Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action by ProQuest


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									Vol. 25:1 Spring 2009

presupposing that not all research methodologies involve interpretive components. I would argue that
even the simplest quantitative measure has to have an interpretive meaning. In that way, the book could
falsely reassure some researchers that interpretation could be avoided by steering clear of hermeneutics,
phenomenology or narrative analysis.

Though a target audience is not specifically identified, the editor writes, ‘Gathering the voices of
scholars from across disciplines and around the world into converging conversations, this volume
provides substantive paths to thinking in which researchers, students, and clinicians in healthcare and
the human sciences can continue to inquire into complex human phenomena while keeping possibilities
in play.’ (xviii) The emphasis of the Western philosophical school of thought in the essays is quite
dramatic. Though the influence of Heidegger, Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty, and Popper on qualitative
research methodologies cannot be denied, alternative/non-Western ways of understanding data would be
a beneficial addition to research thought.

The necessity of attention to context is mentioned throughout the essays, and there seems to be a false
sense conveyed that recognizing and labeling a characteristic or an experience is enough to adequately
or completely attend to context. A striking departure from that approach is present in Kathryn H.
Kavanagh’s (Chapter 2) treatment of the phase of interpretation that involves naming phenomena, which
she calls, ‘representing.’ She paints a vivid picture of the necessity for contextualization, while not
downplaying the danger of misrepresentation. She also does not downplay the difficulty inherent in
researcher/outsider understanding from a different cultural perspective. This chapter is most helpful in
the process of iteratively and reflexively checking themes, categories, and names of phenomena to ensure
responsible representing.

This volume of essays may be helpful to advanced qualitative researchers however, it is not a ‘how-to’
manual for health care researchers planning qualitative research methods.

Claretta Yvonne Dupree, RN, PhD, who is an assistant professor at The Medical College of Wisconsin in the Dept. of
Pediatrics, Hospital Medicine Section, and is also the Director of Research for the Palliative Care Program at the Children’s Hospital
of Wisconsin, USA.

Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political
Thought and Action
J. Budziszewski with David L. Weeks, John Bolt, William Edgar, and Ashley
Woodiwiss; afterword by Jean Bethke Elshtain. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic,
I S B N 978 - 0 8 010 315 6 4; 2 24 PAG ES , PA PER , $2 0. 0 0

Readers of this journal know that, in recent decades, evangelicals have chosen to engage in the public
debate about the moral and social issues of our time, including those bearing on bioethics. What
theological framework can they employ to guide their reflections in bioethics? Political philosopher J.
Budziszewski of the 
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