Qualitative Research Methods

“Qualitative research is a situated activity which locates the observer in the world. Qualitative research consists of a set of interpretive, material practices that make the world visible. These practices transform the world. They turn the world into a series of representations, including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings and memos to the self. At this level, qualitative research involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach to the world. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.”

(Denzin & Lincoln, 2011, p3)

This page is intended as a reading list/resource for those who might be engaging with Qualitative Research Methods for the first time.

Recommended Textbooks/Chapters

Bhattacharya, K. (2017). Fundamentals of qualitative research: A practical guide. Taylor & Francis.

Bischoping, K., & Gazso, A. (2015). Analyzing talk in the social sciences: Narrative, conversation and discourse strategies. Sage.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London, UK: Sage. [Google Books]

Braun, V., Clarke, V., & Gray, D. (Eds.). (2017). Collecting qualitative data: A practical guide to textual, media and virtual techniques. Cambridge University Press.

Brodsky, A. E. (2008). Researcher as instrument. In L. M. Given (Ed.). The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods, London, UK: Sage.

Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory. Sage.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2017). The Sage handbook of qualitative research. Sage. (Ch 1: Introduction)

Gallagher, K. (Ed.). (2008). The methodological dilemma: Creative, critical and collaborative approaches to qualitative research. Routledge.

Green, J., & Thorogood, N. (2018). Qualitative methods for health research. Sage. [Google Books]

Luker, K. (2009). Salsa dancing into the social sciences. Harvard University Press.

Mason, J. (2017). Qualitative researching. Sage.

Maxwell, J. A. (2012). A realist approach for qualitative research. Sage.

Potter,J & Hepburn, A. (2012). Eight challenges for interview researchers. J.F. Gubrium and J.A. Holstein (Eds). Handbook of Interview Research (2nd Ed.) (pp. 555-570). London:Sage. [www]

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. Sage.

Saldaña, J. (2021). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. SAGE Publications Limited.

Smith, B., & Sparkes, A. C. (2013). Qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health: From process to product. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203852187

Smith, B., & Sparkes, A. C. (Eds.). (2016). Routledge handbook of qualitative research in sport and exercise. Taylor & Francis.

Recommended Journal Articles

Arsel, Z. (2017). Asking questions with reflexive focus: A tutorial on designing and conducting interviews. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(4), 939-948. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucx096

Aspers, P., & Corte, U. (2019). What is qualitative in qualitative research. Qualitative sociology, 42(2), 139-160. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-019-9413-7

Baker, S.E. and Edwards, R. (2012) How many qualitative interviews is enough. Discussion Paper. NCRM. (Unpublished) http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/2273/

Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. The qualitative report, 13(4), 544-559. http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol13/iss4/2

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2019). Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), 589-597. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1628806

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2020). Can I use TA? Should I use TA? Should I not use TA? Comparing reflexive thematic analysis and other pattern‐based qualitative analytic approaches. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12360

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2020). One size fits all? What counts as quality practice in (reflexive) thematic analysis?. Qualitative research in psychology, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2020.1769238

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2021). To saturate or not to saturate? Questioning data saturation as a useful concept for thematic analysis and sample-size rationales. Qualitative research in sport, exercise and health, 13(2), 201-216. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1704846

Charmaz, K., & Thornberg, R. (2020). The pursuit of quality in grounded theory. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2020.1780357

Collins, C. S., & Stockton, C. M. (2018). The central role of theory in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17(1), 1609406918797475. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1609406918797475

De Oliveira, B. (2018). On the news today: challenging homelessness through participatory action research. Housing, Care and Support. Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 13-25. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-01-2018-0002

Demuth, C. (2015). “Slow Food” Post-Qualitative Research in Psychology: Old Craft Skills in New Disguise?. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 49(2), 207-215. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-015-9304-8

Deterding, N. M., & Waters, M. C. (2018). Flexible coding of in-depth interviews: A twenty-first-century approach. Sociological methods & research, 0049124118799377. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0049124118799377

Eisenhardt, K. M., Graebner, M. E., & Sonenshein, S. (2016). Grand challenges and inductive methods: Rigor without rigor mortis. Academy of Management Journal. Vol. 59, No. 4, 1113-1123 https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2016.4004

Hammersley, M. (2007). The issue of quality in qualitative research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 30(3), 287-305. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437270701614782

Hanna, P. and Mwale, S. (2017) ‘I’m Not with You, Yet I Am …’ In V. Braun, Clarke, & D. Gray (Eds.). (2017). Collecting qualitative data: A practical guide to textual, media and virtual techniques. Cambridge University Press.

Hayfield, N., & Huxley, C. (2015). Insider and outsider perspectives: Reflections on researcher identities in research with lesbian and bisexual women. Qualitative research in psychology, 12(2), 91-106. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2014.918224

Hsieh, H. F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1049732305276687

King, N., Horrocks, C., & Brooks, J. (2018). Interviews in Qualitative Research. London, UK: Sage..

Lamont, M., & Swidler, A. (2014). Methodological pluralism and the possibilities and limits of interviewing. Qualitative Sociology, 37(2), 153-171. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-014-9274-z

Langley, A., & Meziani, N. (2020). Making interviews meaningful. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 56(3), 370-391. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0021886320937818

Lavis, V. (2010). Multiple researcher identities: Highlighting tensions and implications for ethical practice in qualitative interviewing. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 7(4), 316-331. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780880902929506

Lester, J. N., & O’Reilly, M. (2015). Is evidence-based practice a threat to the progress of the qualitative community? Arguments from the bottom of the pyramid. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(7), 628-632. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1077800414563808

Low, J. (2019). A pragmatic definition of the concept of theoretical saturation. Sociological Focus, 52(2), 131-139. https://doi.org/10.1080/00380237.2018.1544514

Malterud, K., Siersma, V. D., & Guassora, A. D. (2016). Sample size in qualitative interview studies: guided by information power. Qualitative health research, 26(13), 1753-1760. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1049732315617444

O’Reilly, M., & Parker, N. (2013). ‘Unsatisfactory Saturation’: a critical exploration of the notion of saturated sample sizes in qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 13(2), 190-197. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794112446106 [www]

Peek, L., & Fothergill, A. (2009). Using focus groups: Lessons from studying daycare centers, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina. Qualitative research, 9(1), 31-59. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1468794108098029

Petty, N. J., Thomson, O. P., & Stew, G. (2012). Ready for a paradigm shift? Part 1: Introducing the philosophy of qualitative research. Manual therapy, 17(4), 267-274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2012.03.006

Pillow, W. (2003). Confession, catharsis, or cure? Rethinking the uses of reflexivity as methodological power in qualitative research. International journal of qualitative studies in education, 16(2), 175-196. https://doi.org/10.1080/0951839032000060635

Pratt, M. G. (2017). From the editors: For the lack of a boilerplate: Tips on writing up (and reviewing) qualitative research. Academy of Management JournalVol. 52, No. 5 https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2009.44632557

Moser, A., & Korstjens, I. (2018). Series: Practical guidance to qualitative research. Part 3: Sampling, data collection and analysis. European Journal of General Practice, 24(1), 9-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/13814788.2017.1375091

Reicher, S. (2000). Against methodolatry: some comments on Elliott, Fischer, and Rennie. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 39(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466500163031

Sandelowski, M., & Leeman, J. (2012). Writing usable qualitative health research findings. Qualitative health research, 22(10), 1404-1413. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732312450368

Scotland, J. (2012). Exploring the philosophical underpinnings of research: Relating ontology and epistemology to the methodology and methods of the scientific, interpretive, and critical research paradigms. English Language Teaching, 5(9), 9. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1080001.pdf

Sim, J., Saunders, B., Waterfield, J., & Kingstone, T. (2018). Can sample size in qualitative research be determined a priori?. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 21(5), 619-634. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2018.1454643

Smagorinsky, P. (2008). The method section as conceptual epicenter in constructing social science research reports. Written communication, 25(3), 389-411. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0741088308317815

Small, M. L. (2009). How many cases do I need?' On science and the logic of case selection in field-based research. Ethnography, 10(1), 5-38. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1466138108099586

Smith, B., & McGannon, K. R. (2018). Developing rigor in qualitative research: Problems and opportunities within sport and exercise psychology. International review of sport and exercise psychology, 11(1), 101-121. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2017.1317357

Smith, B. (2018). Generalizability in qualitative research: Misunderstandings, opportunities and recommendations for the sport and exercise sciences. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 10(1), 137-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2017.1393221

Tavory, I. (2020). Interviews and inference: Making sense of interview data in qualitative research. Qualitative Sociology, 43(4), 449-465. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-020-09464-x

Thomas, D. R. (2006). A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation, 27(2), 237-246.

Timmermans, S., & Tavory, I. (2012). Theory construction in qualitative research: From grounded theory to abductive analysis. Sociological theory, 30(3), 167-186. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0735275112457914

Tracy, S. J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(10), 837-851. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800410383121

Yardley, L. (2000). Dilemmas in qualitative health research. Psychology and Health, 15(2), 215-228. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870440008400302

"Qualitative research is a set of complex interpretive practices. as a constantly shifting historical formation, it embraces tensions and contraindications, including disputes over its methods and the forms it findings and interpretations take. The field sprawls between and crosscuts all of the human disciplines, even including, in some cases, the physical sciences. Its practitioners are variously committed to modern, postmodern, and post-experimental sensibilities and the approaches to social research that these sensibilities imply."

(Denzin & Lincoln, 2017, p13)

Further Recommended Reading

Becker, H. S. (2014). What about Mozart? What about murder?: Reasoning from cases. University of Chicago Press. [GoogleBooks]

also on Becker, Gopnik, A. (2015) The Outside Game: How the sociologist Howard Becker studies the conventions of the unconventional. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/12/outside-game

Qualitative research in Age and Ageing - https://academic.oup.com/ageing/pages/qualitative_research

Credit to Teresa Corbett who in this tweet inspired me to start this resource page...

A number of articles in this list were gleaned from responses to this tweet below...

It's also worth checking out the resulting GoogleDoc created by @convergecollide