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10th Qualitative Research Summer School


Beyond the Interview: walking, hearing and picturing social worlds

25th and 26th April, 2017

Rachel Hurdley

Kate Moles

Dr Rachel Hurdley
Research fellow in Sociology,
Cardiff University, Wales, U.K.
Dr Kate Moles
Lecturer in Sociology,
Cardiff University, Wales, U.K.

This is a two-day workshop for a group of participants who are interested in using multiple methods in their research designs. It is primarily hands-on work, to introduce you to doing research differently. 

Day 1

We will explore ‘The Politics of Method’, such as tensions between ethnography and multimodality, different technologies, and the aesthetics of ‘data’.  Kate and Rachel will give brief presentations on methodological approaches, followed by group discussion over tea and coffee. The first session will work on how we use our bodies and senses as research technologies, through drawing, making models, and collages of found objects.  After a presentation on ‘Sound, Writing and Vision’, we will break for a much-needed lunch, followed by a session of ‘Walking Meditation’. Participants will then form multimedia research groups and spend the afternoon doing fieldwork in nearby Albert Park. Each group of four will practise using photography, audio-recording, fieldnotes and art.

Day 2

Groups will give brief presentations on their experiences in the field, and discuss how they might use their ‘data’ in analysis and representation. Kate and Rachel will work with you to analyse the research materials.  After lunch, each group will produce and present their interpretations - for example: a blog, scrap book, poster, an exhibition or installation.  We will end by thinking about the politics of representation, and how conventional academic outputs produce particular forms of knowledge. Suggested Reading list furnished upon workshop booking.

From thought to practice: An exploration of Hermeneutic Phenomenology

25th and 26th April, 2017

Dr Mel Duffy

Dr Lesley Dibley

Dr Mel Duffy
Lecturer in Sociology,
Dublin City University, Ireland
Dr Lesley Dibley
Kings College London, U.K.

This two-day workshop will explore how Hermeneutic Phenomenology can be an exciting undertaking in any research project paying particular attention to a PhD programme of study.  It introduces the novice or those wishing to dip their toe into this exciting field of thinking and doing.  It gives the person already on this road the breathing space to engage with thinking, debating and exploring ideas that are sitting there waiting to emerge.

The  workshop will be divided into two sections:

Day 1

Will introduce the area of Hermeneutic Phenomenology and how the philosophical ways of knowing becoming tools for understanding a phenomenon. It will explore the reasons for choosing this approach, it’s strengths and challenges,  and how it can be an exciting endeavour.

Day 2

Moves into an understanding of how this way of knowing becomes a method of doing.  It is in the knowing and the doing that the creativity of interpretation takes place.  The aim will be to illustrate how the hermeneutic circle operates in practice.

Creativity in Interview and Observation Methods

25th and 26th April, 2017

Dr Andrew Balmer

Dr Andrew Balmer
Lecturer in Sociology,
University of Manchester, U.K.

In this two-day workshop we will explore the use of qualitative interview methods and, to a lesser extent, focus group methods. We will also consider how to be creative in the use of these methods. Creativity applies both to the approach and to the practical implementation of interviews and observations. When compared to a more structured approach, the creativity emphasises spontaneity, serendipity and interaction. In terms of practical implementation, creative interviews and focus groups strive to make use of the situation rather than treat each encounter in the same fashion, and might make use of other elicitation tools in order to bring about a more situated engagement with research participants.

We will consider some of the philosophical issues and practical challenges involved in such qualitative work. As regards philosophical issues, we will discuss the ontological and epistemological concerns central to the use of qualitative interviewing techniques and consider how creative work with the interview process (from recruiting to writing) relates to these concerns. The workshop will involve participation in practical exercises and students will be asked to prepare for the workshop (details to be confirmed with participants) in order to get the most out of our discussions.

Ethical issues in Qualitative Research

26th April, 2017

Dr Jonathan Hughes

Dr Jonathan Hughes
Senior Lecturer in Ethics,
Keele University, U.K.

This one-day workshop aims to provide students with an understanding of ethical principles and frameworks that will enable them to identify and deliberate about ethical issues in research. This should help students to make ethically informed decisions about their own research and to defend those decisions to Research Ethics Committees and others. Students will be encouraged to consider the principle of consent in the context of other ethical principles, the value of research and the requirements of research methodologies.

The workshop will combine interactive lecturing, plenary discussion and small-group discussion of case studies.

Indicative Outline
  • Overview of the day
  • Locating Ethics in Research
    • What is research?
    • Different kinds of research
    • The value of research
    • ‘Good research’ – scientifically good and ethically good
    • Historical research ethics scandals
  • Case Study – small group discussion
  • Principles of Research Ethics
    • Goals and constraints
    • Consequentialism
    • Deontology
    • Principles of research ethics
    • The role of the Research Ethics Committee
  • Consent in Research
    • The role of consent in research ethics: examples of consent in historical and contemporary codes of research ethics
    • What is (valid) consent?
    • Information, voluntariness and competence
    • When consent is impossible
  • Consent Case Studies – small group discussion
  • Summary of the day
Indicative Reading

European Textbook on Ethics in Research (Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2010), ISBN 978-92-79-15902-2, DOI 10.2777/51536. Available to order (€10.19) or as free download here.


Case Study design

26th April, 2017

Professor John McLeod

Professor John McLeod
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway
Institute for Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, Dublin, Ireland

The aim of this one-day workshop is to introduce participants to the principles and practice of contemporary case study research in social science. Lectures and practical activities will be used to explore a range of issues, challenges, and methodological solutions.  The workshop will be of interest to those who are planning to use case study methodology in their own research, or who wish to critically engage with case-based knowledge as a means of informing professional practice. The workshop addresses core methodological issues that are relevant to case study researchers and practitioners in a range of disciplines. Information about further reading will be provided.

Outline programme:
  • Session 1. Introduction to the workshop. Brief review of the background and interests of participants. Lecture on the nature and development of systematic case study methodology, including: the rationale for case study inquiry, the distinctive contribution to knowledge of case-based investigation, types of case study project; how ethical issues have been addressed; combining knowledge across case studies; publishing case-based research.
  • Session 2. Discussion and practical exercise around strategies for ensuring credibility, validity and rigour in case study research reports.
  • Session 3. Practical exercise where participants will work in small groups to analyse qualitative case study data.
  • Session 4. Open discussion: issues and questions.
Thematic Analysis

27th and 28th April, 2017

Dr Claire Moran

Dr Claire Moran
School of Psychology,
University of Queensland, Australia

This two-day workshop provides participants with a thorough grounding in qualitative thematic analysis and guides participants through the process of successfully conducting thematic analysis.  Different type of approaches to thematic analysis and using of thematic analysis  with different types of data is also explored.

Day 1: Introduction to Thematic Analysis
  1. What is qualitative research - The fundamentals of qualitative research.
  2. Activity - Buttons - this fun and very hands on activity introduces students to practical aspects of applying codes and themes to data and highlights  the assumptions  that  we bring to the analytic process.
  3. Introducing thematic analysis - looks at what thematic analysis is and what it is not.
    Using thematic analysis:
  4. In this phase, we work through a step by step guide to using thematic analysis, looking in detail at each step of the analytic process, from preliminary coding right through to writing up your research report. This includes instructions and advice on what each phase entails and examples of data at each stage. Participants also have the opportunity to work through each individual stage in a pair work activity using an uncoded piece of data.
  5. Wind up Q&A session based on the content covered in Day 1.
Day 2: Builds on the content covered in Day 1

(For those new to or less experienced with thematic analysis, attendance at day 1 is essential)

  1. Beyond the basics – we will consider different approaches to thematic analysis:
    1. Experiential
    2. Constructionist
  2. Explore the relationship between thematic analysis and other qualitative approaches  (e.g., discourse analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis).
  3. Using thematic analysis with different types of data (e.g., images, webpages).
  4. Students’ own data - students have the opportunity to discuss aspects of their data / application of thematic  analysis (other activity for students who do not have data).
  5. Discussion - questions or concerns about using thematic analysis – both in general and in relation to specific approaches  / types of data.
  6. Summing up and helpful advice.


Invitation to Grounded Theory research

27th April, 2017

Dr Mark Philbin

Dr Mark Philbin
Lecturer in the School of Nursing & Human Sciences,
Dublin City University, Ireland.

In this one-day introductory workshop, we are going to explore grounded theory (GT) as a research methodology.

First, we will consider the original work of Glaser and Strauss (1967) and their rationale for a methodology oriented to relevance and discovery.

Second, we will examine three key features of GT methodology: constant comparative analysis, theoretical sampling and theoretical saturation.

Finally, we will consider what is involved in particular GT procedures, especially sampling, data collection, coding and memoing.

Throughout the workshop, we will remain alive to debates about GT methodology and discuss how such debates can inform one’s thinking about a particular project.

The practical challenges of grounded theory research: a troubleshooting seminar

28th April, 2017

Dr Mark Philbin

Dr Mark Philbin
Lecturer in the School of Nursing & Human Sciences,
Dublin City University, Ireland.

For postgraduate students doing grounded theory (GT) research, there are ongoing,  practical challenges in working out how to do data collection and analysis.

This one-day workshop is designed for such students and will provide an opportunity for participants to deal with questions, challenges or troubles that are currently salient to their own GT project.

Each participant will briefly present an issue they wish to address, provide relevant materials (such as research memos) to assist in an examination of their work, and participate in a group discussion that will help to clarify practical ways to move the project forward.

Working and writing with Qualitative data

27th and 28th April, 2017

Dr Katherine Davies

Dr Katherine Davies
Lecturer in Sociology,
University of Sheffield, U.K.

This two-day workshop provides a practical and hands-on guide to working with qualitative data. The workshop aims to help researchers to make sense of their data including organizing, analyzing and writing with a range of qualitative data.

Day 1

Will focus predominantly on organizing and analyzing data, covering different types and techniques of analysis, identifying themes and working across datasets.

Day 2

Will focus on writing with qualitative data including identifying narratives, writing for different audiences, working with data and theory, dealing with contradictory data and making an argument with qualitative data.


The workshops will focus largely on text-based data but will also include discussions of visual and audio data and are open to students working with data from a wide range of qualitative research.

All participants should come to the session with some data to work with, be that a transcript, set of photos, video, field notes etc. Participants should also be prepared to do some writing with their data in the sessions so please bring a laptop or notebook.


Advances in Mixed Methods Design

27th and 28th April, 2017

Professor Donna Mertens

Professor Donna Mertens
Department of Education,
Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, USA

Developments in the use of mixed methods have extended beyond the practice of combining surveys and focus groups. More advanced designs are emerging in the mixed methods field that allow researchers to address the complexities in social, educational, and health settings.

This two-day workshop will begin with presentation of the current state of mixed methods research, followed by a series of exercises that allow participants to follow a logical chain of planning a mixed methods studies.

A variety of philosophical frameworks will be presented so that participants can make identify their own assumptions and the implications for methodology associated with those assumptions. The sophistication of mixed methods designs will be explained and demonstrated through illustrative examples taken from diverse sectors and geographical regions.

Mixed methods designs will include effectiveness of interventions, instrument development, policy evaluation, and systematic reviews. The designs will reveal the application of various philosophical positions that guide thinking, including post-positivist, constructivist, transformative, and pragmatic positions.

Participants with specific desires to address issues of social justice and/or to work in marginalized and under-served communities will encounter useful examples and guidance. Participants will be asked to work through a series of exercises in the area of their own research interests that will result in a draft research plan for a mixed methods study.


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