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Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 1999 Apr-Jun;13 Suppl 1:S45-9.

Qualitative research and Alzheimer disease.

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Center for Nursing Science and Scholarly Practice, University of Rochester, School of Nursing, New York 14642, USA.


This article presents an overview of qualitative research methods and illustrates ways in which these methods may be useful in discovering unknowns that contribute to knowledge about Alzheimer disease. An observation of an elder with Alzheimer disease sets the scene for thinking about ways to explore, describe, and interpret human experiences and the context within which these experiences are perceived. The philosophical assumptions and standards for qualitative research methods are discussed. Two of the qualitative research approaches (ethnography and grounded theory) are presented using examples from published studies to illustrate the logical consistency of fit between purpose statement, data collection strategies, analysis structures, and results specific to the language, and guidelines and rules for each of these two approaches. Practical issues of data management, including the availability of qualitative computer packages and publication, are addressed briefly.

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