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A methodological paradigm that relies primarily on the collection of qualitative data (e.g., nonnumeric data such as words, pictures, images, categories). According to qualitative research, reality is subjective, personal, and socially constructed. The purposes of qualitative research are to explore, discover, construct, and describe phenomena experienced by people in specific contexts. The qualitative researcher usually does not make generalizations beyond the people in the research study. Qualitative researchers collect data through in-depth interviews, participant observations, field notes, and open-ended question naires. Rather than using standardized instruments of data collection, the research is said to be the “instrument of data collection.” It is important in qualitative research to understand the emic, or insider's perspective, as well as the etic, or the “objective” outsider's perspective. Data ...

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