28. april 2017

Methodological Reflections on Practice Oriented Theories

What consequences are linked to the application of a praxeological perspective in empirical research when it comes to the choice of methods? Is there such a thing as an ideal path to follow in praxeological empirical research? What relationship is there between qualitative and quantitative approaches? What differentiates practice-based social research from other perspectives and approaches such as discourse analysis or hermeneutics? The book 'Methodological Reflections on Practice Oriented Theories' addresses these questions and presents a comprehensive overview of methodological issues and empirical methods of practice-oriented research.

Professor Bente Halkier contributed to the book with the chapter titled 'Questioning the ‘Gold Standard’ Thinking in Qualitative Methods from a Practice Theoretical Perspective: Towards Methodological Multiplicity'.

With the growth and diffusion of the empirical uses of practice theories, a worry about an apparent predominance of interview methods in data-production and their presumed lack of adequacy for establishing valid data on everyday practices has risen. In the chapter Bente Halkier argues that this methodological worry is based on a too generalised understanding of what empirical research based on practice theories might be, and based on a simplifying “gold standard thinking” about qualitative methods. To use a practice theoretical approach for empirical research on communicatively contested parts of everyday life does not necessarily pose a danger of focusing only on the discursive dimensions of everyday practices. Rather, the potential methodological choices and strategies ought to depend upon the specific knowledge interest in the particular research project. Bente Halkier points points that the days of the “golden standard thinking” where observational methods in the starting point are seen as more valid than any other (but particularly any interviewing) methods in capturing everyday practices ought to be over. Just like there are no methods that are inherently more valid than others, there is no one way of operatively “translating” practice theoretical concepts into particular methods, which are better suited at capturing everyday practices than others.

Bente Halkier, Questioning the ‘Gold Standard’ Thinking in Qualitative Methods from a Practice Theoretical Perspective: Towards Methodological Multiplicity in Methodological Reflections on Practice Oriented Theories, Springer International Publishing, 2017.