Making Claims and Building Theory in Qualitative Inquiry

All too commonly, qualitative researchers face obstacles and unfair critiques by grant reviewers, committee members, or journal reviewers that their research is not yet theoretically or practically significant. This workshop introduces eight distinct heuristic tools that, when applied strategically, transform qualitative data into claims that evolve theory and practice in important and impactful ways:

  • Jeopardy research questions
  • Abduction
  • Negative case analysis
  • Conceptual cocktail parties
  • Carrying claims
  • and more

The following workshop exercises will enable participants to understand the heuristic tools and apply them in their own work:

  • Engaging claim-making and theory building worksheets that lead to an iterative and phronetic (wise) analysis
  • Practicing open coding, in vivo coding, creating a qualitative codebook, and differentiating between first- and second-level codes
  • Crafting specific claims that resonate and transfer to a variety of settings
  • Exploring and practicing iterative writing and a formula for being “interesting”
  • Learning tips for crafting qualitative research that fully engages and connects with intended audiences

This course is designed for those new to qualitative methods as well as experienced researchers who want to deepen their analyses or refine their techniques for teaching qualitative interpretation and analysis.

Resources for this workshop will come, in part, from S. Tracy’s Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting AnalysisCommunicating Impact (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and from Huffman and Tracy’s “Making Claims that Matter: Heuristics for Theoretical and Social Impact in Qualitative Research” (In press), Qualitative Inquiry.