Qualitative Inquiry And Research Design By Creswell Ch9 30may Jib

Chapter 9: Writing a Qualitative Study

Reflexivity and Representations in Writing

How we write is a reflection of our own interpretation based on the cultural, social, gender, class, and personal politics that we bring to research.

Writing has an impact on the reader, who makes an interpretation of the account and may form an entirely different interpretation than the author or the participants.

Major points that should be considered by the researchers about their writings:

  • Should I write about what people say or recognize that sometimes they cannot remember or choose not to remember?
  • What are my political reflexivities that need to come into my report?
  • Has my writing connected that voices and stories of individuals back to the set of historic, structural, and economic relations in which they are situated?
  • How far should I go in theorizing the words of participants?
  • Have I considered how my words could be used for progressive, conservative, and repressive social policies?
  • Have I backed into the passive voice and decoupled by responsibility from my interpretation?
  • To what extent has my analysis (and writing) offered an alternative to common sense or the dominant discourse?

Audience for Our Writings

A basic axiom: All writers write for an audience

Four potential audiences: colleagues, those involved in the interviews and observations, policy makers, and the general public.

Encoding Our Writings

The words we use encode our report, revealing ourselves and how we perceive the needs of our audiences.

  • Quantitative: Introduction, methods, results, and discussion format.
  • Qualitative: no need to be standardized, methods can be called ‘procedures’, results can be called ‘findings’, researcher can phrase the heading in the words of participants in the study.

A writing style that is personal, familiar, highly readable, friendly, and applied for a broad audience.

A level of detail that makes the works come alive, expressing emotions.

Quotes in Our Writings

Authors should bring in the voice of participants in the study. There are three types of quotes.

  • Short eye-catching quotations
  • Embedded quotes, briefly quoted phrases within the analyst’s narrative, to support the theme.
  • Longer quotation, used to convey more complex understandings.


Creswell, John W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches SAGE Publications, Inc.

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