Chapter Overviews

Chapter One, Qualitative Research: An Opening Orientation, defines and situates qualitative research as a field of inquiry and approach to research. The chapter begins with an overview of the processes and key components of qualitative research, including the role of the researcher, and describes why and how qualitative research is reflexive, recursive, inductive, and systematic in its approach to understanding people and the world in context. The chapter then defines what we consider to be horizontals in qualitative research – criticality, reflexivity, collaboration, and rigor – as a way of framing the key values and characteristics of our approach to qualitative research. The chapter orients you to some of the primary approaches within qualitative research so that you understand the diversity and range of ways that you can situate your research and yourself within it. We conclude the chapter by sharing our thoughts about the power and potential of qualitative research.