1996．第11卷第2期（Vol. 11 No. 2）．pp. 106113
Variations in Qualitative Research and the Consideration of a Schematic Definition
Mark A. CONSTAS
As qualitative research has grown in popularity there has been a corresponding proliferation of methodological definitions and empirical applications associated with those studies that operate under the label of "qualitative." Although there are many ways in which qualitative studies are conducted, it is still common to find qualitative research defined as a unitary endeavour. The purpose of the present paper is to provide a schematic description that illustrates the range of definitions and practices found in qualitative studies. A schema composed of six components illustrates a sample of choices that must be made and pathways that may be considered when conducting a qualitative study. The selection of components discussed addresses various aspects of qualitative research, ranging from epistemological positions to representational modes. Practical examples and theoretical arguments are considered in order to demonstrate the way in which qualitative research can vary within and across the six component. Finally, definitional boundaries for qualitative research are linked to distinctions between the broader notions of inquiry and methods.