The purpose of qualitative research

  • Janice M. Morse
  • Peggy Anne Field


Research fills a vital and important role in society: it is the means by which discoveries are made, ideas are confirmed or refuted, events controlled or predicted and theory developed or refined. All of these functions contribute to the development of knowledge. However, no single research approach fulfills all of these functions, and the contribution of qualitative research is both vital and unique to the goals of research in general. Qualitative research enables us to make sense of reality, to describe and explain the social world and to develop explanatory models and theories. It is the primary means by which the theoretical foundations of social sciences may be constructed or re-examined.


Qualitative Research Qualitative Method Quantitative Research Ground Theory Qualitative Researcher 
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Copyright information

© Janice M. Morse and Peggy Anne Field 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janice M. Morse
    • 1
  • Peggy Anne Field
    • 2
  1. 1.School of NursingPennsylvania State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of NursingUniversity of AlbertaCanada

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