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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Action-project differentiation procedure : extending the method of analysis in action theory to allow for the examination of similarities and differences among sets of cases Domene, José Francisco


Although between-groups comparisons are a mainstay in quantitative research methods, their legitimacy within qualitative research is more tenuous. In this methodological dissertation, I explore the issue of between-groups comparative analysis within Young, Valach, and colleagues' contextual action theory research framework, in order to extend the existing actionproject method of conducting social research to encompass mechanisms for examining similarities and differences between distinct groups of cases. To focus my methodsdevelopment work, I ask two specific questions, (a) "Are between-groups comparisons compatible with the assumptions that underlie the action theory paradigm?" and, (b) "What specific procedures could be used within these analyses, to generate findings that go beyond those which are attainable within the existing method?" To address these questions, I first examine the possibilities and problems with conducting between-groups comparative analyses in different forms of social constructionist research, including the action-project method. After establishing that some forms of between-groups comparison are compatible with action theory, I present a novel method for engaging in such analyses, the action-project differentiation procedure, and demonstrate its application to an existing data set. The major findings of this dissertation are: (a) between-groups comparative analyses that retain the full configuration of information from all cases are compatible with this form of qualitative research; and (b) the procedure I have developed is capable of generating useful, trustworthy findings. I conclude with some suggestions for further refinement of the action-differentiation procedure, and a discussion of the broader implications of shifting the previously existing analytical method in this direction.

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