Frank Rennie, Keith Smyth, Gareth davies, Matt Sillars and Amy Woolvin

Chapter 6 – Qualitative research methods

All the content relating to the chapter above is below


In seeking to support a fuller understanding of qualitative research, this chapter aims to offer further insight into different qualitative research strategies and approaches, and to explore interviews and focus groups as key methods of collecting data within qualitative research approaches.

Key Points

Qualitative research, as we established earlier, is a necessarily more subjective and interpretative means of research than quantitative approaches. Indeed this is a key strength of qualitative research which, when undertaken mindfully and with appropriate rigour, can provide us with a rich, in-depth description of phenomena, perceptions, and behaviour within social and cultural contexts.

A detailed paper giving a good summary of the varieties and potential applications of discourse analysis as a research method in social science. The paper gives a clear explanation of the context of this method and has an extensive bibliography suggesting further reading.

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Text analysis: and introductory manifesto. Online reproduction of a book chapter by publication by Martin Bauer, Aude Bicquelet and Ahmet Suerdem, and which was originally published in Bauer, Martin W., Bicquelet, Aude, and Suerdem, Ahmet K., (eds.) (2014) Textual Analysis. SAGE Benchmarks in Social Research Methods, 1. Sage, London, UK. This chapter begins with an academic definition of ‘text’ for social science analysis, and explores the key dimension of text analysis as well as differences between content analysis and textual analysis. Online [last accessed 28.04.16]

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An introduction to the role of ethnography in qualitative research, with good links and a short guide to the application of ethnography to research work in the field.

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An introduction to phenomenology by Dr Linda Finlay. This excellent resource provides an overview of phenomenology, with links to further guidance on variants of the method, analysing data, and writing up phenomenological research. Dr Finlay also provides a useful video introduction to phenomenology, and links to relevant journals and periodicals which cover phenomenological research.

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The following paper by Sheila Trahar provides an excellent insight into narrative analysis. It explores different approaches to narrative analysis, including how different kinds of narrative can be are analysed. Issues addressed includes structural narrative analysis, dialogic and performance analysis, and fictionalised representation. Trahar, S. (2009) Beyond the Story Itself: Narrative Inquiry and Autoethnography in Intercultural Research in Higher Education. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 10, No 1, Article 30. Online [last accessed 28.04.16]

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