Learning Curves

I decided to undertake a one hour SKYPE tutorial with a trainer last week to introduce me to the world of Nvivo. My tutor very patiently led me through the key features of this qualitative data analysis computer software package. She provided me with these resources which will be a great reference point.

Qualitative Research Articles

Qualitative Data Analysis Books

  • Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (eds) (2008) Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage.  – Includes a wide range of discussions on the art and practice of interpretation, including narrative, ethnography and text analysis. It starts from the premise that inquiry is not value free but occurs within a moral and political framework, and to “reengage the promise of qualitative research as a generative form of radical democratic practice” (p. ix).
  • Gibbs, G. (2007) Analyzing qualitative data. London: Sage Publications. (This is avolume ofThe SAGE Qualitative Research Kit). – Focuses on the analysis of verbal data, the use of computer assisted qualitative data analysis and the role of writing.
  • Saldana, J. (2009). The Coding manual for qualitative research. California: Sage Publications, Inc. – Brings together a wide range of ideas about data analysis. Organised into 29 different approaches to coding with examples and an extensive list of sources.
  • Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting qualitative data; methods for analysing talk, text, and interaction. London, United Kingdom: Sage   Publications, Inc. (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications, Inc.  – Discusses approaches to analysing different types of qualitative data – interviews, texts, naturally occurring talk, etc. Provides examples of analysis and discusses issues of interpretation.

Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Books

  • Bazeley, P. (2007)  Qualitative data analysis with NVivo. (2nd ed)  London: Sage Publications.  – Organised in the sequence in which a project is undertaken. Applies to NVivo 7, so some features are out of date. Updated to NVivo 10 to be released in 2013.

Qualitative Research Methods Books

There are a large number of general texts on qualitative research. The following titles contain substantial discussion of qualitative data analysis.

  • Bickman, L. (2008). The SAGE handbook of applied social research methods. (2nd ed.). California, United States of America: Sage Publications, Inc. – Included in the list as it has a useful section on integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches.
  • Bloomberg, L. & Volpe, M.F. (2008) Completing your qualitative dissertation: a roadmap from beginning to end. Los Angeles, Sage. – Provides summaries, checklists and lists of sources. Generally well reviewed although one reviewer notes that “it is underpinned by an unarticulated, positivist approach to qualitative research, and presumes readers will at least be familiar with the system of doctoral dissertations undertaken in the United States of America”. Young, J.R, McGrath, R., & Filiault, S. (September 2009)  FQS Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10 (3) article 16
  • Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. (3rd ed.) California, United States of America: Sage Publications, Inc. – Little discussion of data analysis but includes a useful discussion of how to express purpose statements and research questions in qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research projects.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2007) Qualitative inquiry and research design; choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications, Inc. – This text is useful for showing how approaches to data analysis align with approaches to qualitative inquiry. It focuses on narrative research, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography and case study.
  • Denzin, N.K., & Lincoln, Y.S. (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. (3rd ed.). California, United States of America: Sage Publications, Inc. – Individual chapters illustrate approaches taken within different research traditions. This handbook focuses on American traditions in qualitative research, in contrast to the work by Flick (below) which includes European traditions.
  • Flick, U. (Ed.). (2007). The SAGE qualitative research kit. California, United States of America: Sage Publications, Inc. – Each volume has a section on data analysis. A discussion of the kit can be found in the September 2008 issue of FQS Forum: Qualitative Social Research 9 (3), Article. 28
  • Volume 1: Flick, U. Designing qualitative research. – Discusses what is qualitative research and outlines each stage of the research process, including qualitative data collection and analysis
  • Volume 2:  Kvale, S. (2007). Doing interviews
  • Volume 3: Angrosino, M. Doing ethnographic and observational research.
  • Volume 4:  Barbour, R. Doing focus groups.
  • Volume 5:  Banks, M. Using visual data in qualitative research.
  • Volume 6: Gibbs, G. (2007) Analyzing qualitative data. London
  • Volume 7: Rapley, T. Doing conversation, discourse and document analysis
  • Volume 8: Flick, U. Managing quality in qualitative research. – Includes several chapters on triangulation
  • Flick, U. (2002). An Introduction to qualitative research. (2nd ed.). London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications, Inc. – This edition includes newer topics such as the use of internet surveys and the increasing attention paid to ethics in research.
  • Flick, U., von Kardorff, E., & Steinke, I. (Eds). (2004).  A Companion to qualitative research.  London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications, Inc.  – The section on analysis, interpretation and presentation includes chapters on hermeneutics and discourse analysis.
  • Maxwell, J.A. (2005). Qualitative research design. An interactive approach. (2nd ed.). California: Sage Publications, Inc.  – The section on data analysis is quite brief but this book is helpful for beginning researchers. Firstly it takes a practical question and answer approach (e.g. What do you want to understand?). Secondly it includes a useful table which shows the relationship between questions such as “What do I need to know” and “What kind of data will answer the questions?”
  • Myers, M.D. (2009).Qualitative research in business & management. London: Sage Publications, Inc.  – The section on data analysis compares the coding approach to data analysis with other approaches such as analytic induction. It provides an overview of approaches commonly used in business and management and then focuses on hermeneutics, semiotics and narrative analysis.
  • Schwandt, T.A. (2007). The SAGE dictionary of qualitative enquiry. (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications, Inc. – This volume expands on the 1997 edition. Rather than giving definitions, the 380 entries comment on the often contested meanings of qualitative concepts. The entries are listed alphabetically but a reader’s guide also groups them into broader topics such as Analyzing and Interpreting, Epistemology etc. Each entry also provides a list of key references.
  • Seale, C., Gobo, G., Gubrium, J.F. & Silverman, D. (Eds.). (2004). Qualitative research practice. London: Sage Publications, Inc.  – Data analysis is discussed by several authors in relation to different analytic frameworks (e.g. narrative research, feminist approaches and ethnomethodology).
  • Silverman, D. (2005). Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook. (2nd ed.). London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications, Inc. – A comprehensive guide, with a short section of data analysis. In chapter 14 Clive Seale discusses using computers to analyse qualitative data.
  • Silverman, D. (2007). A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about qualitative research. London: Sage Publications, Inc.  – An easy to read, entertaining and sometimes challenging book which summarises Silverman’s ideas about what is important in qualitative research.
  • Wolcott, H.F. (1990). Writing up qualitative research. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, Inc.  – A practical guide written in simple language. Note: The discussion on analysis and interpretation is not very clear. Analysis is represented as “rigorous, agreed upon and carefully specified procedures” (p.30) for “observing, measuring … what is “there” (p.29). Many qualitative researchers would dispute this view. Interpretation, on the other hand is represented as a sense-making activity which cannot be “proved” (p.30).
  • Yin, R.K. (2011). Qualitative research from start to finish. New York,: The Guilford Press.  – Includes a long section on getting started and emphasises choices in research design and methods.


  • Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). InterViews: learning the craft of qualitative research Interviewing. (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications, Inc.  – Focuses on conceptualising the interview – and discusses epistemological and ethical issues. Also discusses interviewing different types of people (young, elites, etc)
  • Rubin, H.J., & Rubin, I. (2005). Qualitative interviewing : the art of hearing data. (2nd ed.) San Diego United States of America: Sage Publications, Inc.  – Discusses how to structure interviews, to follow up topics and links interviewing to the other stages of the research project.

Useful websites

Many universities provide online resources for their students. The following websites represent some of the major academic and industry organisations interested in qualitative research. As well as providing a variety of resources they indicate the employment and research opportunities available to qualitative researchers.

The ESRC National Centre for Research Methodshttp://www.ncrm.ac.uk

  • A network of research groups conducting research and training in social science research methods. Provides access to a wide range of resources including eprints, research publications and secondary data.

University of Surrey CAQDAS Networking projecthttp://www.surrey.ac.uk/sociology/research/researchcentres/caqdas/

  • Provides “practical support, training and information in the use of a range of software programs designed to assist qualitative data analysis. We provide platforms for debate concerning the methodological and epistemological issues arising from the use of such software packages and conduct research into methodological applications of CAQDAS”  It includes an extensive bibliography, downloadable working papers on major CAQDAS and slides on presentations such as “Analysing Open-ended Survey Question Responses in CAQDAS’.

Online QDA (University of Huddersfield)http://onlineqda.hud.ac.uk/index.php

  • “Online QDA is a set of learning materials which address common issues of undertaking qualitative data analysis (QDA) and beginning to use Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) packages. We aim to complement courses run by, for example, the CAQDAS Networking project, many independent trainers and the large number of undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences research methods training courses.” It gives links to a wide range of resources in more than 20 methodologies, and is updated regularly.

Association for Qualitative Researchhttp://www.aqr.org.uk

  • A UK industry focussed organisation, which aims to “develop understanding of the commercial value of qualitative research”. This site is mostly interesting for the directory of companies which carry out QR and the indication of the range of non academic employment opportunities.

 International Institute for Qualitative Methodologyhttp://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm

  • An interdisciplinary institute that aims to facilitate the development of qualitative research methods across a wide variety of academic disciplines. Based at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Publishes the free online journalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods

General links

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