Rarely do you find an academic science foundation producing a serious paper on qualitative research. While browsing the internet, I came across a paper that the National Science Foundation published following a 2003 workshop. The paper titled “Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research” is an academic paper that laid out a roadmap for the NSF to begin awarding grants for qualitative research.
The paper is not terribly long. The actual paper is only about 10 pages though the appendix balloons the entire document to 147. As a practitioner, I found it somewhat helpful if I applied a “qualitative” eye to it as I read. For me, I gained the most by keeping the question, “How might this concept be applied to my practice?” rather than reading it for literal knowledge.
Here is the link to the entire paper http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04219/nsf04219.pdf
Click the link below to read two paragraphs from the paper’s Executive Summary about the organization of the paper.
This report is organized into two major sections–
general guidance for developing qualitative
research projects and recommendations for
strengthening qualitative research. The intent of
the first section of the report is to serve as a primer
to guide both investigators developing qualitative
proposals and reviewers evaluating qualitative
research projects. The discussion in this section
addresses six key questions: What is “Qualitative
Research?” What is the Role of Theory in
Qualitative Research? How Does One Design
Qualitative Research? What Techniques Are
Appropriate for Analyzing Qualitative Data? What
Are the Most Productive, Feasible, and Innovative
Ways of Combining Qualitative and Quantitative
Methods? What Standards Should Be Used to
Evaluate the Results of Qualitative Research?
The workshop report contains a summary of
participants’ discussion of and answers to these
The second section of the report presents
workshop recommendations for designing,
evaluating, supporting, and strengthening
qualitative research. Workshop participants
recognized the importance and prestige of NSF
funding, the desirability of making qualitative
projects competitive in the NSF review process,
and the value of research resources provided by
an NSF award. Workshop members made two
sets of recommendations: recommendations for
the design and evaluation of qualitative research
projects and recommendations for supporting and
strengthening the scientific foundations of social
science qualitative research in general.