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.

Entering the Field


Marla, Ruth, and Anthony have designed their studies and made some preliminary decisions about their settings and participants. They are ready to begin collecting data, but first, they must get into the sites or connect with the individuals, whom they will interview. Access is more than physical entry or obtaining official permission to collect data. As you can see, they are facing the following crucial questions:

  • How do they introduce themselves to the participants?
  • Who in the setting needs to know what information?
  • What position or role will each play in the sites?
  • What relationships will be established?
  • What promises will be made?

As qualitative researchers enter a setting, their objectives are to ensure freedom and integrity for both the researchers and the participants in their ...

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