The newfound credibility of qualitative research? Tales of technical essentialism and co-option

Qual Health Res. 2003 Sep;13(7):1019-27. doi: 10.1177/1049732303253331.


Qualitative research is no longer the "poor relation" to quantitative research that it has been in the past. However, it is important to monitor the manner in which it is becoming incorporated into the mainstream. In this article, the author examines current dangers and challenges by critically reviewing current developments affecting our own research practice. It is argued that technical essentialism (including the co-option of grounded theory) characterizes many responses to qualitative research. The author concludes by suggesting that our own everyday research practice, involving teaching and supervision, provides an opportunity to advance debates about rigor by allowing us to formulate a considered response that respects both the complexities and the unique contribution that qualitative research can make.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Narration
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Reproducibility of Results