Rapid Qualitative Inquiry

Rapid Qualitative Inquiry: A Field Guide to Team-Based Assessment

January, 2017

An accessible field guide to Rapid Qualitative Inquiry (RQI)—a team-based, applied research method designed to quickly develop an insider’s perspective on a situation. RQI substitutes team work for long-term field work; combines data from multiple sources, is based on cycles of data collection, data analysis, and additional data collection and analysis; and uses techniques from ethnography and case study research. The objective of RQI is to develop understanding as opposed to finding a single truth. (74)

 

Practitioners who need timely results for program and policy planning and students who need a guide for realistic and rigorous qualitative research projects will find solutions in Rapid Qualitative Inquiry (RQI). RQI is a team-based, applied research method designed to quickly develop, usually is less than several weeks, an insider’s perspective on and a preliminary understanding of a situation. In this accessible field guide to RQI, James Beebe provides an introduction to research that substitutes team work for long-term field work; combines data from multiple sources; and uses cycles of data collection, data analysis, and additional data collection. RQI is based on techniques and concepts from ethnography and case study research. RQI is a type of Rapid Assessment Process (RAP) and the terms Rapid Qualitative Inquiry and Rapid Assessment Process can usually be interchanged. Extensive examples make clear that rapid does not mean rushed and that rigorous RQI depends upon flexibility rather than an arbitrary list of techniques. Students and instructors in qualitative research classes will appreciate the clear but flexible instructions for doing a Mini-RAP, the RQI educational activity. Throughout, Beebe’s clear prose guides interdisciplinary readers through the process, promise, and potential pitfalls of RQI. (196)

New to the second edition:

·         Significant update and expansion of the concepts of Rapid Assessment Process (RAP) based on the experience of users and advances in the field of qualitative research.

·         A new chapter devoted to the implications of the “insider’s perspective” for developing understanding of complex situation.

·         Expanded discussion of how case study and ethnographic approaches contribute to RQI.

·         A new chapter on using technology to improve the rigor and speed of RQI.

·         Expanded discussion of the RQI family tree that provides context for the development of this research method.

·         New concluding chapter highlights key points relating to rigor and considers the future of RQI.

·         An expanded Appendix on mastering the skills and attitudes for team-based qualitative research with special attention to the use of the educational activity, Mini-RAP.

 Introduction. Introduction from the book.

Chapter 1. The Basic Concepts of RQI (not to be quoted) pdf

James Beebe is a social activist and an applied social scientist; a practitioner whose more than 20 years of field experience includes service as a Foreign Service Officer with USAID, researcher, and consultant in developing countries; and an educator whose more than 20 years of experience in higher education includes service as a Professor of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University from1996 to 2013. As of 2016 he was doing research, was the Director of the Center for Rapid Qualitative Inquiry in Portland Oregon, and was a Departmental Affiliate in the anthropology department at Portland State University.

James Beebe, Portland State University/Anthropology, Departmental Affiliate, Faculty Profile