Addiction 103 (2), 216–217.
The People Awakening (PA) study  illustrates the value of studying drinking problems in culturally diverse groups with methodologies that fit the research questions and the cultural context of inquiry. The study's qualitative, participatory methods were well suited for an initial exploration of how Alaskan Natives (AN) initiate and maintain sobriety. It is unlikely that quantitative or experimental methods would have been accepted initially or that they would have provided the rich data set upon which the authors developed their heuristic model of recovery.
The study thus exemplifies evidentiary pluralism , an approach that selects research methods in service of content questions, and not the other way around. Hypothesis-generating studies such as the PA project that use qualitative methods are appropriate when knowledge is developing, and the goal is to form proper questions for future research. Forcing quantitative or experimental methods prematurely can delay knowledge development, whereas well-conducted qualitative studies can propel it forward.
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