In this paper I outline ideas for how qualitative research methods might be taught in ways that value difference, promote dialogue, and encourage graduates to engage actively in their disciplines to promote the benefits of qualitative inquiry, locally, nationally and globally. I argue for approaches to teach qualitative inquiry in ways that value (1) interdisciplinarity, in that teaching draws on multiple epistemologies and theoretical approaches to inquiry developed across disciplines; (2) diversity in methodological approaches, in that teaching explores multiple methods to respond to research questions that are continually subject to revision, innovation, and critical analysis; and (3) the knowledge and experiences that students bring to the classroom. The purpose of such an approach to teaching qualitative research is to facilitate spaces where students can grow into capable researchers who are multilingual in theory and methods and communicate across multi-faceted bodily and spatial difference. This is not easy work, and I present several issues we might consider in the teaching of qualitative inquiry. These include recognizing the emotional component in learning qualitative inquiry, experimenting with boundary crossing, moving from prescriptions to ambiguity, designing rigorous qualitative inquiry, dealing with change, and learning to speak to multiple audiences.


Teaching Qualitative Research, Learning Qualitative Research, Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies, Emotions, Boundary-Crossing, Representing Qualitative Inquiry

Author Bio(s)

Kathryn Roulston is Professor in the Qualitative Research Program in the College of Education at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where she teaches qualitative research methods. Her research interests include qualitative research methods, qualitative interviewing, and analyses of talk-in-interaction. She is author of Reflective Interviewing: A Guide to Theory and Practice (2010), and has contributed chapters to The SAGE Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft (2012, 2nd ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis, and The SAGE Handbook of Data Collection as well as articles to Qualitative Research, Qualitative Inquiry, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, as well as other journals. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: roulston@uga.edu.


I would like to thank Dr. Ronald Chenail for inviting me to give a talk on teaching qualitative research at The Qualitative Report conference in Fort Lauderdale in January 2019. This invitation inspired these thoughts, and Dr. Chenail provided generous feedback to help me revise this manuscript. Thanks also to Mike Healy, Kathleen deMarrais, Brigette Herron, and Ameya Sawadkar for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. I am indebted to Anna CohenMiller and Kate Guthrie for sharing their reflections on the issues discussed in this paper and giving their permission to include those.

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