Qualitative Research

How can LC subject headings be used to locate examples of qualitative research in anthropology and sociology?

In recent years, increasing numbers of anthropology and sociology students are being assigned by their instructors to locate and critically analyze examples of qualitative research. Unfortunately, there is no easy or direct way to accomplish this using LC subject headings. However, LC does provide several useful subject headings for qualitative research methods. The major difficulty is that these headings are applied only to works about the method and how it is employed, not to works that only report the results of research using these methods. Examples of such LC subject headings include:

  • Critical discourse analysis (may subdivide geographically)
  • Discourse analysis (may subdivide geographically)
  • Discourse analysis, Narrative (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnology — Biographical methods
  • Focused group interviewing (may subdivide geographically)
  • Interviewing (may subdivide geographically)
  • Interviewing in ethnology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Interviewing in sociolinguistics (may subdivide geographically)
  • Interviewing in sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Interviews (may subdivide geographically)
  • Participant observation (may subdivide geographically)
  • Qualitative research (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sociology — Biographical methods

In addition, LC provides a number of disciplinary and topical headings that may be useful in looking for examples of qualitative research in sociology and anthropology:

  • Anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Applied anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Applied sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Art and anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Business anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Clinical sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Economic anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Educational sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnographic informants (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnographic films (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnographic videos (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Ethnomusicology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Ethnoscience (may subdivide geographically)
  • Feminist anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Feminist theory (may subdivide geographically)
  • Historical sociology
  • Industrial sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Irony in anthropology
  • Knowledge, Sociology of
  • Literature and anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Mass media and anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Marxist anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Microsociology
  • Motion pictures in ethnology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Motion pictures in the social sciences (may subdivide geographically)
  • Music and anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Organizational sociology
  • Phenomenological anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Photography in anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Phenomenological sociology
  • Photography in ethnology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Photography in the social sciences
  • Political anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Political sociology
  • Religion and sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sociolinguistics (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sociology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sociology, Rural (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sociology, Urban (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sound recordings in ethnology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Sound recordings in ethnomusicology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Structural anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Symbolic anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Symbolic interactionism
  • Urban anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Video recording in ethnology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Video recording in social change (may subdivide geographically)
  • Visual anthropology (may subdivide geographically)
  • Visual sociology (may subdivide geographically)

When used by themselves, most of the headings listed above are much too broad for effective searching when looking for examples of qualitative research. Use of geographic subdivisions can help, as can the use of established subdivisions listed under many of these headings in LCSH and appropriate free-floating subdivisions (see below). Such subdivided headings can of course be searched for as phrases, although the search results might still be overwhelming. An alternative and potentially more effective strategy would be to execute a subject headings keyword search combining one or more of the headings listed above (appropriately subdivided if desired) with the established name for a specific class of people or ethnic group; or with one or more of the following free-floating subdivisions:

  • 1. Case studies: This free-floating subdivision is used as a form subdivision under many of the headings listed above. It can also be used under individual corporate bodies, classes of persons, and ethnic groups. Works so classified often report the results of qualitative research.
  • 2. Field work: This free-floating subdivision is used as a form subdivision under many of the headings listed above for works that discuss research involving work in a field location as opposed to a laboratory, library, or other research facility. Works so classified may occasionally report the results of qualitative research when such works also include a substantive discussion of field work in more general terms.
  • 3. Longitudinal studies: This free-floating subdivision is used as a form subdivision under many of the headings listed above. Works so classified occasionally report the results of Qualitative research.
  • 4. Methodology: This free-floating subdivision is used as a topical subdivision under many of the headings listed above for works that specifically address methodological issues. Works so classified occasionally report the results of qualitative research when these works also include a substantive discussion of methodological issues.
  • 5. Observation: This free-floating subdivision is used as a form or topical subdivision under many of the headings listed above. Works so classified, especially when the subdivision is used as a form subdivision, often report the results of qualitative research.

In addition, the following free-floating subdivisions can be searched in combination with subject headings from other categories in order to locate examples of qualitative research:

  • 1. Diaries: This free-floating subdivision is used as a topical subdivision under names of individuals, families, classes of persons, and ethnic groups, for works about diaries of specific individuals or groups of individuals. Works that study diaries produced by members of specific classes or persons or ethnic groups may provide excellent examples of qualitative research. This term is also used as a form subdivision under the same categories, referring to the actual diaries. Since many diaries are published with editorial commentary, works so classified may also report the results of qualitative research on the contents of the specific diary.
  • 2. Discourse analysis: This free-floating subdivision, designating one of the most widely used methods of qualitative research, is used as a topical subdivision under individual languages and language groups. Works so classified often report on research that is directly relevant to anthropology and sociology.
  • 3. Interviews: This free-floating subdivision is used as a form subdivision under names of individuals, corporate bodies, classes of persons, or ethnic groups for transcripts and recordings of interviews. Works so classified in some cases also report the results of qualitative research based on an analysis of the interviews.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s