There is a considerable confusion in the educational literature about the nature of qualitative research. In this article I argue that a major source of the confusion arises from discussing qualitative research as if it is one approach. The discussion in the educational literature concerning qualitative research can be clarified by recognizing that qualitative research comes in many differenct varieties, which can be more clearly identified and understood by using the notion of research traditions. To apply this concept to the discussion of qualitative research, I describe briefly and compare six traditions from the disciplines of psychology, holistic ethnography, cognitive anthropology, ethnography of communication, and symbolic interactionism. I conclude that we may increase our understanding of qualitative research by focusing our dicussions at the level of traditions.
- Prof Dev