Any type of research that employs nonnumeric information to explore individual or group characteristics, producing findings not arrived at by statistical procedures or other quantitative means. (Qualitative Inquiry: A Dictionary of Terms Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997)
The branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their ENVIRONMENT, especially as manifested by natural cycles and rhythms, community development and structure, interactions between different kinds of organisms, geographic distributions, and population alterations. (Webster's, 3d ed)