Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952668 | Print ISBN: 9781412909488 | Online ISBN: 9781412952668| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Qualitative research is concerned with understanding human experience, interactions, and behavior patterns. It seeks to describe and interpret the why of human behavior and motivation. Qualitative approaches are well suited to explore the complexities of multicultural contexts and multicultural individuals. By its very nature, qualitative research recognizes the value and validity of personal experience and the existence of competing ways of understanding social realities. Rather than aiming to isolate and manipulate critical variables, qualitative research tries to interpret comprehensibly, and through language, the nature of the human condition; it incorporates the complexity of forces shaping cognition, affect, and behavior in a descriptive narrative. Expanding psychology's research options requires that we review approaches that have taken root in related disciplines. Emerging research methodologies in social science are consistent with belief systems and epistemologies that favor interpretation over prediction; this pursuit is a search for meaning, rather than generalization. Traditional (quantitative) psychological ...