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Teaching Qualitative Methods

Yes: My “most taught” course was the course in Qualitative Methods, first taught in 1983 as N560 at the University of Alberta. There it was taught in various formats—full semester, as a compressed course in the summer, and even as the curricular foundations for the early Thinking Qualitatively series. It even became the foundation of my basic texts in the 1990s. With my anxiety of teaching my very first course, I did not realize how lucky I was that most of the faculty signed up for the course—it subsequently gave me a pool of co-investigators for my projects (and theirs).

On Teaching Writing

Maybe one day it will change, but the essence of research is dissemination, and the main route for dissemination is the written document, the article, the abstract, the chapter, the book, and even the presentation and Powerpoint presentations.Researchers MUST be able to write. For writing is simply an extension of thinking, of expression, and without writing, dissemination does not ensue.

Writer’s block is an interesting phenomenon, which may silence even the most articulate and argumentative student. Yet teaching writing is not a part of standard curricula. Recognizing student’s difficulties in this area, we set “clinics” to help studies, thereby divorcing writing from the classroom—apart from the red chicken scratches and a REDO comment.

Below are the following sections:

  • Teaching Students How to Write

  • On Teaching Writing Skills

  • Writing in Groups

  • Writing and Edited Book

  • Table: How Real Authors Write

  • Listen to Monty Python’s Novel Writing

On Writing/Dissemination

I write. When I did not have time to write during the workday, I would start my day early—4am—so that by the time I got into my office, I had 4 hours of writing out of the way.

            However, publishing qualitative work was blocked early in the 80’s, and 90’s—and perhaps still is. Qualitative research has a different perspective not only with cardinal research rules for rigor, but also the format of presentation. Our articles were, and perhaps are still being, rejected.  Not because they did not present new information, but because they did fit -- but not methodologically.

            I was simply lucky. As a relatively new researcher was offered the position to edit Qualitative Health Research,  which placed me in a position to observe, to support and mold qualitative inquiry as it developed.

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