Method Courses

Choosing the right method for your qualitative analysis

Qualitative data may be analysed using a range of methods, depending on the researcher’s ontological stance, epistemological approach and preferred methodology. In the social and behavioural sciences, four methods in particular have been widely used in recent decades, namely, qualitative content analysis, thematic analysis, cross-case analysis and grounded theory. Each of the four courses on qualitative analysis methods provide a comprehensive grounding in each method’s historical background and epistemological point of reference and develop the skills necessary to implement the corresponding coding, analytical and visualisation procedures. Participants also learn to critically appraise the quality and methodological fit of published studies that use each method. The courses blends lectures, group work and hands-on exercises in which the method’s procedures are implemented in NVivo using sample data (the participants’ own data can alternatively be used by prior arrangement).

Familiarity with NVivo is not a requirement for these courses.

Each course lasts one day. Half-day versions are available by prior arrangement. The courses can be taught before, after or combined with the Introduction to NVivo or Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo courses. A brief outline of each method course is given below.

This course provides an overview of four qualitative data analysis methods widely used in the social sciences: qualitative content analysis, thematic analysis, cross-case analysis and grounded theory.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Situate each method historically and epistemologically
  • Define the methods, compare their aims and contrast their outcomes
  • Identify the type of research questions and dataset required by each method
  • Distinguish between the coding procedures applied in each method
  • Describe how patterns are sought and how relationships are built
  • Situate each method in the ladder of abstraction of qualitative analysis
  • Report findings according to the display conventions of each method
  • Assess the methodological fitness of published studies based on each method.

This course teaches qualitative content analysis as per Schreier, 2012.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Define what qualitative content analysis is
  • Formulate research questions suitable for the method
  • Distinguish between units of analysis and coding units
  • Build a coding frame and generate categories
  • Conduct trial coding and a validity check
  • Test intercoder reliability and intracoder stability
  • Report findings according to display conventions for the method
  • Assess the methodological fitness of published studies based on qualitative content analysis.

This course teaches thematic analysis as per Boyatzis, 1998.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Define what thematic analysis is
  • Formulate research questions suitable for the method
  • Decide sampling requirements
  • Apply the criteria for generating good codes
  • Distinguish between theory, research, data and hybrid-driven codes
  • Use scoring, scaling and clustering techniques
  • Report findings according to display conventions for the method
  • Assess the methodological fitness of published studies based on thematic analysis.

This course teaches cross-case analysis as per Miles and Huberman, 1994.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Define what cross-case analysis is
  • Formulate research questions suitable for the method
  • Learn to use descriptive, interpretive and pattern codes
  • Conduct within-case analysis
  • Conduct cross-case analysis
  • Formulate theoretical predictions
  • Report findings according to display conventions for the method
  • Assess the methodological fitness of published studies based on cross-case analysis.

This course teaches grounded theory as per Strauss and Corbin, 1998.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Epistemologically situate the different grounded theory schools
  • Define what Strauss and Corbin’s grounded theory is
  • Formulate research questions suitable for this methodology
  • Apply theoretical sampling and open coding saturation requirements
  • Conduct analysis using the paradigm of axial coding
  • Identify a core category and generate hypotheses during selective coding
  • Report findings according to display conventions for the method
  • Assess the methodological fitness of published studies based on grounded theory.

Courses taught at

As a freelance methodologist, I train social scientists and humanitarian practitioners in qualitative analysis, decolonising research and participatory methodologies. I coach research teams, teach doctoral-level courses and I consult for humanitarian aid agencies worldwide.

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