This example comes from Wilson (1977). The qualitative researcher would want to know:
Wilson points out that it may not even be an act of aggression. It could, in fact, be the reverse an act of affection, or part of subcultural norms that indicate playful demonstration of strength. Even if it is aggression, there are many subtleties involved. For example,
The event could be an initiatory first act, or it could be a retribution for previous acts of aggression not necessarily linked immediately in space, time or kind. The event could be part of a personal relationship between the two students involved, or it could be part of a larger interpersonal network of relations for example, inter-group hostility.
(Wilson, 1977, p. 252)
There are many other possible meanings to such an act, not all of them readily explainable by the participants. Though it may be impossible to comprehend them all, the researcher aims to uncover as many as possible through long-term observation and close discussion with the actors.