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.

Our Characters’ Analyses


This chapter presents the products of our characters’ labors. They have diligently gathered data and begun to make sense of them. Each follows a different analytic path, but all engage in asking questions of their data, identifying salient themes, coding the data, and interpreting them. This process is iterative, as the researcher cycles back and forth from snippets of data to larger categories and thematic ideas, back to the data to see if they “fit.” To this process, our characters bring a range of resources, which may include

  • direct experience of life and events in the setting;
  • sensitivity toward the concerns and orientations of members;
  • memory of other specific incidents described elsewhere in [their] notes;
  • [their] own prior experience and insights gained in other ...
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