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John Creswell's Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Chapter One

Updated on April 11, 2013

In Chapter One of Creswell’s book, Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, the author begins with describing the purpose and rationale for her book. He describes his concern that so many students enter into qualitative research with little understanding of all of the different approaches to research and the inability to choose the appropriate approach for their specific topic. In this text, he wanted to alleviate this problem by walking students through the qualitative research process and narrowing down all of the many choices in approaches to five to make it easier for students to choose. Not only does he simply name the five approaches he has chosen to include, he outlines her reasoning for choosing these specific five and begins by providing recommended texts.

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He lays out his personal position in regards to qualitative research and reveals the five approaches he supports out of the many to choose from. In his text, he cites six different sources that attempt to organize this large amount of approaches to research. “Tesch (1990) provided a classification consisting of 28 approaches . . . Miller and Crabtree (1992) organized 18 types . . . Denzin and Lincoln (2011) have organized and reorganized their types of qualitative strategies over the years” (Creswell, 2013, p. 7). The author purposely keeps the beginner in mind when choosing the approaches he will cover in this text. Having access to all of the possible approaches may be appropriate for more experienced researchers, “however, students and beginning qualitative researchers need choices that fit their research problems and that suit their own interests in conducting research” (p. 2).

In this chapter the author offers resources he has personally read and recommends for learning more about each of the approaches chosen. In an attempt to help students understand all of the approaches offered by all of these other resources, he even organized them for his readers by the appropriate disciplines and fields they cover. ”The five approaches discussed in this book reflect the types of qualitative research that [she] most frequently see[s] in the social, behavioral, and health science literature” (Creswell, 2013, p. 11). The books he chose to recommend to his readers for each of the approaches “tend to have procedures of rigorous data collection and analysis methods that are attractive to beginning researchers” (p. 11).


Finally he identifies his audience for this book and how he has organized the following chapters. This text is focused on reaching students in graduate school writing master’s theses or doctoral dissertations, “provid[ing] a useful text for those who produce scholarly qualitative research” (p. 12). Throughout the book, the author provides first, an overview of the topic about to be covered, and then addresses how the topic could be used with each of the five approaches he selected. In each chapter he tried to cover the basics before delving into deeper explanations for beginning researchers and also provides several book recommendations to give his readers a more extensive explanation of each topic to build on their current understanding and prior experience in research.

This book is more about how to put together a quality qualitative research design than anything else. However, the author adds to the book by outlining five approaches he would recommend choosing from in all of his experience as a researcher, in order to aide students in choosing the right approach for their project.


American Psychological Association. (2012). APA style. Retrieved from

Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design (Third edition). Los Angeles, California: Sage Publications.

Gasque, A.W. (Ed.). (2010). Concise rules of APA style: The official pocket style guide from the American Psychological Association (Sixth edition). Washington, District of Columbia: American Psychological Association.

Ober, Scott. (1995). Contemporary Business Communication. 2nd Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Owl Purdue Writing Lab. (2012). Retrieved from

VandenBos, G.R. (Ed.). (2007). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, District of Columbia: American Psychological Association.

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