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Qualitative research is becoming accepted by the scientific community as a viable way to explore and understand socialscience phenomena. The purpose of this paper is to describe the essential features of the qualitative research paradigm and to encourage further development of that paradigm in the field of family therapy. First, typical characteristics of qualitative research designs are delineated; these characteristics are illustrated with two extended examples from the qualitative research literature in the field of education. Next, possible applications of the qualitative paradigm to research issues in the field of family therapy are discussed. Finally, potential pitfalls that could inhibit the development of qualitative family therapy research are examined. It is hoped that this paper will serve as a stimulus for the development of qualititative research in the field of family therapy.