Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patricia E. Holland
In the broadest sense, all research studies are interpretive. The analysis and depiction of data, as well as researchers' declarations about the meaning of that data, are all interpretive processes. In other words, they are all processes that seek to understand and explain the meaning of what is being studied. Those studies that are specifically identified as “interpretive” differ not in kind but rather in degree from other research. As opposed to empirical studies—be they based in quantitative or qualitative data—that seek new or more informing descriptions and explanations of phenomena or events through rigorous data analysis, interpretive studies seek to understand the possible meanings that individuals, groups, or organizations construct to make sense of socially constructed phenomena, experiences, and interactions. Such meanings emerge in and through the process of interpretation. Interpretive studies are based in assumptions of philosophical hermeneutics developed most notably by Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul ...