How to Find Out How to Do Qualitative Research

Howard S. Becker


In March 2009, the National Science Foundation issued a report on a conference about qualitative methods (Lamont & White, 2009). This report followed an earlier report on an earlier conference (Ragin, Nagel, & White, 2004). The two reports differed in important ways, and since documents bearing the imprimatur of the Foundation may seem to have some kind of official status and might also be passed around as presenting an authoritative statement on the matter, I thought it worthwhile to prepare a sort of counter-document, one intended to indicate what I think are the shortcomings of the 2009 report and question its implicit claim to authoritative status.

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