Qualitative research presents unique opportunities for understanding arthritis from the perspective of those affected by the condition, as well as for critically evaluating many of the associations of traditional psychosocial variables that have emerged from decades of quantitative research. Its growing acceptance and popularity in the health sciences is reflected in the number of program announcements and other research requests that stress the need to understand health and disease in the context of human diversity. At the same time, it is important that qualitative research be done well and be critically evaluated in the same manner as quantitative research. Many of the same cautions (e.g., garbage in, garbage out) and principles (e.g., standardization of data collection and analysis steps, documentation of research activities) apply in all types of scientific inquiry. By maintaining high standards for qualitative research, those conducting and evaluating qualitative research can ensure its continued acceptance as a valid and powerful mode of research.