Chapter FourQualitative Data Collection in the Field

Qualitative data are most often associated with applied research questions for which the answers or explanations sought have to do with context, environment, and holistic assessment of a situation or problem. The goal is to obtain data that authentically reflect the perspectives of others and, through analysis, come to understand how people comprehend and interact with the particular phenomenon or process (or program or policy) that we are interested in. The need for qualitative data, as with any data, is guided by the research question(s) at hand. Researchers tend to collect qualitative data if they are interested in values, personal meaning, beliefs, context, tracing processes, and understanding ...

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