Practicing Qualitative Research in Community Settings
Pp. 52-76 (25)
Practicing qualitative research involves acquisition of skills and integration of conceptual
and practical learning. Comprehension, reading, critical thinking, interrelated teaching and learning
comprehension strategies are essential. Pedagogical, conceptual and methodological insights from the
innovative Community Technical Assistance Project (CTAP) at Howard University are described in this
chapter. QCR involves social interaction and building relationships through collaborative
conceptualizing, doing service, researching and sharing of results. In doing so, QCR becomes an
endeavor of conceptualization, instruction, learning, research and assistance. Students, residents and
faculty define issues, events and people of significance to the community. Local assets are emphasized.
A QCR-oriented course helps develop institutional and individual relationships between the university,
neighborhood entities and local people. Developing, acquiring, teaching and learning qualitative
community-based research rely on critical thinking, conceptualization, methodology and assessment.
Process and summative evaluations aid the process. Instruction and practice require pedagogical goals,
such as student and faculty development of qualitative, quantitative, vernacular and visual literacies.
QCR’s pedagogy assumes learners, researchers and participants are not simply acquiring and
transferring knowledge; they are making meaning(s) of and from their experiences, information and
knowledge. Applying constructivist-based learning premises and practices may promote effective
qualitative research practices. According to constructivism, knowledge is constructed and embedded in
people’s activities. Contexts of learning activities affect the construction of meaningful and useful
knowledge. Moreover, social reality and knowledge have multiple perspectives. Constructivist teachers
recognize that investigation involves contextual interaction with and creation of knowledge. An
assignment in applying research skills is included in this chapter.
Qualitative Research Skills, Instructional Issues, Community Technical Assistance Project,
Pedagogical Assumptions, Principles and Practices of Constructivism.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Howard University, Washington, D.C.