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date: 20 May 2019

(p. xxiii) Preface

(p. xxiii) Preface

The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research presents a comprehensive retrospective and prospective review of the field. Filled with robust examples from real-world research, ample discussion of the historical, theoretical, and methodological foundations of the field, as well as coverage of key issues like data collection, interpretation, writing, and assessment, The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research aims to be a valuable text for students, professors, and researchers.

In the interest of disclosure, it is necessary to note that the field of qualitative inquiry is so broad that no book, even a handbook, can cover everything, certainly not to all readers’ satisfaction. Even common phrases like “the qualitative research community” are problematic as some may argue that there are multiple communities distinguished by location and/or the approaches they privilege. Nevertheless, I use the term frequently as an umbrella, meant to signify the work of all qualitative researchers who, even if not always connected to each other, are connected via the use of qualitative techniques. There is also the issue of content. Because a handbook cannot be all things to all people, I have approached it with practicality in mind. Sometimes those who write about research practice are so enmeshed within the debates in the community that the focus can become quite theoretical and esoteric. This handbook offers the “meat and potatoes” of the field, sprinkled with different condiments. If this were a cookbook, it would be comfort food with a few twists, not exotic meals you need to go to specialty food stores to shop for. The hope is that the handbook will be useful in the teaching of qualitative research to those with little to no background in the subject, while still providing substantive contributions to the field that will be of interest to even the most experienced researchers. (p. xxiv)