Qualitative Research Method

Document Type : Research Paper



The astonishing achievements of scientific research method have radically changed human's life-world in a relatively short period of time. Troubles of traditional way of life and their solutions were substituted by emerging issues which were not even mentioned in the previous discourse of our ancestors about the relationship between human and the world. Scientific research method entered the scene for responding material and spiritual troubles of human being. As the best method for understanding new problems and recognizing their solutions, scientific method discredited traditional methods of knowledge and substituted them. But after a while, the achievements of scientific research method made troubles for it. An increasing number of scientists concluded that scientific research method has two basic shortages: 1) it does not make distinctions between natural beings and human beings in terms of methodology; and 2) Narratives or social general rules of scientific method do not respond to increasing social groups and individualization of personal life in the contemporary complicated world. Thus it is essential to find another path that deals more deeply with human life's individual and particular problems. These arguments, finally, culminated in applying qualitative research method in human and social phenomena. The ignoring of widespread application of qualitative research method in studying natural phenomena in order to reset it as a different research method created a controversial discourse over the relationship between quantitative and qualitative methods. The root of this discourse goes back to the issue of unity or multiplicity of scientific research method, on the one hand, and empirical or interpretive approaches towards social reality, on the other. The aim of this article is to show that both of these elements, namely radical duality of quantitative and qualitative research methods and duality of empirical and interpretive approaches, are wrong premises. Both of these approaches and methods have empirical base and rational superstructure so they are not radically different but they are used according to the content of research