A Critical Review of Recent Developments in Qualitative Human Geography Methods

A Critical Review of Recent Developments in Qualitative Human Geography Methods

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“Qualitative research is used to gain insight into people’s attitudes, behaviour, value systems, concerns, motivation, aspirations, cultures or lifestyles.” (Ereaut G. 2007) Human Geographers continue to adopt backbone qualitative methods of qualitative research including the study of texts, the conduction of interviews, engagement in ethnography and the use of focus groups. Davies and Dwyer (2007) contend there are changes in the way they (qualitative research) are being conceived and carried out, and related to this there are transformations in the way these methods are being used to make claims to understanding and intervening in the world (Davies and Dwyer 2007). Recently there have been a number of debates as to which qualitative methods are appropriate and credible to use within Human Geography. Smith argues that the choice of qualitative methods used is fundamentally a political decision. The methods chosen are ‘a way of challenging the way the world is structured, the way that knowledges are made, from the top down. We are adopting a strategy that aims to place non-dominant, neglected knowledges at the heart of the research agenda’ (Smith 2001) Qualitative research has evolved through recent years. Human Geographers understand that social worlds are dynamic and not fully stable or predictable; social life is produced through human and non-human actions. There are social worlds with distinctive and sometimes competing social meanings, competencies and practices (Gregory et, al. 2009). We have to figure out what it means to engage with the world, both in methodological practice, but also in our choice of interpretive strategy and ethical aspirations (Bennett, 2001). “Developments in qualitative research have proceeded in dif...


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