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Danica Hays Is Lead Author of New Book on Qualitative Research Process

In her new book, "Qualitative Inquiry in Clinical and Educational Settings," Danica Hays demystifies the qualitative research process - and helps readers conceptualize their own studies - by organizing the different research paradigms and traditions into coherent clusters.

Hays, associate professor of counseling and chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services at Old Dominion, along with co-author Anneliese Singh of the University of Georgia, offer real-world examples and firsthand perspectives to illustrate the research process. Instructive exercises and activities build on each other so readers can develop their own proposals or reports as they work through the book.

Qualitative research involves analysis such as words (e.g., from interviews), pictures (e.g., video) or objects (e.g., an artifact). It differs from quantitative research, which involves analysis of numerical data.

In the book, the authors provide strategies for selecting a research topic, entering and exiting sites, and navigating the complexities of ethical issues and the researcher's role. Readers learn how to use a range of data collection methods - including observational strategies, interviewing, focus groups, email and chat rooms, and arts-based media - and to manage, analyze and report the resulting data.

Published this month by Guilford Press, the book has received critical acclaim.

"This book provides the groundwork for understanding the paradigms and tensions of qualitative inquiry and for building skills in research design, methods and analysis," said Kathleen Burns-Jager, former director of the Michigan State University Family and Child Clinic.

"Integrated throughout are real-world examples and activities that clearly inform and demystify the process of qualitative research. The graphs, concept maps, quotes from qualitative researchers and examples are very congruent to what one would find in a qualitative research study. I especially liked the examples of coding, developing themes and handling data; the authors have done an amazing job."

Thomas Schram, of the University of New Hampshire's Department of Education, calls the book "a tremendous resource." Noting that it is "well written, comprehensive, accurate, insightful and accessible," he added, "I find especially refreshing the way the authors 'cluster' the research traditions, which provides a sound, logical and fluid way of understanding and applying them. The chapters offer reader-friendly, practical tips in a largely jargon-free writing style that helps to guide the reader through the decisions and dilemmas inherent in a qualitative approach."

Hays' research interests include qualitative methodology, assessment and diagnosis, trauma and gender issues, and multicultural and social justice concerns in counselor preparation and community mental health. She has published numerous articles and book chapters and has co-authored or co-edited three previous books. She is the founding editor of the journal Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation.

Hays is a recipient of the Outstanding Research Award, Outstanding Counselor Educator Advocacy Award and Glen E. Hubele National Graduate Student Award from the American Counseling Association, as well as the Patricia B. Elmore Excellence in Measurement and Evaluation Award and President's Special Merit Award from the Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education.

Singh is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at UGa. She is a past president of the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling.

This article was posted on: August 18, 2011

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