The biggest challenge to the future of qualitative research is that more and more people who do not understand the qualitative paradigm are able to conduct projects, using sophisticated tools, without the knowledge of how to conduct and analyse qualitative research. DIY options for online discussions, social media monitoring, as well as smartphone ethnography, put inexpensive but powerful tools in the hands of the many, but they do not necessarily impart any level of understanding or training. It is too late to put the genie back in the bottle. We can’t prevent non-specialists from running projects, so we need to create a playbook for people new to the field. Here is an initial playbook for non-specialists: helping them stay safe whilst exploring the world through a qualitative prism.
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