chapter  14
8 Pages

Distillation

Understanding Qualitative Research through Metaphorical Machines
WithJoe Norris

Some qualitative research genres seek the essence of a phenomenon or construct. Through saturated data they analyze or distill the information into universals with the belief that everyone has these in common. Closely connected with the concept of essence is the act of distillation. The distiller or researcher makes many adjustments until the product emerges. The concept of “distilling research data” led the alcohol as a machine. As distillers we fine tune by adjusting knobs and levers to achieve our product. The folk song, “The Good Ole Mountain Dew,” sung by the distiller hinted at what the machine might be. As the product was tasted, the machine’s purpose was clarified. The role of the grandfather was predetermined as that of the actor/researcher/teacher (A/R/T) who retrieved a chair and sat on stage left of the emerging machine. The A/R/Tors did have their lines predetermined as they separated from the machine and tasted the “research.”