Qualitative Nursing Research: A Contemporary Dialogue. Morse JM (ed), Beverly Hills, Ca, Sage Publications, 1991, 343 pages, $18.95, softcover.
The use of qualitative research methods in studying nursing phenomena related to the elderly is just beginning to be appreciated. Discussions on particular aspects of qualitative methods are becoming more evident in journals that focus on the elderly. Qualitative Nursing Research (a revised edition) is timely in that it is intended to fill the gaps in basic qualitative research texts. It is intended to answer questions for the qualitative researcher as well as the qualitative research reviewer. It does, indeed, do just that by providing salient writings of leading qualitative nursing researchers from the United States and Canada.
Central to the theme of this edited book are the "sticky issues" that are discussed. These include the changes that qualitative research is undergoing, the multiple interpretations and modifications of phenomenological inquiry, the complexities in the use of ethnography in generating nursing knowledge, the problem of subjectivity with the use of self in ethnographic research, the difficulties encountered in doing research in one's own culture, sample selection problems, issues of reliability and validity, the dilemmas encountered in defining the triangulation of data, and the obstacles encountered when seeking funding or institutional review board approval.
Each chapter faces the issues head-on, using examples of completed research or research in progress. Although many of the issues are not solved per se, they are thoroughly discussed and the reader is left with a sense of understanding of the problem and the ability to make educated choices. The dialogues between chapters provide insight to the dynamic and changing nature of qualitative research, and the personal revelations of the authors let the reader know that qualitative research is here to stay.
The composition of the authors includes many with psychiatric-mental health backgrounds, pediatrics, public health, and maternal-child health. Although one author briefly alludes to study of the elderly, the absence of discussion of qualitative research applied to the elderly is glaring. The book would be strengthened with examples of qualitative research across the life span, especially of the elderly, who are the fastest growing segment of the population. Another area that could be expanded is that of analysis of data. It is a "sticky issue," and expert attention of analysis is needed in the discussion of qualitative research. Overall, the book provides a much needed exchange of the ideas related to "sticky issues" in qualitative research and promotes concepts that can be used by qualitative researchers and reviewers.