When a doctoral student plans to conduct qualitative education research, the aspect of the dissertation that often becomes problematic is determining which theoretical paradigm(s) might frame the study. In this article, the author discusses how he resolved the quandary through eclecticism. The author begins by describing briefly the purpose of his dissertation study, providing a justification for eclecticism in the selection of theories. He follows with a description of the three theories-poststructural theory, critical race theory, and critical theory-that framed his study and discusses briefly the methodology employed. The author concludes with a discussion of likely objections of his study and with an explanation of why his study was positioned within a critical postmodern paradigm.


Qualitative Research, Poststructural Theory, Critical Race Theory, Critical Theory, Critical Postmodern Theory, and Paradigm Proliferation


This article was derived from the author’s dissertation, completed in the Department of Mathematics Education at the University of Georgia. The author wishes to thank the members of his doctoral committee for their support and wisdom: Denise Mewborn (chair), Jerome Morris, George Stanic, Paola Sztajn, and Dorothy White (and Bettie St. Pierre). I also wish to think the editors and reviewers of The Qualitative Report, Angela McCreery, Ginny Powell, and Bettie St. Pierre, who provide critiques and suggestions on earlier drafts of this article. Portions of this article can be found in an earlier published account of the author’s dissertation study: Stinson, D. W. (2008). Negotiating sociocultural discourses: The counter-storytelling of academically (and mathematically) successful African American male students. American Educational Research Journal, 45(4), 975–1010.

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