Theory Construction in Qualitative Research (Online)

Theory Construction in Qualitative Research (Online)

  • 17/12/2020
    9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Course details

qualitative course | level: beginner | register now
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affiliation: University of Antwerp


This workshop aims to teach elementary knowledge and practical skills for theorizing qualitative social science inquiry.

Balancing theory and observations in qualitative research is a difficult and not always well understood problem. Some researchers focus all attention on methods and gathering data and only start thinking about theory after the empirical research has been done. Others conduct research to confirm a theory they consider highly plausible, or squeeze their findings into some existing theory. Still others patch together pieces of theory without providing clear links to their empirical data. In this workshop we want to think more systematically about the relationship between qualitative data, and theory and analyse some of the problems that are involved when trying to theorize your research observations, so that researchers get more skilled in constructing a theoretically informed research problem.

By a mix of lecturing and practical exercises in theorizing, the seminar wants to make students familiar with the basic theoretical and epistemological choices implied when conducting qualitative research, while providing them with some skills for independently theorizing qualitative research observations.

We will introduce some basic philosophical and epistemological approaches to qualitative research and highlight which role theory plays in each of these approaches. We will shortly discuss the limits of different paradigms underlying qualitative research and deal with both inductive, deductive and abductive approaches to qualitative research. We also emphasize the role of ‘heuristics’ for nurturing theory formation and will discuss some important issues such as the framing of your research and the question of how to manage the variation of observations.

By providing some practical exercises participants will be stimulated to reflect on their own research and look for ways to theorize it.


Background readings


Due to the circumstances of limited places, priority is given to PhD students.


University of Antwerp
City Campus

17/12 van 9u30-17u S.K.201 (max 18p coronacapacity)
18/12 van 9u30-17u S.D.015


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