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Hopwood's interpretation of Hammersley Framework

My adaptation and interpretation of the Hammersley framework for critical appraisal of ethnography, which I think applies to qualitative (and indeed other) social science more generally

Nick Hopwood

on 26 July 2016

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Transcript of Hopwood's interpretation of Hammersley Framework

An adaptation of Hammersley's framework for critical appraisal of qualitative research
Big picture

Your study

Nick Hopwood (University of Technology, Sydney)
An adaptation and interpretation based on:
Hammersley M (1998) Reading ethnographic research: a critical guide. London, Longman. (Chapter 2)
No doctrine of immaculate perception
Which means no direct access to reality
There is always selection, interpretation
And research quality is not dissociated from modes of writing, rhetoric, argument etc
The more general set of phenomena of interest (topic, broad area of concern)
Why should we care? How clearly is it articulated? What kinds of question are being asked about this focus?
Does NOT mean all research is a case study
But most of the time we cannot empirically research the whole of our focus. The 'case' refers to what we study empirically.
Selections in terms of sample, time, space, setting, 'angle'
Covers 2 parts of my (Hopwood) 4-part Design framework: Strategy (broad design features) and sampling
What are the reasons for these selections? What are their implications? Ie. how is the case different from the focus? Is this relationship well justified? Does it limit the conclusions that can be drawn? Does it limit the shelf life or relevance of the research (not equating to empirical generalisability / external validity)
Deals with methods and techniques of data generation (3rd and 4th parts of my 4-part Design framework)
Relationship between researcher and people studied - this affects the quality of evidence (not all reactivity is bad)
These are things the researcher(s) would like you to believe about what you have studied. Definitional, descriptive, evaluative, causal, value-based claims.
We judge claims based on the evidence presented to support them (remembering we don't take evidence for granted, but critically appraise that in relation to methods)
But evidence does not speak for itself, and we must allow for and critique interpretations
Conclusions refer back to the wider issue. They should address the 'so what?' question and make links back to the issues of general concern.
The validity of conclusions and our critical appraisal of them, rests on different criteria from those we apply to claims - hence the importance of the distinction
How do conclusions relate to claims?
Must have a clear a basis in claims - can't spring up surprises out of nowhere?
Must go beyond the claims - empirical generalisation, theoretical inference, speculation, suggestions
Has the study said something of value and interest in relation to the original focus?
To what extent does the relationship between claims and evidence concerning what you studied ('case') support firm conclusions about the bigger picture ('focus')?
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