Reflections on qualitative research in business


  • Ana Akemi Ikeda Universidade de São Paulo; Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade



Qualitative Research, Administration, Triangulation, Validity, Reliability


Qualitative research, although very frequently used in companies, is infrequently discussed in academic texts in its global context. Some exceptions are Godoy (1995 a, b, c) and Silva et al. (2006), to name a few. The approaches of qualitative researchers’ articles and books often focus on specific methods or techniques used in those investigations, such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, case studies, ethnographies, grounded theory, etc. The objective of this essay is to discuss the characteristics, uses, and applications of qualitative research in the field of business. Thus, certain authors are compared and analyzed. First, there are considerations regarding the purpose of research studies; the differentiation between induction and deduction; methodology, methods, techniques and procedures; and positivism and interpretivism. Next, there is a discussion on the qualitative paradigm and the origin and field of qualitative research; explanation of validity and reliability in qualitative research; and triangulation. Some standard criticisms are mentioned at the end. The conclusion is that whereas qualitative research is seen as a broad term that covers many concepts, methods, techniques, and procedures that can obscure its understanding, it can also be very useful in generating new, creative, and efficient ways to conduct research work on business issues.


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How to Cite

Ikeda, A. A. (2009). Reflections on qualitative research in business . REGE Revista De Gestão, 16(3), 49-64.



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