You are here

Designing Qualitative Research

Designing Qualitative Research

Seventh Edition

June 2021 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Offering clear, easy-to-understand guidance on designing qualitative research, this fully updated Seventh Edition of Marshall and Rossman’s bestselling text retains the useful examples, tools, and vignettes that makes it such an outstanding resource. The book takes students from selecting a research genre through building a conceptual framework, data collection and interpretation, and arguing the merits of the proposal. Now featuring a new co-author, Gerardo L. Blanco, this edition includes more on the history and new emerging genres of qualitative inquiry, as well as a more sustained and deeper focus on social media and other digital applications in conducting qualitative research. New application activities provide opportunities for students to try out ideas, while timely vignettes illustrate the methodological challenges posed by the intellectual, ethical, political, and technological advances affecting society.

PowerPoints to accompany this text are available on an instructor site at:

List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Vignettes
List of Application Activities
Preface to the Seventh Edition
About the Authors
Chapter 1. Introduction

The Challenges

Developing an Argument

Overview of the Book

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 2. Qualitative Research Genres
Canonical Genres

Critical Genres

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 3. Credibility, Trustworthiness, and Ethics

Bringing Ethics, Relationships, and Identity Into Trustworthiness

Researcher Identity, Voice, and Relationships

Field Notes

Ethics and Institutional Reviews

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 4. The What of the Study: Building the Conceptual Framework
Sections of the Proposal

Building the Conceptual Framework: Topic, Purpose, and Significance

Literature Review and Critique of Related Research

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 5. The How of the Study: Building the Research Design
Meeting the Challenge

Justifying Qualitative Research

The Qualitative Genre and Overall Approach

The Setting, Site, Population, or Phenomenon

Within Sites: Sampling People, Actions, Events, and Processes

Personal Biography, Positionality, Ongoing Relationships, and Reciprocity

Time and Resources: Making Some Tough Choices

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 6. Basic Data Collection Methods

In-Depth Interviewing

Life Histories and Narrative Inquiry

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 7. Specialized and Focused Data Collection Methods
Collecting Content and Text From Documents and Other Media

Using the Internet and Digital Applications

Multimodal Approaches

Interaction Analysis


Dilemma Analysis

Games and Simulations

Combining Data Collection Methods

Opportunities and Challenges

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 8. Managing, Analyzing, and Interpreting Data
Recording, Managing, Transcribing, and Translating Data

Data Analysis

Generic Data Analysis Strategies

Analytic Procedures

Challenges and Opportunities

Further Reading

Key Concepts

Chapter 9. Arguing the Merits of Your Proposal and Moving Forward
Criteria of Soundness

The Essential Qualitativeness and Value of the Research

Demonstrating Precedents

Envisioning the Final Report, the Dissertation, the Book, or Something Else

Opportunities and Challenges

A Final Word

Further Reading

Key Concepts



Instructor Resource Site

Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides and figures and tables from the book.

Very good qualitative research source. Easy to understand and apply information.

Dr Clarence Williamson
School of Criminal Justice, Anderson University - Anderson
May 1, 2024

This is an excellent resource for everyone embarking on qualitative research. I highly recommend this book to students who are planning to undertake qualitative studies.

Dr Kumaresan Cithambaram
School of Nursing & Human Sciences, Dublin City University
February 7, 2022
Key features


  • New coverage of emerging contemporary issues, methods, and considerations, such as the movements for racial justice, the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, and the U.S. presidential election.
  • A sustained and deeper focus on the burgeoning use of social media and internet applications in conducting qualitative research brings the book up to date.
  • New questions for the new century—one now dominated by social networking—explore the issues and design dilemmas of today’s qualitative researchers.
  • New vignettes cover such topics as researchers’ challenges in designing research with homeless, refugee, and immigrant populations; the interplay between ethics and trustworthiness; and exquisite sensitivity in research on sexual harassment.
  • Coverage of ethics and trustworthiness is now earlier in the book (Chapter 3), placing these key attributes front and center.
  • New suggestions for planning for data analysis at the proposal stage and for managing analysis in writing final reports.
  • New Some of Our Favorites listings at the end of each chapter’s Further Reading section provides recommended references for further exploration.
  • The advances and challenges presented by new technologies and provocative, creative modes of presentation are incorporated throughout.
  • All references have been updated, and new scholarly works are cited throughout.
  • An accompanying Instructor website includes PowerPoint slides.
  • Ways that research can be attuned to policy and practice—from problem identification to formatting the presentation of findings to the explicit focus on trustworthiness, credibility, and ethics—prepare students to do their own research.
  • The personal, ethical, and political dilemmas that the researcher may face are emphasized throughout the book.
  • Examples and vignettes are current, especially in terms of cross-national research and the issues that arise.
  • Extended discussions cover strategies researchers can use to address the challenges posed by postmodernists, feminists, and critical race theorists, as well as others who interrogate historical qualitative inquiry.
  • Inspiring potential “Aha!” moments and opportunities to do research in close connection with people and communities bring topics to life.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site