Yesterday I was able to join a really interesting session, delivered by a guest academic from Manchester Business School, on Qualitative Research methods. It was very useful to pick up some ideas on this, partly to be in a better-informed position when advising Henley MBAs, and also to inform myself for my own future studies and development.
A lot of isms and ists were being bandied around, and occasionally I was lost (and also occasionally I wasn't alone in being lost!), but I was also relieved to hear that very few academics can agree what is what in this field...
For me, the interesting learning was how to define the range(s) of qualitative research methods available, and also the importance of knowing which philosophical assumptions underpin their use. That helped me clarify an approach to understanding how tools as diverse as 'template analysis', 'metaphors', 'discourse analysis' and even 'blogs' can be used to answer different research questions.
By the way, when I asked my partner the light-bulb question, she immediately hit back with "It doesn't matter, just as long as the light-bulb has been interviewed first."