Social work, like many other practice-based professions, has historically been concerned about the discontinuity between practice and research. This discontinuity is frequently reduced to a debate between qualitative and quantitative methodology, placing the profession in a dilemma and further alienating practitioners. This article describes a qualitative data collection and analysis process as it was in a large-scale study exploring issues of family development. The use of open-ended story telling and ethnographic content analysis are recommended for use in practice and in practice-based research. Adoption practice and chemical dependency settings are presented as examples.

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