Fresh, insightful and clear, this exciting textbook provides an engaging introduction to the application of qualitative methodology in the real world. Expert researchers then trace the history and philosophical underpinnings of different methodologies, explore the specific demands each places upon the researcher and robustly set out relevant issues surrounding quality and rigor. Featured methodologies include action research, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, case studies and narrative inquiry. This practical book provides a helpful guide to the research process - it introduces the relevant methods of generating, collecting and analysing data for each discrete methodology and then looks at best practice for presenting findings. This enables new researchers to compare qualitative methods and to confidently select the approach most appropriate for their own research projects. Key features include: • Summary table for each chapter - allowing quick checks to test knowledge • ‘Window into’ sections - real world examples showing each methodology in action • Student activities • Learning objectives • Full glossary • Annotated suggestions for further reading • Links to downloadable SAGE articles • Links to relevant websites and organizations This is an invaluable resource for students and researchers across the social sciences and a must-have guide for those embarking on a research project. Visit the accompanying companion website for a range of free additional resources.

Introducing Qualitative Research

Jane Mills Melanie Birks

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify key milestones in the evolution of qualitative research
  • Discuss the definition of qualitative research
  • Explore the concept of a generic form of qualitative research
  • Discuss the purpose and structure of qualitative research questions
  • Construct a qualitative research question


  • Ambition
  • Desire
  • Curiosity
  • Trepidation
  • Frustration
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Confusion … and then we begin.

For beginning researchers, planning to undertake a qualitative study is motivated by a range of factors. For some it is a requirement of their employment that they achieve a PhD, the highest degree that a university awards. For others, engaging in this type of work results from a long-held desire to exercise their intellect; while curiosity is a characteristic that all potential ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles