Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a method of inquiry which seeks to understand how people create or make meaning. Qualitative researchers are concerned with descriptions of experiences, processes, and discourses. Qualitative researchers seek to understand multiple truths, not generalizable knowledge, thus, they utilize small samples sizes; their focus is on context, meaning of phenomena, experiences, or generation of theory (i.e. grounded theory). Traditional qualitative research has its roots in the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and philosophy. Contemporary qualitative research has become more multi-disciplinary in focus, and is conducted from a large number of various paradigms that influence conceptual and theoretical concerns. Qualitative researchers use an array of interpretive techniques to describe, decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with meaning. Qualitative data collection methods include interviews (semi-structured, oral history collections), focus groups, document collections (photographs, videos, journals), and artifacts. The methodology of action research relies in part on qualitative research methods.

Evidence Base for Qualitative Research

Articles and Websites

Qualitative Research Web Links http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/web.html
QualPage at the University of Georgia http://www.qualitativeresearch.uga.edu/QualPage/
The Qualitative Report at Nova Southeastern University http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/qualres.html


Creswell, John W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Creswell, John W. (2009) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Merriam, Sharan B. (2009) Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco, CA: Wiley and Sons, Inc.