Scholarly discourse concerning the distinction between qualitative and quantitative approach often takes on a binary character. This structuralism undermines the legitimacy of positivist qualitative research, a unique method frequently used in social science research. In the present essay, the author argues that positivist qualitative research should be recognized as a unique form of qualitative research. The essay focuses on three issues: (a) the paradigmatic roots of positivist qualitative research, (b) the components of positivist qualitative research as an empirical research approach, including a typology for mapping various manifestations of partially and fully positivist qualitative research, and (c) incorporating a paradigmatic disclaimer section in articles to improve the quality of qualitative research, positivist and non-positivist alike. Recognizing positivist qualitative research as a distinct and legitimate type can improve qualitative studies in social science.


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