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Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative Research Methods

November 2010 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd


This comprehensive text takes a practical approach that mirrors the path that students follow in conducting a research project. The book is based on the authors' highly successful multidisciplinary qualitative methods workshops, which have been conducted for over a decade. They introduce a 'qualitative research cycle' that leads students through the selection of appropriate methods, the collection of data, and the transformation of findings into a finished project. The book provides a clear explanation of the nature of qualitative research and its key concepts.

Introduction to the Book
Who is This Book For?

The Qualitative Research Cycle

Structure of the Book

Features of this Book

The Nature of Qualitative Research
What is Qualitative Research?

When to Conduct Qualitative Research

The Underlying Interpretive Paradigm

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Verstehen and Understanding

The Emic and Etic Perspective

Subjectivity and The Need for Reflexivity

Our Approach to Qualitative Research

Evaluating quality

The Design Cycle

Formulating Qualitative Research Questions

Incorporating Literature and Theory

Developing a Conceptual Framework

Selecting a Fieldwork Approach

Evaluating Quality

Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research

What is Ethics?

Ethics in Qualitative Research

Ethical Issues in the Design Cycle

Ethical Issues in the Ethnographic Cycle

Ethical Issues in the Analytic Cycle

Evaluating quality

Participant Recruitment
What is Participant Recruitment?

Defining and Refining the Study Population

How Many to Recruit: The Principle of Saturation

Recruitment Goals

Strategies for Participant Recruitment

Evaluating quality

In-Depth Interviews
What is an In-Depth Interview?

When to Conduct an In-Depth Interview

Purpose of an In-Depth Interview

The Cyclical Nature of Data Collection

Developing an Interview Guide

Preparing for Data Collection

Reflecting on Subjectivity and Positionality

Conducting the Interview

Strengths and Limitations

Evaluating Quality

Focus Group Discussions
What is a Focus Group Discussion?

When to Conduct Focus Group Discussions

The Cyclical Nature of Data Collection

Developing the Discussion Guide

Preparing for Data Collection

Conducting the Focus Group Discussion

Post-Discussion Information

Strengths and Limitations

Evaluating quality

What is Observation?

When to Conduct Observation

What to Observe

Types of Observation

Preparing and Conduct of Observation

Writing an Observation

Strengths and Limitations

Evaluating Quality

Data Preparation and Developing Codes

The Nature of Qualitative Data Analysis

Our Approach to Analysis

Foundations of Grounded Theory

Data Preparation

Developing Codes

Making a Codebook

Coding Data

Evaluating Quality

Textual Data Analysis

Formulating a Project-Specific Plan of Analysis

Searching Data

The Cyclical Process of Analysis

Thick Description


Categorizing and Conceptualizing

Theory Development

Evaluating Quality

Writing Qualitative Research
Writing in Qualitative Research

Who is the Audience?

Structure of Writing

Beginning to Write

Writing a Methodology

Presenting Qualitative Results

Evaluating Quality


it is practical, up to date and easy to read

Dr Paige Graham
School of Organizational Leadership, University of Rockies
October 11, 2012

It makes complex material more accessible to students and exposes them to new research ideas.

Dr Denis Hyams-Ssekasi
Business School, University Campus Oldham
July 4, 2012

I find this an excellent book for students who are starting with qualitative research methods. I use the research model as proposed in this book in my courses, and recommend this book as essential reading when preparing a research.

Mr Johan Roeland
Faculty of Theology, VU University
July 3, 2012

Good back up the the general text for those wishing to adopt Qualitative methods

Mr Stephen Griffiths
Swansea Business School, Swansea Metropolitan University
June 27, 2012

Deans viewed as acceptable for course teaching

Ms Sandralee Leighton
Psychology , University of the Rockies
May 18, 2012

a very clear and understandable book, i believe that more than half the group purchased this book

Mr Brian Boag
Nurisng and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland
May 1, 2012

Great Book. Not got the geographical angle. i.e. doesn't draw on existing geographical concepts and ideas. This is why can't be an Essential textbook for Geography students.

Dr Emma Roe
Geography , Southampton University
March 21, 2012

too general, need something more specific for Counselling

Ms Carol Hughes
Counselling, Swansea Metropolitan University
March 5, 2012

An excellent, well-organised and concise text. Highly recommended as an essential text for both under-graduate and post-graduate students who are interested in qualitative research.

Miss Elizabeth Scholefield
School of Life Sciences, Hertfordshire University
January 10, 2012

Have recommended this to both degree students and masters students as I feel both groups will benefit from this book. I have also benefited from this book in terms of my preparation for teaching sessions.

Ms Pat Clarke
Health , Liverpool John Moores University
December 4, 2011
Key features
  • A discussion of the theoretical principles as well as practical application of qualitative research is covered through case studies, field examples, and exercises.
  • International field examples are provided and highlight the application of qualitative research in different cultural contexts.
  • Research tools, such as interview guides, recruitment scripts, coded data segments, theoretical frameworks, are provided throughout the text.
  • The chapters on research methods (in-depth interviews, focus group discussion and observation) include photographs of the method in practice to demonstrate specific elements of research practice (e.g. seating of interviewers, interview context, body language).
  • Exercises are included at the end of each chapter to help the reader practice specific skills such as writing a qualitative research question, conducting a mock focus group discussion, an interview or an observation, transcribing an interview, developing codes from data, and presenting qualitative research.
  • Annotated further readings are included in each chapter, one list of readings related to methodological concepts and a second list of readings for examples of empirical research.
  • Each chapter includes a series of questions to assist the reader in evaluating the quality of their research.
  • Each chapter concludes with a textbox summarizing the key points to reiterate important concepts to the student.

Sample Materials & Chapters


For instructors

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ISBN: 9781446259566