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Qualitative Interpretation and Analysis in Psychology [Paperback]

Carla Willig
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 2012 0335241417 978-0335241415
“This new book by Carla Willig closes a gap in qualitative research in psychology and beyond. It focuses on the process of understanding in qualitative data analysis by taking the perspective of interpretation: What links our understanding with social and psychological phenomena in qualitative research? With its broad coverage of the literature and its clear style of writing it will be most helpful for anyone applying qualitative research to psychological phenomena.”
Uwe Flick, Alice Salomon University, Berlin and Vienna Universities

“In this work Carla Willig takes on one of the most pressing challenges in qualitative inquiry: how are we to confront multiplicity in interpretation? I began reading with great curiosity; I came away feeling that this is the best treatment of this complex subject I have yet encountered. Combining conceptual sophistication, the skill of clarity, and a welcome sense of balance, Willig illuminates and enriches. Her discussion on the ethics of interpretation sets the book apart. Now I clamor to join the discussions demanded by this fascinating work.”
Kenneth Gergen, Senior Research Professor, Swarthmore College, USA

“Carla Willig's balanced and insightful text goes to the heart of what is stake in debates over qualitative analysis: the act of interpretation itself. Beginning with the idea that the researcher must recognise both the responsibility and privilege of research, Willig clearly demonstrates how interpretation is actually performed and how to negotiate the epistemological and practical issues that are involved. Opposing the tendency for the researcher to disappear in the act of 'doing analysis', this book offers a distinctively human and affective vision of interpretative work. There is much here for both dedicated qualitative researchers and curious empiricists of every stripe. Students of psychology, read on: you have nothing to lose but your prejudices.”
Steven Brown, Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology, University of Leicester, UK

“At last! This is the book that qualitative researchers in psychology have required for some time, and it fills a significant gap for the field. Willig provides a brilliantly written comprehensive account of the importance and value of interpretation in qualitative research, covering theory, ethics and debate around interpretation, and including detailed practical applications that reveal the complexities and complications involved in interpretative analytic work. This text exposes the necessity of reaching for interpretation in qualitative data analysis, and is essential reading for qualitative researchers, whatever their level of expertise, both within and beyond psychology.”
Kerry Chamberlain, Professor of Social and Health Psychology, Massey University, New Zealand

Interpretation is an integral part of all qualitative research, yet relatively little has been written about its process. In her new book, Carla Willig, author of international bestseller Introducing Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology, sheds light on the role of interpretation in qualitative research in psychology and describes the different approaches for practice.

Packed with case studies, two full interview transcripts and worked examples from psychology, health sciences and the arts, Willig skilfully guides you to conduct qualitative research which is interpretative and based upon a clear rationale and interpretative position. You will also learn how to evaluate interpretative research and to acquire an understanding of what constitutes best ethical practice.

Carla’s transcribed conversations with Stephen Frosh, Christine Griffin and Jonathan Smith about the meaning and practice of interpretation provide a fascinating insight into the ways in which highly experienced researchers engage with the challenge of interpreting qualitative data.

This book will be valuable reading for all psychology students, researchers and practitioners and a useful reference for students across the social sciences and related health disciplines.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Open University Press (1 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0335241417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0335241415
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Carla Willig is Professor of Psychology at City University London, UK. She is also a practising counselling psychologist with an interest in existential phenomenological approaches to psychotherapy and counselling.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In constant use with my doctoral students! 27 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback
As a teacher of research methodology and as a research supervisor for many counselling psychology doctoral candidates, I am always on the lookout for resources that will get to the heart of students' research struggles - and, without a doubt, achieving interpretative depth and having epistemological clarity about their interpretative positions are two of the most common struggles I see. Willig's book constitutes such a fresh, novel, and useful approach to qualitative data interpretation that it went straight onto my required reading list for all my students and supervisees. There are many things to recommend it, including the manner in which it lays out the social/historical/political factors and contexts that make researchers nervous about interpretation; the time it gives to discussing the ethics of interpretation; and the way it approaches the same set of data from multiple interpretative vantage points. The methods it uses to help the reader understand the different levels and lenses of interpretation are various and creative, to include dialogues with well-known qualitative researchers and striking examples drawn from other contexts, such as the art world - I loved Willig's use of the Sophie Calle 'Take Care of Yourself' exhibit so much that I extended it into a classroom exercise using the same breakup letter that the artist received! By the end of the book, the reader may very well find that they have been quite enjoyably and organically drawn into a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of qualitative data interpretation, without its feeling like very hard work. One can't ask much more than that!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social Scientist/Psychologist? Read this book! 25 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
Carla Willig has written another invaluable book for social scientists. While the question of interpretation may be more immediately relevant to qualitative researchers, social scientists of all beliefs will find their work enhanced by considering the issues inherent in the ways in which we approach research. Willig's book is divided into two parts, with the first being theoretical and the second addressing the application of these theories. The theoretical sections are precisely worded, and enlivened by the range of literature and activities which are used in her arguments. Chapters covering the "doing" of interpretation will be useful for both student and experienced researchers, through their detailed examples of the ways in which interpretation shapes positioning. While I read Carla Willig's book for work, it was a pleasure to read. I recommend it highly.
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