Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center. Page: 43
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health science center. The intent of this study was to also make meaning of those pathways. In
analyzing the pathways that specific students at a health science center took to graduation,
administrators can focus on the similarities of these pathways to find ways to improve the
success rate for Latino students at a health science center, in short, to improve educational
Characteristics of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research provides an open, flexible, and emergent approach to the
phenomenon under investigation, which frequently provides a fundamentally more concrete
image of the phenomenon than a questionnaire (Flick, Kardoff & Steinke, 2004; Merriam, 1998).
In qualitative research, there is the idea of remaining open to what the data show; therefore,
forming hypotheses in advance is not standard as in quantitative research and analysis (Flick et
al., 2004). Qualitative research studies start with research questions or objectives, providing a
more fluid research methodology based on how the research project unfolds as data are collected.
The process of qualitative research is based on a sequence of decisions. Each decision builds on
the next, and the research process differs based on subsequent decisions and how those decisions
interplay with previous decisions. This leads to an anomaly in qualitative research: Questions
must be designed clearly and unambiguously but allowed to materialize through the data
gathered in the process, which means the research questions may change (Flick et al., 2004).
Several assumptions guide qualitative inquiry. Thomas Schram (2003) calls these
assumptions, "guiding assumptions of qualitative inquiry." The first of Schram's (2003)
assumptions is that understanding of the social world is gained through direct experiences in a
real-world setting. This is a naturalistic approach to inquiry placing more value on the
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Colley, Kay Lynne. Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center., dissertation, May 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3687/m1/53/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .