The qualitative systemic methodology in the context of qualitative research methods
Departamento de História, Filosofia e Ciências Sociais Universidade dos Açores Ponta Delgada, Portugal
In this paper we are going to present the fundamental operations of systemic qualitative method: framework, recurrences, circular causalities and modeling relations/exchanges. These operations lead to find the sense/meaning of a social exchange system.
As any qualitative methodology the qualitative systemic method (Alex Mucchielli) adopts the fundamental principles which lead to understanding the structure and functioning of social phenomena and human behavior: comparison, generalization, exchanges and correlative building of the sense/meaning for the actors.
The first operation in this systemic analysis is the building of a framework (cadrage) which corresponds to what is called "sampling" in other qualitative methods. The delimitation of the field of analysis is made from the point of view of the actors correlated with the observed relational networks.
The second operation consist in identify the recurrences on the relations system. These recurrences are listed as a "form of exchange". (Mucchielli, Alex, 2006) This intellectual process combines the seeking of similarities with the categorization although is not yet even an assign of meanings to the actions of the actors in the system.
The third operation is based on seeking circular causalities and on the process of seeking totalities. The researcher shall answer the question:" what is the collective concern shared by the actors that ?builds? the relations system?" (Mucchielli, Alex, 2006)
This research by comparison and generalizing induction of this ?challenge? provides then the key for the interpretation explained on modeling. The modeling relations/exchanges (fourth operation) explicit then, a scheme, of the significance of each "exchange" (formal categories) developed by the actors in a more global context.
By modeling relations/exchanges (fourth operation) we put, in an explicit scheme, the significance of each "exchange". To do this the investigator shall make an intellectual work of "contextualization" but also an interpretation of the emergent sense/meaning of the relations (Mucchielli, Alex, 2006)
For the qualitative systemic this research of the general framework of significations system is a constructivist approach that permits, by the modeling, and by the analysis of circular causalities, to open new perspectives on the fields of the analysis of relational systems in micro, mezzo and macro scale.