The Rashoman Effect: Exploring the meaning of qualitative research analysis

Peter Tottman
Jigsaw Research


This paper seeks to reignite the long dormant debate about the nature and meaning of qualitative analysis and (therefore) the role and value of qualitative research itself. It is stressed that the aim of the paper is to reignite debate and raise some tentative hypotheses for further exploration not answer these questions. The paper is focused on an exploration of the commercial qualitative sector but draws upon the academic sector in a modest way as means of comparison and stimulus. The paper uses a small scale, practical experiment as a means of approaching what could otherwise be an arcane and inaccessible subject. It provides a short introduction to some of the controversy and debate around the subject as context, without any attempt to summarize published thinking or document/explore the historical influences/roots or development of the qualitative research itself.

1.1. Why Now?