Dominance Theater, Slam-a-Thon, and Cargo Cults: Three Illustrations of How Using Conceptual Metaphors in Qualitative Research Works
Date of this version
metaphor, qualitative research, case study, research process
Although a metaphor is often viewed either as a literary device or as the distinguishing characteristic of figurative language, taking a conceptual view of metaphor enables delving into the research process itself. Specifically, the authors address how a metaphor is both reflexive of a researcher’s worldview and potentially generative of new research directions previously unconsidered. To illustrate this, the authors examine three case studies that exemplify how a conceptual metaphor can greatly facilitate the researcher’s understanding of an emerging topic and its defining issues. They conclude by suggesting some premises and steps researchers should consider if interested in using conceptual metaphors as an analytic tool.