It is always interesting to listen closely when someone says, "Qualitative research is..." or curious to read intently an article or book which prominently features "qualitative research" in the title, and then experience a strange, defamiliarization process as the words of the conversation, lecture, article, or book don't seem to fit your notion of what "qualitative research" is and isn't. Well, you are not alone in your confusion. As far as I know, no one has copy rights on the term so it ends up meaning a variety of things for a variety of people. As a matter of fact, that is the most important point: Qualitative research can be a diverse, rich, and sometimes self-contradictory world of inquiry. Meta-analyses of qualitative research methods and philosophies are quite common in the field and serve as good introductions to this diversification of approach. In this short essay I offer one such examination of the field by presenting a series of couplets which help to exemplify central tendencies (CT) and ranges (R) of qualitative research.
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Recommended APA Citation
Chenail, R. J. (1992). Qualitative Research: Central Tendencies and Ranges. The Qualitative Report, 1(4), 1-3. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol1/iss4/4