As a health researcher trained in the social sciences, qualitative methodologies are an inherent, embedded element of my field. People in my area use interviews, focus groups and maps in their research, but do not necessarily specify their research as “qualitative”. As I talked to many researchers in management, strategic management and the business field in general over the past four days and explained how MAXQDA could assist with the qualitative part of their research, I realized that “qualitative” methods did not seem to be an area built into the business curriculum. Some of them openly challenged my views on what “pure qualitative" methodologies were about, especially from those who primarily engaged in large-scale surveys or modelling.
The whole conference experience has reinforced my previous observations that different academic disciplines have their own set of backgrounds and traditions. For example, qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods are not expressly distinguished in epidemiology, public health and most of the Faculty of Medicine (where randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews dominate the field), whereas qualitative methods are almost taken for granted in sociology, anthropology, nursing, education, language/linguistics, and human geography.
I really enjoy going to conferences and interacting with people, especially those that are not from my own discipline. It is a golden way to learn first-hand about the approaches in various fields and to become more interdisciplinary in the way I think about my own academic work.