The rationule for the qualitative method in the preaent (2023)


The present study uses the qualitative method. Although the choice of a qualitative approach reflects my inclination toward knowing the social world through a particular perspective, this, however, does not imply my veneration for one approach and disregard for the other.


is because, apart from paradigmatic commitment, the researcher has to take other factors into account as weU: the context, those who are being researched, the intended audience, t h e and money, and so forth (Hathaway, 1995). In selecting the methodology for the present study, 1 had to take a number of factors into consideration.

First, a key factor in determinhg the choice of method in this study is its context. The study is camed out in a social setting where culture and tradition play a significant role in the lives of the people. The most authentic source of knowledge in this society is beüeved to be religion and the social world to be modeled on the metaphysicd world which is seen as pure and perfect. The theory of knowledge, whether inductive or deductive, is accepted only if it is in consonance with and not contradictory to the text of the scripture, in this case, the Qur'an.

The Qur'anic influence permeates into every aspect of social life. For

example, expressions used to greet, praise, intend to do something, show gratitude, and so forth are either direct statements fiom the Qur'an or derived fkom it, and in which are embedded the basic values. Al1 these expressions refer to the unknown, non-logical, and non-empirical aspects of social life. A simple example WU illustrate the point. No matter how logicdy convincing and empirically proven the

nutritional value of eating pig's meat may be, it is not acceptable because there is a clear Qur'anic verse prohibiting it. In other words, revealed knowledge is superior to human generated knowledge.

A full discussion on this epistemological notion is well beyond the scope of this thesis. In such a setting, I consider the qualitative methodology t o be the most

appropriate for the present study. The qualitative research tradition in its

ethnographie f o m s accepts that certain aspects of human culture including religion are important for understanding human life in ail societies (Jacob, 1987).

Furthemore, being rooted in Biblical philology and hermeneutics, it acknowledges the spiritud dimension of social life and its symbolicity (Hughes, 1990). In contrast, positivism, the philosophical base of quantitative method considers religion, moral and aesthetic statements as well as metaphysics as meaningless or matters of personal preference because they are not verifiable by empirical observation or logical deduction (Hughes, 1990).

Second, qualitative research has greater respect for human experience, in that it attends to how those who are being studied make sense of the world. In other words, it considers the way students, teachers, or whoever interpret social practices and situations in which they find themselves and the way they develop the

perspective they hold (Bogdan and Biklen, 1992). Qualitative research has greater sensitivity to the social environment in whch the study is canied out. It proposes that the research must be carried out in ways that are sensitive to the nature of the setting and the researcher shodd approach the social world with respect and

appreciation. This means that qualitative research is concerned with experience as it is lived or feit or undergone and its aim is to understand this experience as nearly as possible as its participants feel it or live it (Ely et al., 1991).


is why, in philosophical terms, it is also refemed to as naturalism as opposed to positivism (Harnmersley and Atkinson, 1992).

Third, the qualitative research tradition rejects the idea of value free research and takes into account the normative aspects of the phenornenon under investigation: the ethical, religious, and cultural values. Referring to the study of pedagogy, Soltis (1984) has the following to say:


it must be obvious that pedagogy as a form of human interaction is not and cannot be value free


It always occurs in a social-historical context. Teachers do things to learners and those things are good or bad, desirable or undesirable, right or wrong, and

leamers turn out to be better or worse persons for what they have or have not been taught. To neglect the normative dimension in the study of pedagogy, therefore, would omit the essential aspect of what pedagogy is and would remove nom the scholar's purview the

possibiliv of illUlTlUlating the ethical dimensions of pedagogy. The study of pedagogy must include such considerations as any

pedagogical encounter, there are principles and values at work in the choice of subject matter, in the choice of appropnate pedagogical procedures, and in the manner of carrying them out. (p. 8)

Fourth, qualitative research views the participants, the teachers, and other educational personnel in the present study as acting in a compiex phenomenon of professional practice in a manner that they develop local knowledge', that is the ability of reflection-in-action (Schon, cited in Altrichter, 1993). This means that participants in the study seek t o understand the appropnate ways of practice by reflecting individually and as a group on different situations as they encounter them. Rather than applying general results other researchers have arrived at, they themselves develop situational knowledge germane to the context of the practice.

FiEth, in the qualitative method abstractions are built as the particulars that have been gathered are grouped together. Theory developed this way emerges from the bottom up and that is why it is called grounded theory (Bogdan and Biklen, 1992). The grounded theory methodology is particularly relevant for the present study because teachers' professional development appears in different forms in different circumstances and context. The theory has the capability


t o study a social phenomenon and its consequences in terms of the causal conditions which influence its development, the

contextual properties of the situation in which it emerges, the

intervening conditions which have a bearing on the way it shapes up in the context, and the strategies and procedures by which it is constituted. (Elliott and Sarland, 1995 p. 377)

Sixth, qualitative research elevates human reasons and accounts as social scientific data. By consulting the reasons and accounts of the participants, we learn about their values, beliefs, interests, ideologies as well as material entities that influence their lives. Participants' reasons and accounts offer evidence not just about what their beliefs are, but also about what they believe about those beliefs.

Using reasons and accounts that participants offer, we corne to understand and explain the things that they value, and also the things that oppress them.

Qualitative research in its emancipatory form leads to action to sustain wanted structures, o r to replace unwanted structures with wanted stnictures as a morally binding response to socid science data (Corson, 1997).

Finally, qualitative research demands that the researcher must attend to the total situation and integrate information from aLl directions simultaneously. Since the aim of the qualitative research is to describe in d e t d a specfic situation or phenomenon, the researcher's knowledge is used as a guide directing himher to possibilities and insights into that which is being researched (Hathaway, 1995). In the present study, the researcher's knowledge and the experiences of the research participants have been complementary in interpreting and understanding the different facets of the phenomenon, that is, the



In consideration of the nature of my research topic and concerns, 1 decided that qualitative research involving the elements described above would be suitable.

My concerns include: to explore how the FBTD program functions at different levels;

to understand how teachers benefit f h m it; and to examine how the process

strengthens teachers' professional knowledge and cornpetencies.


required that 1 elicit the participants' perceptions of the process by being involved in detailed conversations with them.

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