This paper sets out to address the problem of the imbalance between the number of quantitative and qualitative articles published in highly ranked research journals, by providing guidelines for the design, implementation and reporting of qualitative research. Clarification is provided of key terms (such as quantitative and qualitative) and the interrelationships between them. The relative risks and benefits of using guidelines for qualitative research are considered, and the importance of using any such guidelines flexibly is highlighted. The proposed guidelines are based on a synthesis of existing guidelines and syntheses of guidelines from a range of fields.
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