Title: What Makes Qualitative Research Qualitative?
Journal Title: Qualitative Research Reports in Communication
Volume: Volume 8
Issue: Issue 1
Publication Date: October 2007
Start Page: 3
End Page: 14
Published online: 11 Oct 2007
Abstract: The discipline of communication is marked by an increasing number of means of understanding. Given the recent research explosion, specialization has accordingly become a major way of dealing with research and methodological diversity. Within this context, this analysis is predominantly definitional, seeking to isolate the unique features of qualitative research. This analysis first provides a survey of six major definitions of and approaches to qualitative research. Second, commonly shared characteristics of qualitative research are outlined, including the role that natural setting plays in the research design, the role of the researcher as both observer and participant, how subjects influence the content of a communication study, the influence of subject intentionality on the research report, and the pragmatic uses of qualitative research. Third, it is suggested that qualitative research is theoretically unique, satisfying the requirements for grounded theory. Finally, it is concluded that qualitative research is increasingly finding its own identity when viewed in terms of the goals and procedures of quantitative and critical approaches to communication.
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