What’s Different About Qualitative Research?

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Academy of Management Journal 2012, Vol. 55, No. 3, 509–513. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj.2012.4003

FROM THE EDITORS PUBLISHING IN AMJ—PART 7: WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
This editorial concludes a seven-part series, “Publishing in AMJ,” in which the editors give suggestions and advice for improving the quality of submissions to the Journal. The series offers “bumper-to-bumper” coverage, with installments ranging from topic choice to crafting a Discussion section. -J.A.C. I’m comfortable with my knowledge of qualitative work—and my ability to give some insight on a specific piece— but for whatever reason, this quantitative-to-qualitative comparison is hard for me to make. And I don’t understand the reasons that is
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All AMJ articles need an engaging front end that motivates the research (see Grant and Pollock, October 2011 “From the Editors” [vol. 54: 873-879]).

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The introduction and literature review provide key opportunities to grab and direct the reader’s attention toward an understanding of theory that will carry throughout the paper. The front end of a quantitative article typically includes an introduction, literature review, and the development of new theory by way of hypotheses. The literature review, therefore, sets the background for the hypotheses. Because qualitative papers fulfill a different purpose, their front end is shorter, yet it serves more functions. The front end of a qualitative manuscript must not only hook the reader, expose a significant gap in a current theoretical conversation that warrants the development or extension of theory, and situate research questions in that conversation, but also provide a framework for the textual data that follow and a springboard for the new emergent
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