The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Escaping from the box

Groucho Marx said he wouldn't want to be a member of any club that allowed him to join. This sums up my apprehensiveness about AQRP.

I have the qualitative credentials: doctorate in psychology; 10,000 group discussion and depth interview 'flying hours' and a love of uncertainty, complexity and open-ended problem solving.

Yet I have been slow to embrace AQRP fully, which doth perhaps protest too much in arguing the qualitative research corner. Well, if I am a qualitative researcher, what is wrong with that? The answer is that over the years, in addition to doing qualitative research, I have also tackled numerous quantitative projects.

My overall philosophy is that the skills associated with qualitative ­ gaining a full understanding of what happens throughout the research process and using one's intuition to gain insights into what makes people 'tick' ­ are required when looking at all types of data, including quantitative. Given this philosophy, I have found it hard to align myself to those qualitative researchers who have tended to see qualitative research as a counterpoint, rather than as complementary, to quantitative research.

But I am pleased to say I am back in the AQRP fold, reassured that qualitative researchers are now much more aware of the importance of getting out of their qualitative methodological 'boxes', and are beginning to employ their silky skills on the wider burgeoning information and knowledge management stage.


David Smith
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 1999