The rise of qualitative research has generated a great deal of renewed interest in the social and cultural foundations of education. Formerly, research and educational foundations were connected largely through the philosophy of science, and that connection was usually limited to the narrow specialization known as logical positivism. Positivism served as the foundation for quantitative and experimental research designs. Yet with the emergence of qualitative inquiry in the 1980s and 1990s, researchers sought support for their work from a much broader range of scholarly traditions. Today, these traditions include not only the social sciences, but also phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical theory, postmodernism, and aesthetics.

Recent developments in qualitative research are examined below in three sections. The first section recounts the growth of qualitative approaches as one of ...

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