Many characteristics make up the collective term of qualitative research, Methods used specify a certain framework in which researchers operate, Within this framework, there are two major assumptions in which I believe take precedence, Inductive reasoning and topic specificity are the two characteristics that I believe define qualitative research, Inductive reasoning is the epitome of qualitative research design. Researchers seek information out of the data that is gathered; they do not proceed to a project looking for specific findings, Maxwell (1996) states that qualitative research allows researchers to examine explanations and data - not to prove a self-fulfilling prophecy, Inductive reasoning looks for meaning from within the subjects, Researchers have historically attempted to objectify the subjective state of the their subjects, Instead, using an inductive approach, they can genuinely learn from their subjects. They are empathetic and reflective. Their job is to learn how their subjects think (Biklen & Bogdan, 1998).
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Walters, C. H. (2001). Assumptions of Qualitative Research Methods. Perspectives In Learning, 2 (1). Retrieved from http://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/pil/vol2/iss1/14