Progressing through the Haze in Science and Mathematics Education Research: Contemporary Use of Spradley’s Qualitative Inquiry in Two Case Studies

  • Jean S. Lee University of Indianapolis
  • Vanashri Nargund-Joshi Indiana University
  • Barbara Dennis Indiana University


Spradley’s developmental research sequence (DRS) has been used primarily for ethnographic studies. However, this ethnographic tool has been employed in case studies without an examination of the merits of its modification. In this article the authors discuss how adapting analytical steps of DRS to case studies can be methodologically advantageous. They found that transforming Spradley’s ethnographic approach rendered it useful for articulating implicit conceptualizations in case studies, one from science education and the other from mathematics education. Investigating this issue will necessarily involve looking closely at the substantive aspects of the case studies themselves. Findings from the case studies and results from the methodological investigation are reported along with suggestions for future research.