The updated Fourth Edition of Rossman and Rallis’s popular introductory text leads the new researcher into the field by explaining the core concepts through theory, research, and applied examples. Woven into the chapters are three themes that are the heart of the book: first, research is about learning; second, research can and should be useful; and finally, a researcher should practice the highest ethical standards to ensure that a study is trustworthy. The Fourth Edition includes an elaborate discussion of systematic inquiry as well as a nuanced discussion of developing a conceptual framework.

Conceptualizing and Planning the Research


Ruth, Anthony, and Marla are challenged by Professor Kent’s assignment to come to the next class with a prospectus—that is, a one- or two-page description of what they hope to do for their small-scale studies. The past few weeks have been enlightening and helpful because they have read excerpts from a couple of qualitative studies. They feel somewhat daunted, however, by the task of conceptualizing and designing their actual qualitative research studies—no matter how “small scale.” Kent underscored how writing a prospectus is similar to writing a proposal for a larger, more comprehensive study but on a smaller scale and with certain considerations relaxed.

Practical Considerations

Our three characters have embarked on the complex process of designing qualitative research projects. ...

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