I’m reading Karen Golden-Biddle and Karen Locke’s Composing Qualitative Research (SAGE, 2007) these days. The second chapter is called “Crafting a Theorized Storyline” and in it they work through four “rhetorical moves” that resonate nicely with my 3-step proposal for writing an introduction. As far as I can tell, my second step essentially combines their second and third moves. This is because Golden-Biddle and Locke distinguish between the literature review and the theory section while I, following Ezra Zuckerman, prefer just to write a theory section grounded in a reading of the literature.
If you have access to the CBS Library, you can read the chapter here. On page 27, they outline the moves as follows:
- Articulate study significance
- Situate study in literature
- Problematize literature to make space for study to contribute
- Foreshadow how the present study addresses problematization
Interestingly, they allow you to make these moves within the same paragraph and even within the same sentence. My approach is less open-minded, I guess, prescribing three distinct paragraphs:
- Write a paragraph that describes the part of the world that interests you.
- Write a paragraph that describes the state of the science that studies it.
- Write a paragraph that describes your paper.
Done right, these paragraphs will accomplish the same thing that Golden-Biddle and Locke suggest. You’re free to discover for yourself which works best. Next week, in any case, I’ll work through each move/step. I certainly agree with Golden-Biddle and Locke that theorizing the stories you tell in qualitative research is an important part of the writing process.