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Qualitative Methodology

Armin Scholl

Subject Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies
Sociology » Methods in Sociology

Key-Topics qualitative methods

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Qualitative methodology includes a variety and diversity of methods, procedures, and research designs. All kinds of qualitative methods have in common that their main research aim is a deeper understanding of the research object. Therefore, they are nonstandardized tools that can be adapted flexibly to every kind of research object, which can better be called research subjects because qualitative methods do not measure them objectively but interact with them, insofar as method is not a neutral tool in order to gain knowledge about researched subjects but is part of the social reality investigated. Qualitative methods try to discover new hypotheses rather than testing hypotheses deductively derived from known theories; they explore new phenomena and describe them intensively (“thick description”) and from different perspectives (→  Triangulation ). This is essential for the most prominent approaches in qualitative methodology, such as →  grounded theory , ethnography (→  Ethnography of Communication ), →  case studies , social →  hermeneutics or →  phenomenology , feminist methodology (→  Feminist and Gender Studies ), or action research (→  Participatory Action Research ). They all have several research aims in common. First and basically, qualitative methodology is directed at the understanding of the social world that qualitative researchers explore and investigate (→  Verstehen ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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