Showing how science is limited by its dominant mode of investigation, Lincoln and Guba propose an alternative paradigm--a "naturalistic" rather than "rationalistic" method of inquiry--in which the investigator avoids manipulating research outcomes. A "paradigm shift" is under way in many fields, they contend, and go on to describe the different assumptions of the two approaches regarding the nature of reality, subject-object interaction, the possibility of generalization, the concept of causality, and the role of values. The authors also offer guidance for research in the field (where, they say, naturalistic inquiry always takes place). Useful tips are given, for example, on "designing" a study as it unfolds, establishing "trustworthiness," and writing a case report. This book helps researchers "both to understand and to do naturalistic inquiry." Of particular interest to educational researchers, it is valuable for all social scientists involved with questions of qualitative and quantitative methodology.