Ellingson (2009) might be the first qualitative researcher to contextualize "crystallization" as a formalized sub-methodology for conducting qualitative research using a nontraditional approach. For Ellingson "crystallization depends upon including, interweaving, blending, or otherwise drawing upon more than one genre of expressing data" (p. 11). Epistemologically, Ellingson’s feminist and social constructivist approach moves her notion of crystallization past positivism on one end and radical interpretivism on the other end of the qualitative research continuum. She looks beyond the established focus of traditional qualitative research to present crystallization as a holistic approach and "radical way of knowing" (Ellis & Ellingson, 2000, p. 30, as cited in Ellingson, 2009) by using the metaphors of a crystal and a quilt to frame her inquiry process. She advocates for researchers to interpret meaning of the participants’ personal experiences through poetry, film, theater, dialogue, song, and dance.


Immersion, Crystallization, Grounded Theory, Intermediate/Advanced Qualitative Research, Communication Research Methods, Qualitative Inquiry

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Ronald J. Cugno is a program professor at the Nova Southeastern University, Fischler School of Education and Human Services. Dr. Cugno has more than 30 years of teaching experience working with in the PK-12 public school system. He received his master’s degree in school administration from Bridgewater State College, and terminal degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. His area of interests include: educational school leadership, urban school development, at-risk populations, and foster youth aging out of the system. He can be reached at cugno@nova.edu and at 954 (262) 8625. Dr. Kathy A. Thomas is a program professor at the Nova Southeastern University, Fischler School of Education and Human Services. Dr. Thomas has more than 25 years of teaching experience, working with children in youth in public and private classrooms, secure juvenile facilities, and residential treatment settings. She received her master’s degree in education from Tufts University and criminal justice from Northeastern University. Her areas of interest include: adolescent development, juvenile justice, child abuse & neglect, classroom management, educating high-risk youth with emotional and behavioral problems, foster youth aging out of the system, and homeless women and children. She can be reached at thomask@nova.edu and at 954 (262) 8431.

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Original volume and issue number from The Qualitative Weekly, an offshoot publication of The Qualitative Report which has been folded into the primary journal: Volume 2, Issue 19


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