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Hermeneutic analysis: A qualitative decision trail

by Janice B. Clarke
International Journal of Nursing Studies ()

Abstract

Qualitative analysis is problematic from two perspectives, which exist in the science and art debate [Tesch, R., 1990. Qualitative Research. Analysis types and software tools. The Falmer Press, London; Robson, C., 1993. Real World Research. Blackwell, Oxford]. The science view claims that the absence of clear and agreed analysis processes, which can be found in the quantitative domain, attracts labels to qualitative analysis of intuitive artistry and personal journeys which are considered 'unscientific'. This thinking remains dominant despite the growth of systematic qualitative analysis supported through computer analysis systems [Tesch, 1990]. However, in the art domain there is real resistance to the development of set methods of analysis which does view qualitative analysis, "as more of an art than a science" [Robson, 1993, p. 370]. This paper offers a contribution to the qualitative analysis tension through the promotion and illustration of a decision making trail. This option supports the principles of academic rigour in qualitative research [Guba, E.G., Lincoln, Y.S., 1981. Effective Evaluation. Jossey Bass, San Francisco] as a decision trail permits the research community to make their own judgements concerning the process of analysis, the overall trustworthiness of the research and therefore its presented interpretations. © 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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