On the Qualitative Transformation of Developmental Science: The Contributions of Qualitative Methods

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The articles in this special issue underscore the contributions to developmental theory and methodology that can be made by qualitative research elucidating the mutually influential relations between individuals and their contexts. The articles provide important, new information about how individuals, through active, positive engagement with their context can be active agents in their own, positive development. The articles illustrate that the nuances of how agentic youth contribute to their worlds, at the same time that they are influenced by their settings, would be difficult if not impossible to capture richly and scientifically with only quantitative methods. The articles in this special issue powerfully illustrate that, today, qualitative research is an essential part of mixed-method approaches to developmental science, and that such approaches are regarded as defining the cutting edge of methodological innovations needed to understand intra-individual change across the life span.

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