Challenges to Qualitative Community Research
Pp. 167-171 (5)
Qualitative research has much to offer, not just as an adjunct to quantitative or mixed
methods, but as a leader in particular studies. QCR’s role and applicability partly depend on recognition
of its conceptual and methodological challenges. The field could benefit from consistent and rigorous
self-inquiry. More conceptual and methodological rigor is needed. Among the conceptual challenges
are the following: non-consensus on what constitutes core principles of qualitative inquiry; overreliance
on quantified approaches; tendency to see qualitative research as an illuminating supplement,
rather than a potential stand-alone contributor; and resistance to mixed models of research. Among
methodological challenges are: non-understanding of scientific basis and methods of ethnography and
other qualitative research approaches; problems in analyzing, interpreting and integrating subjective
data; and difficulties in achieving validity, reliability and generalizability. Grappling with these
challenges is aided by vigilance in linking a project’s conceptualization, aims, questions and methods.
QCR’s challenges and resolutions occur within theoretical, methodological and analytical frameworks.
General, Conceptual and Methodological Challenges, Grappling with Challenges.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Howard University, Washington, D.C.