As qualitative research projects are conceptualized and conducted, they can grow out of alignment as researchers make choices as to their Area of Curiosity, Mission Question, Data Collected, and Data Analysis. This phenomenon of being muddled is a natural, and sometimes necessary, part of the overall process. The important part of being in a muddle is to recognize it and to work to tidy it up. In this paper, a way to keep qualitative research projects plumb is presented. A case study is also shared to show how one project was found to be out of alignment and how it was realigned using the Qualitative Research Plumb Line.

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