Symbolic interactionism as a theoretical perspective for multiple method research

Authors

  • K. M. Benzies RN MN,

    1. Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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  • M. N. Allen RN PhD

    1. Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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Karen Benzies, Faculty of Nursing, Professional Faculties Building, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4. E-mail: benzies@ucalgary.ca

Abstract

Symbolic interactionism as a theoretical perspective for multiple method research

Rationale. Qualitative and quantitative research rely on different epistemological assumptions about the nature of knowledge. However, the majority of nurse researchers who use multiple method designs do not address the problem of differing theoretical perspectives. Traditionally, symbolic interactionism has been viewed as one perspective underpinning qualitative research, but it is also the basis for quantitative studies. Rooted in social psychology, symbolic interactionism has a rich intellectual heritage that spans more than a century. Underlying symbolic interactionism is the major assumption that individuals act on the basis of the meaning that things have for them.

Aim. The purpose of this paper is to present symbolic interactionism as a theoretical perspective for multiple method designs with the aim of expanding the dialogue about new methodologies.

Conclusion. Symbolic interactionism can serve as a theoretical perspective for conceptually clear and soundly implemented multiple method research that will expand the understanding of human health behaviour.

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