Supporting the choice for research using a generic qualitative design is needed to assist the researchers with helpful guidance and descriptions about the approach in research. The name “generic” can be rather obtuse. Determining its appropriateness goes beyond discussions about combining elements of other traditional qualitative designs and considers the generic approach as a standalone methodology. Despite its inherent flexibility, the strength of the generic design offers a view of descriptive research data for interpretation that includes personal meaning making in research and is particularly well suited for counseling and other social sciences. The strengths, benefits, and limitations of the generic design are reviewed to assist the researchers in their selection of a generic qualitative research methodology and further the professional literature with increased knowledge and understanding. Counseling professionals benefit from the generic design because of its exploratory nature into real world experiences as perceived by those who live them.


qualitative research, generic qualitative research, basic qualitative research, flexibility in qualitative research

Author Bio(s)

Jeri L. Ellis graduated from the University of Cincinnati and trained in qualitative methodology for her Ed.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision in 2007. Her background includes clinical mental health counseling, school counseling and practice as a hospital chaplain. She joined Capella University in 2010 in the Counselor Education unit and works as the Program Coordinator of the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. Dr. Ellis teaches and mentors qualitative dissertations among her various duties. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Dr. Ellis also maintains a small counseling practice. Correspondence can be addressed to JERI.L.ELLIS@gmail.com.

David L. Hart completed his Ph.D. in Counseling Studies at Capella University in 2014 where he trained in qualitative methodology. Dr. Hart has been a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor in practice for 23 years. He joined Capella as a part time faculty member in 2015 and mentors’ qualitative dissertations. Correspondence can be addressed to stldavidhart@yahoo.com.


Thank you for the advice.

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