Pursuing Both Breadth and Depth in Qualitative Research: Illustrated by a Study of the Experience of Intimate Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Les Todres Bournemouth University
  • Kathleen Galvin Bournemouth University


In this article, the authors explore the methodological and epistemological tensions between breadth and depth with reference to a study into the experience of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. They consider the benefits and limitations of each of two phases of the study: a generic qualitative study of narrative breadth and a descriptive phenomenological study of lifeworld depth into selected phenomena. The article concludes with a reflection on the kinds of distinctive knowledge generated by each of these two phases and the benefits of their complementary relationship with one another.