter 38. Negotiating Tensions in Exiting the Field of Critical Qualitative
Research 311

Sarah Benbow and Jodi Hall

Chapter 39. Leaving the Field Trajectories: Researching Hasidic Jews 319

William Shaffir

Chapter 40. On (Still) Being Emotionally Attached to the Field 326

Nichole Edwards


Chapter 41. Communicating Your Ideas and Publishing Readable Texts 336

J. I. (Hans) Bakker

Chapter 42. Dissemination and Social Justice 342

Snežana Ratković and Bharati Sethi

Chapter 43. Promoting Qualitative Research in the Public Sphere: Lessons Learned from Online Criticisms 350

Chad Walker

Chapter 44. After the Fine Cut: Disseminating Video-Based Research 358

Sarah Abbott and Phillip Vannini

Chapter 45. Disseminating Qualitative Research in Media 365

Christopher J. Schneider

Contributors 373

Index 383

Steven W. Kleinknecht

Steven W. Kleinknecht is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Brescia University College. He is also an approvals editor for the Qualitative Sociology Review. His qualitative research has focused on the computer hacker and Old Order Mennonite subcultures. With Antony Puddephatt and William Shaffir, he co-edited Ethnographies Revisited (2009). He has been involved in the Qualitative Analysis Conference as a participant, session chair, and organizer for the past 18 years.

Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott

Lisa-Jo K. van den Scott is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Memorial University in Newfoundland. Her work centres around space, place, and time, and argues for a sociology of walls. Her empirical focus has been the introduction of housing in Arviat, Nunavut. She has published in such journals as the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography and American Behavioral Scientist. She is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.

Carrie B. Sanders

Carrie B. Sanders is an Associate Professor of Criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is an interpretive theorist and qualitative researcher with an interest in studying policing, technology, police cultures, and surveillance. Her research has received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and has been published in high impact journals, such as British Journal of Criminology, Policing and Society, and Gender and Society.

Security and Risk Technologies in Criminal Justice, The Craft of Qualitative Research


“This collection sparkles with tales of field research as lived, not as idealized. The contributors’ candor about their experiences demystifies the research process and reveals its pleasures and problems. They acknowledge such problems as facing the uncertainties of field research, handling unsettling feelings, negotiating the dilemmas of insider research, and dealing with rejection by gatekeepers. The book will enliven any class on qualitative research. I highly recommend it for beginning and seasoned researchers alike.”

“As fine a collection as I have come across in quite a while. Methodological handbooks are not supposed to make for riveting reading, but this one does, perhaps because of the depth of experience among its contributors, their utter respect for the craft, and their willingness to write honestly about the challenges they have faced. More than a guide, this collection will inspire those seeking to hone their skills and empower those embarking on qualitative or ethnographic research journeys of their own.”

“The editors of The Craft of Qualitative Research have truly captured a rich breadth and depth of lived qualitative research experience through authors’ stories that are framed around the research enterprise, from relationship-building to research design, from ethical considerations to knowledge creation and sharing, along with provocative questions for readers to consider in their own work. It is an accessible book that should be read by any novice researcher in tandem with a ‘how to’ qualitative methods text, giving readers an intimate view of ‘what it’s like’ when you do such inquiry.”

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