Activities in testing – a parallel from qualitative research

I mentioned in the previous article that I would discuss more on the similarity of the phases in a qualitative research process and the phases of the testing activity.
So I continue here the parallel with the book – ‘Reliability and validity in qualitative research’, by Jerome Kirk and Marc L. Miller – and a more extended discussion on invention, discovery, interpretation and explanation.

“[…] the full qualitative effort depends upon the ordered sequence of invention, discovery, interpretation, and explanation.” (page 60)

When I test a product, I go through a sequence of different activities that focus on different aspects of the testing process.
 
Invention denotes a phase of preparation, or research design; this phase produces a plan of action.”

In my case, I could see this as the stage at which I decide how to test a software service/product, by identifying and building a test strategy.

In the book three sub-phases associated with invention are presented, in the case of anthropological research: the first directions to the field to be studied, first look over the field and the first taste of it (meaning the first interaction with the culture to be studied). These further dictate the approach of the research.
I associate this with the experience of learning how to approach the testing task at hand. It’s what happens…

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Personal explorations of qualitative research in testing

One book I read a while ago from the office’s library is about qualitative research. It’s called ‘Reliability and validity in qualitative research’, by Jerome Kirk and Marc L. Miller.
It sounds fancy and scientific, and it has not been an easy read for me, but I really enjoyed it.
I find it full of great ideas, containing some very consistent examples and discussing ways in which qualitative research can be performed, as well as identifying some really interesting aspects of this approach, with relation to social sciences and anthropology. But I do not intend to review this book.

I’ll try to discuss how I find that some ideas in the book apply to my testing activities. As I read along the pages, I made some thought exercises and tried to identify how my work relates to the ideas presented.

As the title of the book suggests, its framework is given by the reliability problem and the validity problem that arise when performing qualitative research. I instantly related these two problems to…

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