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Challenges of Qualitative Inquiry and the Need for Follow-Up in Descriptive Science

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The present article explores problems of descriptive reporting, relativism, and the lack of systematic follow-up of qualitative research. Such issues are discussed in relation to components of phenomenologically based research reports, with emphasis on the articulation of the research approach, and steps to facilitate validation. The value of a descriptive science derived from phenomenological principles is discussed as forming a common ground for initial qualitative inquiry, while providing a critically reflective base upon which rational consensus can be developed. I suggest that the values of follow-up, tentativeness, and humility in research reporting, and a rational framework of critical validation, constitute a common core of science. In addition, phenomenological tenets are discussed as providing a corrective to the uncritical search for absolutes, or the "anything counts" conception of relativistic movements.

Affiliations: 1: Saginaw Valley State University


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