Preparing Public Administration Scholars for Qualitative Inquiry: A Status Report

Margaret Stout


This paper reiterates in succinct form the discipline’s discussion of how qualitative inquiry stands to contribute
substantively to public affairs knowledge and why it is therefore a necessary skill to develop as scholars in the
field and its cognates; public administration, public policy, and political science. It then presents empirical data
on doctoral research methods requirements collected in 2004-2005 and 2011-2012 to demonstrate that while
preparation in qualitative inquiry is improving, at least one-third of the doctoral programs associated with
NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration degree programs still fail to prepare candidates in
qualitative inquiry. Therefore, the discussion is still relevant and doctoral programs are encouraged to continue
curricular reform and enhancement. Furthermore, scholars are encouraged to continue research on research in
public administration.

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