Unit 1: Meeting Qualitative Methods
Qualitative research has had early roots in anthropology and sociology. Researchers from the Western world would visit exotic cultures and study people and their customs and rituals through interviews, observations, and archived materials. Quantitative research aims to discover certain patterns that can be captured and predicted accurately with some degree of confidence that something beyond coincidence is occurring which is generalizable to a population of interest. Qualitative research, on the other hand, aims to work within the context of human experiences and the ways in which meaning is made out of those experiences. Qualitative researchers take different approaches when constructing knowledge about human experiences. For qualitative inquiry, there is an understanding that people construct their own meanings based on their interactions with the world called constructionism. Thus constructionism is the epistemology that informs MOST qualitative research. However, there are other epistemologies such as subjectivism and pragmatism that can also inform qualitative work.