This chapter is about starting out sure-footed. It advises on ways of specifying what you are setting out to do, why, and how you will do it. It urges that in setting up you should be usefully reflecting on your research question, whether it requires qualitative research and the data needed to answer it well. How might you acquire such data and what are the ethical implications of doing this? These are all questions that should be asked before you start even planning to acquire data. It proposes as first steps clarifying your own relationship to the topic and the intended data, and declaring the assumptions you bring with you.
This free chapter is taken from Handling Qualitative Data, Third Edition, which, in recognizing that for many new researchers dealing with data is the main point of departure, helps to acquire an understanding of the skills and methodological issues that are central to qualitative research.