A case example demonstrates the use of qualitative methods of data collection and data analysis that balance structure and flexibility, and maximize credibility and accountability. Data collection methods use sensitizing concepts from past research and theory and allow for the discovery of respondent-defined meanings. This approach comparatively analyzes cases, structures and documents data analysis steps, and utilizes external reviewers of case materials. The development and use of methods that maximize credibility and accountability will increase their acceptance among social workers and will benefit the profession by adding empirically-grounded depth and insight to its knowledge base.

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