As you make your way through the readings and resources for this week’s Discussion, you begin to realize that social and political forces as well as scientific curiosity shaped the development of modern qualitative research. These readings also make it clear that qualitative research is not a single, homogenous endeavor. Rather, qualitative researchers:
come from a variety of disciplines,
engage their objects of study from multiple perspectives,
present their results in numerous formats,
extend scientific knowledge beyond the confines of the experiment or survey,
engage the audience to be self-reflective, and
potentially illuminate opportunities for social change.
This week’s course of study provides you with a contextual understanding of qualitative research, which will form the foundation for understanding the methods and rationale. These will also help you begin a thoughtful process for considering the choice of qualitative research as your methodology for your doctoral research.
For this Discussion, you will explore the foundations and history of qualitative research methods. You also will consider the unique characteristics that distinguish qualitative research from other forms of inquiry.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Review the Learning Resources related to qualitative research and consider the reasons researchers choose qualitative research methods for exploring a phenomenon of interest.
Use the Course Guide and Assignment Help in the Learning Resources to help you search for other books, encyclopedias, or articles that introduce and describe qualitative research.
By Day 3
Consider the statement:
Qualitative researchers study people in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.
Using the Learning Resources and other academic sources you found, expand on this simple statement. In 3–4 paragraphs, explain several dimensions of this paradigm that make qualitative research interesting and unique. Be sure to use the terminology you are learning (including but not limited to “phenomena”, “constructivist,” and “naturalistic”), and provide historical context.
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