From the NIH Criteria:

Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools or technologies for this area?"

Qualitative methods are often used when little is known about a topic, area, issue or phenomenon.  Thus, qualitative research projects tend to lend themselves to innovation.

Frankel, RM. (1999) articulates what makes for 'greatness' in qualitative research.  He identifies four qualities of outstanding qualitative studies.  These are relevant to the topic of innovation. 

  • Does the use of the approach represent a 'first' or breakthrough?
  • Is the approach used in a novel or creative way?
  • Is the approach parsimonious?
  • Does the study get to the heart of the question?

The examples Frankel uses to exemplify these qualities are useful. 

For more, please see his chapter -- "Standards of Qualitative Research (particularly pages. 335-339) in BF Crabtree and WL Miller (Eds.) Doing Qualitative Research (2nd Edition).Thousand Oaks: CA, Sage Publications.

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