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Two Decades Of Developments In Qualitative Inquiry

Michael Quinn Patton

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The publication of the third edition of Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods offers the author an opportunity to reflect back over two decades of developments in qualitative inquiry. Major developments include: the end of the qualitative-quantitative debate; the flowering of diverse and competing approaches within qualitative inquiry; the increased importance of mixed methods; the elaboration of purposeful sampling approaches; increasing recognition of the creativity at the center of qualitative analysis; the emergence of ever more sophisticated software to facilitate qualitative analysis; and new ethical challenges in the face of the potential impacts of qualitative inquiry on both those studied and those engaged in the inquiry.