Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Maria K. E. Lahman & Monica R. Geist
Qualitative research may be broadly said to be research in which data in the form of words are collected and examined thematically. In other words, what is of interest to the researcher is an exploration, in a natural setting, of the meanings people bring to the qualities, nature, or essence of a phenomenon. The aim of qualitative research is to understand the meaning of human action and to explore and tell the human story. Qualitative research is a broad term that encompasses genres such as ethnography, case study, narrative inquiry, phenomenology, grounded theory, life history, oral history, biography, and auto-ethnography. This entry briefly describes the background of qualitative research; five of the most prominent methodologies (grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, case study, narrative inquiry); how to collect data through the use of interviews, observations, and artifacts, data analysis; methods to enhance trustworthiness (a qualitative term for validity and reliability); and While ...