Stepping back from coding software and reading qualitative data

There is a lot of concern that qualitative analysis software distances people from their data. Some say that it encourages reductive behaviour, prevents deep reading of the data, and leads to a very quantified type of qualitative analysis (eg Savin-Baden and Major 2013).   I generally don’t agree with these statements, and other qualitative bloggers such as Christina Silver and Kristi Jackson have written responses to critics of

Problems with quantitative polling, and answers from qualitative data

  The results of the US elections this week show a surprising trend: modern quantitative polling keeps failing to predict the outcome of major elections.   In the UK this is nothing new, in both the 2015 general election and the EU referendum polling failed to predict the outcome. In 2015 the polls suggested very close levels of support for Labour and the Conservative party but on the night the Conservatives won a significant

Tips for running effective focus groups

In the last blog article I looked at some of the justifications for choosing focus groups as a method in qualitative research. This week, we will focus on some practical tips to make sure that focus groups run smoothly, and to ensure you get good engagement from your participants.   1. Make sure you have a helper! It’s very difficult to run focus groups on your own. If you are wanting to layout the room, greet people, deal with

Considering and planning for qualitative focus groups

  This is the first in a two-part series on focus groups. This week, we are looking at some of the  why you might consider using them in a research project, and questions to make sure they are well integrated into your research strategy. Next week we will look at some practical tips for effectively running and facilitating a successful session. Focus groups have been used as a research method since the 1950s, but were not as common

Circles and feedback loops in qualitative research

The best qualitative research forms an iterative loop, examining, and then re-examining. There are multiple reads of data, multiple layers of coding, and hopefully, constantly improving theory and insight into the underlying lived world. During the research process it is best to try to be in a constant state of feedback with your data, and theory.   During your literature review, you may have several cycles through the published