Qualitative methods encompass a wide range of types of data and approaches to analysis. Qualitative methods are favored to provide understanding of people’s subjective lived experiences. These approaches are often referred to as inductive methodology. A qualitative approach is differentiated from quantitative methods that primarily use measurement approaches involving ratings, experimental designs to test causation, or other predetermined assessments. However, qualitative methods are not antithetical to experimental study. The primary distinction between these two types of approaches is that quantitative methods focus on numeric understanding of the world (using counts, rates, and ratios to measure phenomena) and statistical analyses. By contrast, qualitative methods use linguistic description and other representations as data including narrative interpretation and logical organization methods for discovery and verification. This entry describes ...

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