chapter  4
32 Pages

Qualitative Methods

This chapter covers qualitative work in gerontology, and provides the history of qualitative work in gerontology. Each qualitative design (narrative analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, case studies, and phenomenological accounts) is described along with ways to choose the method best suited to a researcher's study. Design features are compared, and details are provided for each element of research design (sampling, data collection, transcription, analysis, trustworthiness/rigor, and ethics). The qualitative design is best used when the researcher looks to explore a topic in aging about which little is known or where more in-depth, first-person accounts are needed. Qualitative methods employ a general philosophy of constructivism or subjectivism—how meaning is attached to experiences or events. The chapter concludes with a discussion of best practices for qualitative researchers, an introduction to qualitative software choices, and issues to consider drawn from applied examples from the field.