A Place for Theoretical Inconsistency

  • Janet Newbury University of Victoria


The current article articulates how the expectation of theoretical consistency can be constraining for qualitative researchers. The author considers the origins of the tradition of theoretical consistency, and suggests that postmodern research – particularly that which focuses on social justice – might in fact be served by considering possibilities that emerge from multiple theoretical perspectives. To illustrate the application and contribution of theoretical inconsistency, three concrete examples of how these ideas have been applied within qualitative studies are discussed. By pragmatically drawing connections across theoretical differences, it is hoped that researchers will engage critically with their own theoretical commitments and assumptions, thus opening themselves up to new possibilities and to new and creative ways of coming together.

Author Biography

Janet Newbury, University of Victoria
Janet Newbury is a PhD Candidate at the School of Child and Youth Care, Department of Human and Social Development.