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The origin and success of qualitative research

Vol. 56 No. 2, 2014 p.167–184

Lawrence F. Bailey

Qualitative research has at last achieved full respectability in the academic sphere, and the success of commercial qualitative market research is demonstrably substantial. This article traces the history of qualitative research back to the time when both strands meet, in an academic source aware of the commercial value of applied psychology, drawing upon techniques that seek to explore and explain human behaviour. It is argued that the modern understanding of qualitative research comprises a ‘package’ of component parts, and that the essential elements of these were first identifiable, beginning in 1925, in the work and advocacy of the psychologist, Paul Felix Lazarsfeld.


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