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2015 ACQRA Fall Conference

Qualitative Research Methods that Work:

Voices from Experience

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

October 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2015

St. Thomas University



Keynote Lecture:  Friday, October 2, 2015

                                    3:30pm - 5:00pm

                                    Ted Daigle Auditorium, Edmund Casey Hall

                                    Reception to Follow

Plenary Sessions:   Saturday, October 3rd, 9:00am - 5:00pm and

                                     Sunday, October 4th, 9:00am - noon

                                     Brian Mulroney Hall - program details TBA

                                     Pre-registration required - see form above


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Deborah van den Hoonaard

Canada Research Chair

Qualitative Research and Analysis

St. Thomas University

Fredericton, New Brunswick

About Dr. van den Hoonaard

Keynote Lecture

Learning to Be Old: Understanding Ageism

 Today we have a life expectancy that earlier ages could not have dreamed of. An aging population is the hallmark of a successful society. How is it, then, that we consider one of the greatest achievements of society a disaster? This talk argues that the beliefs that underlie ageism, based on the premise that all old people are the same, pervades contemporary thinking. Despite the fact that becoming old involves physical changes, aging has a significant social component. This public presentation marks the culmination of 20 years of working in Gerontology. It explains that we learn to be old and accept myths associated with aging through the way people treat us. It uses the results of Dr. van den Hoonaard’s qualitative studies and personal experience to illustrate this process.


Patricia and Peter Adler

Through the Looking Glass with Alice: The Shifting of Epistemology, Ethics, and Politics in Ethnography

 After being catapulted to fame for her ethnography, On the Run, Alice Goffman has recently run into some major controversy that affects not only her, but ethnographers more broadly. Drs. Patricia and Peter Adler offer their assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the book and consider some of the reasons why it has achieved such a level of prominence. They examine the historical context framing Goffman’s ethical and epistemological decisions to better understand how her behavior in this research falls within or outside of ethnographic norms. They consider the implications and consequences of this work, and of public ethnography more generally.


Gary Alan Fine

Epistemic Generosity and Social Comedy: The Demands of a Skeptical Ethnography


Although much ethnography operates from a standpoint of value commitment, treating the scenes observed as a source for political critique, Dr. Fine draws upon an alternate ethnographic approach in which a disengaged and unattached observer examines a group or site to understand general features of interaction or community organization. In this approach, which he terms skeptical ethnography, the researcher embraces the role of the stranger, eschewing partisan allegiance and interpreting the site with an ethnologist's gaze. This approach, which might otherwise be derided as apathetic or cynical, must balance the potential amusement of watching behaviors that inevitably seem odd when decoupled from forms of value allegiance with a charity that recognizes that actions are inevitably situated within local moralities. To understand the contours of a skeptical ethnography Dr. Fine draws upon four interpretive structures: the dual-stranger role, prismatic vision, the world as social comedy, and epistemic generosity.

Andrea Doucet

What can qualitative researchers learn from Lorraine Code and Rachel Carson? Ecological thinking and "transformative, responsible, and responsive epistemic practices” 


For almost thirty years, Canadian feminist philosopher Lorraine Code has written about the politics, philosophy, and practices of knowledge making and the entanglements between methodologies, epistemologies, and social justice advocacy (e.g., Code, 1987, 1991, 1995, 2006, 2014). This presentation traces Code's work in feminist methodologies and epistemologies, as a backdrop to her recent work on "ecological thinking." Dr. Doucet asks: what can qualitative researchers learn from Code's ecological thinking, especially from her case study of Rachel Carson as exemplary of ecological knowing, being, and doing?

Jaber F. Gubrium

Analysis of Pragmatic Orientations in Ethnography and Narrative

The point of departure for this presentation is the premise that no system of general knowledge is robust enough to understand its everyday application. This approach informs Dr. Gubrium’s areas of research in aging and the life course, health and illness, human service organizations, constructions of family, institutional identity, and narrative analysis.

Claudia Malacrida

Minding the Gaps: Feminist Discursive Ethnography

How can qualitative research allow us to expose and problematize the gaps between the promise of public discourse and the lived reality of people who are affected by it? This presentation suggests how to examine the interplay between public discourse and policy in professional and lay circles, against personal narratives and knowledge about how those texts operate in everyday lives. Expanding on the methods of Michel Foucault, Dorothy Smith and Feminist Epistemologists, 'feminist discursive ethnography' is a qualitative analysis that seeks to produce an emancipatory knowledge that will benefit the social actors who are most affected by a given policy or discourse. Dr. Malacrida examines how discourse analysis and qualitative, narrative interviews can draw on social actors' knowledgeable interpretations and illuminations of public discourse and social policy to produce cogent critiques of power relations.

Staci Newmahr

Fear, Failure and the Field


With increasing pressure on high school students to declare college majors before they enter, on graduate students to complete their dissertations in record time, on faculty to engage only in research that brings in grant money, we appear to be losing our chances to explore and to be forgetting the importance of exploration as an intellectual endeavor. Inductive research processes are, the thinking goes, inefficient. Like the internet, even physical libraries are now searchable only to the extent that one already knows what one is looking for: we cannot browse current periodicals but instead must search for particular titles or topics. Against this backdrop, fieldwork is often untenable. Dr. Newmahr will discuss the idea of the "field" in our quickly-changing academic world. She will  explore ways of "stretching" the idea of the field and detail her own struggles to remain true to the tenets and benefits of ethnography - as well as to the values of what now appears to be its heyday. She compares approaches to projects that worked for her with those that failed (sometimes spectacularly), to highlight commonalities among successful "field" projects, and open a discussion of what the field is, what it can be, and what we think it should be.



For more information, please contact:
Lehanne Knowlton

(506) 460-0384



© 2006 Atlantic Centre for Qualitative Research and Analysis