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Naturalistic Inquiry

Encyclopedia
Edited by: Published: 2010
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Naturalistic inquiry is an approach to understanding the social world in which the researcher observes, describes, and interprets the experiences and actions of specific people and groups in societal and cultural context. It is a research tradition that encompasses qualitative research methods originally developed in anthropology and sociology, including participant observation, direct observation, ethnographic methods, case studies, grounded theory, unobtrusive methods, and field research methods. Working in the places where people live and work, naturalistic researchers draw on observations, interviews, and other sources of descriptive data, as well as their own subjective experiences, to create rich, evocative descriptions and interpretations of social phenomena. Naturalistic inquiry designs are valuable for exploratory research, particularly when relevant theoretical frameworks are not available or when little is known about ...

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