Qualitative Inquiry in Undergraduate Psychology Curricula and Research Training: Contexts and Practices for Transforming the Optional Into the Obligatory

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Abstract

Although qualitative inquiry is gaining recognition and legitimacy in the discipline of psychology, the teaching of such approaches to research–and the scholarship of such teaching – remains under-developed, particularly with respect to undergraduate psychology programs in American and Canadian universities. We begin this special issue with a counter-example to the American and Canadian contexts with a focus on the advances and challenges evident in qualitative research training in the U.K. We then feature examples of teaching qualitative inquiry in undergraduate psychology programs at selected American and Canadian universities. These examples illustrate various ways in which such teaching can occur, e.g., as a stand-alone course(s); as integrated into an existing course in a psychology curriculum; and as a lab-based, team experience outside of a formalized course. Our goal with this special issue is to recognize ongoing achievements and to encourage the creation of new practices in the teaching of qualitative inquiry in our undergraduate psychology programs – all in the service of making the optional obligatory.

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