Many graduate students doing qualitative research face difficulties in transforming massive textual chunks of qualitative data into comprehensive analysis due to the inductive and lowly-formulaic style of writing in qualitative research. Nevertheless, there is little research on their adaptation to inductive reasoning in qualitative research writing. This single case study research investigated a graduate student’s qualitative research writing process. It discusses how the inductive manner of qualitative research process contradicts the deductive manner of mainstream thesis writing process. It employed a social approach treating writing as a communicative event and observed one year on one Chinese-American graduate student’s organization of qualitative data in her thesis research writing process. The research participant was found using PowerPoint to initiate her writing attempt on the organization and interpretation of data. PowerPoint was used for meaning-making of qualitative data. This study further addressed the following issues: (1) the ways PowerPoint was applied to the participant’s qualitative research writing process; (2) the role of PowerPoint in her qualitative research writing process. It is concluded that PowerPoint headline sentences and bullet points allowed her to arrange complicated ideas into succinct, coherent, generalizable texts for later development of rich description. It serves as a transition for the student to move from deductive fashion of thesis writing to inductive fashion of qualitative research writing. It simplifies one’s thought and writing. Its inductive writing nature accords with the nature of qualitative research writing. These characteristics provide ways for the student to identify salient natures of qualitative data more effectively.
Yi-Huey Guo, Tunghai University, Taiwan