Mary Lynne Derrington’s Qualitative Longitudinal Methods: Researching Implementation and Change addresses the use of the qualitative longitudinal methods, their unique methodological features, and the challenges and benefits to this approach. This short supplemental text uses examples of published studies, and the author’s own stories and examples, to show application of the concepts. A chapter on how to prepare a manuscript for publication concentrates on the distinctive aspects of publishing longitudinal studies. The book will be useful to those researching change and its impact on organizations and individuals resulting from the implementation of programs and policies.

The Benefits and Challenges of Longitudinal Qualitative Studies

In this chapter, the reader will

  • review the basics of longitudinal qualitative research,
  • explore longitudinality’s contribution to qualitative methodologies,
  • examine the longitudinal perspective as a way of understanding and describing change, and
  • consider the management of challenges in the longitudinal approach.

Describing Longitudinal Research

Longitudinal research is about understanding change over time in an individual or a group. Qualitative methodologies include historical, ethnographic, grounded theory, and trend studies. In addition, many methods are possible for data collection; but hallmarks of such research are time, relationships, and change. Regarding the variable of time, “There is no clear definition of the meaning of ‘long’ in longitudinal research” (Corden & Millar, 2007, p. 586). However, the minimum standard is two or more measurements for ...

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