Qualitative Research is…

Most of use would find it easier to conduct research if there were more clear set of rules to follow, if we could be assured that the paths of least resistance would be the most fruitful, or if were we guaranteed at least one “aha” moment in which it all fell into place and the right route was revealed. Qualitative research is never going to offer those things…doing qualitative research well is a matter of finding practical and defensible balancing points between opposing tensions. We always make trade-offs in our research choices. The trick is to understand the trade-offs we are making well enough to defend them to others.

Nancy Baym, “What Constitutes Quality in Qualitative Internet Research?” In Markham, A. and Baym, N.K., Eds., Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Method. Sage Publications, 2009.