William Whyte's Street Corner Society is an example of qualitative research. Whyte was a participant observer on the streets and with men of a section of Eastern City (which we now know was the North End of Boston). He studied the relationships, esp of leadership and obligation, among different men representing various groups: corner boys, college boys, racketeers, and politicians. He explained the "society's" rules and patterns of functions. As research, Whyte participated in organizations of the men and spent social time with them. He was open about his purposes and role. He became "one opf them but not one of them." He would be selected play on an impromtu bowling team, but he had to receive special dispensation to become a member of one of their clubs.
In reporting the research, Whyte used his observations and the men's own words to explain the pattern and meaning. As a part of the research, he would talk to the men about their actions and choices. Their responses would make more clear the meaning behind the action.