Foundations, mishaps and dissemination of qualitative approaches

  • Maria de Souza Minayo


This chapter addresses the foundations of qualitative approaches in humanities and social sciences, their historical development and their status of scientificity. It discusses the birthplace of hermeneutical, phenomenological and dialectical thought in Germany; its dissemination into France; the construction of the first empirical works in the Chicago School; the period of ostracism of qualitative research overshadowed by the hegemony of quantitative studies in the United States, especially in the aftermath of WW2; and the revival of the comprehensive theoretical and empirical perspectives from the 1960s. The author argues that qualitative approaches are currently a promising type of knowledge within humanities and social sciences, because of consolidated theories and a permanent review process; researchers organized in Congresses and University Departments; training books for new researchers; increased spaces in scientific journals; and critical approaches on the validity, reliability and possible universalization of research.