From the Editor  |   August 2011
Expanding Our Knowledge Base Through Qualitative Research Methods
 
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  • © 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / From the Editor
From the Editor   |   August 2011
Expanding Our Knowledge Base Through Qualitative Research Methods
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2011, Vol. 20, 161-162. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/ed-03)
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2011, Vol. 20, 161-162. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/ed-03)
Traditionally, quantitative research methods have been applied in the field of speech-language pathology. These methods are designed to test hypotheses, identify cause and effect relationships, and explain behaviors objectively. They have been used to determine differences between disordered and typical samples, identify factors that contribute to various conditions or outcomes, and test the efficacy and effectiveness of intervention techniques, to name a few examples. The findings from such studies have yielded highly valuable information that serves as the foundation of the field’s knowledge base. However, we as a field have largely overlooked the value of the qualitative research methods, which can be employed to answer a different but complementary set of research questions. Specifically, qualitative methods can be used “to understand the complexity of social phenomena through a set of systematic and interpretive practices designed to seek answers to questions that stress how social actions and social experiences are created and sustained” (Damico & Ball, 2010, p. 15). In other words, they can be used to situate the communicative lives of the children and the adults whom we serve in social and cultural contexts.
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