You are here

Handling Qualitative Data

Handling Qualitative Data
A Practical Guide

Third Edition
Additional resources:

November 2014 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The Third Edition of Lyn Richards' best-selling book is the perfect introduction to qualitative research for students and practitioners. Recognizing that for many new researchers dealing with data is the main point of departure, this book helps them to acquire an understanding of the skills and methodological issues that are central to qualitative research. Author Lyn Richards provides practical guidance on how to handle, reflect on and make sense of rich data, while at the same time showing how a consideration of methods and their philosophical underpinnings informs how we should best handle our data.

Detailed sections cover: the processes of making, meeting, sorting, coding, documenting, and exploring qualitative data; how to see a study as a whole and write it, and making and justifying claims. Each chapter smoothly integrates software use with discussion of the main challenges that software users are likely to encounter. Novice researchers who use this book will be able to achieve valid and useful outcomes from qualitative analysis, and ensure they do justice to their data.
Part I: Setting up
Setting up Your Project
Making Qualitative Data
Data Records
Part II: Working with the Data
Up from the Data
Handling Ideas
Part III: Making Sense of Your Data
What Are You Aiming for?
Searching the Data
Seeing a Whole
Telling It

Very clear account of the process of doing qualitative analysis, which I'm sure will be useful for our MA Qualitative Methods module.

Dr Merran Toerien
Department of Sociology, York University
June 11, 2015

Good clear guidance given for a key component of the research process

Mr Mark Gillespie
School of Nursing, University of the West of Scotland
June 11, 2015

A comprehensive overview of qualitative data methods in an easily accessible format.

Dr Samantha Leonard
Department of Development Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
June 8, 2015

Handling Qualitative Data is so useful in finding methodologies which could be used to collect information and data for your research.

Mrs Mpho Mbeo
Business Administration , Central University of Technology
June 4, 2015

This book is written in a style and format that enables the uncertain student to get up to speed with the topic quickly and effectively. Its strength lies in its practical tips; it makes explicit the tacit knowledge that researchers develop through the years and as such provides the student with all the practical know-how that usually only comes from experience - but in such a way that the benefits of learning from doing are not lost.

Dr Carol Rivas
Health Sciences, Southampton University
May 31, 2015

A very good text for students needing support in planning and executing qualitative research. Accessible and grounding for the novice and for those needing guidance.

Mrs Lindsay Schofield
PICT, Penny Parks Training
May 22, 2015

Excellent text with focussed sections providing up to date examples/insights.

Dr Martyn Evans
Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University
May 19, 2015

This book did not help any of my students and preferred other publications.

Mr Mike Kershaw
Management , Knowsley Community College
May 7, 2015

This third edition provides extensive information from initial research project design to working with and analysing data. It's written in a student-friendly manner and whilst it's title say ' a practical guide' it also covers the essential philosophical underpinnings, reflexivity and justifying claims made for and from one's research.

Ms Vicky Du-Caine
Centre for Educational Studies, Hull University
April 27, 2015

This book is a comprehensive overview of the methods of handling qualitative data, including the discussion of setting up your own qualitative project, working with the data and understanding your data. The Author skillfully navigates the students through very practical aspects of the qualitative research process. The result is a unique toolbox designed to help novice students doing their own empirical investigation. The book does not go into nuances of the epistemological and ontological assumptions behind qualitative research. However, there are plenty of other books on the market which can fill this gap and the number of books offering practical advice for researchers is much more limited. It is this practical, almost “technical” orientation which makes the Handling Qualitative Data by Lyn Richards unique. There is also a very good free website where students can find examples of real qualitative projects and some ideas about using software to explore qualitative data.

Dr Adam Mrozowicki
Institute of Sociology, University of Wroclaw
April 25, 2015
Key features
  • A fully updated website with expanded examples of "Methods in Practice" showing students and practitioners what qualitative data analysis looks like in real life; researchers reflect back on their project and what they might have done differently.
  • New critical discussion on the companion website of the contributions of qualitative software and relevance of current software to project tasks. Researchers using different qualitative software packages report how they were used and where there limits were met.
  • Extended coverage within the text of key topics in qualitative research including ethics, reflexivity, and the relationship between research questions and methodological choices.
  • With examples from a wide range of social science disciplines including Education, Media, Sociology, Psychology and Health, this book is the perfect companion for all those starting out qualitative research.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Ch. 1: Setting up your project

For instructors