Foundations of Qualitative Analysis

Key points

  • This seminar provides a comprehensive introduction to qualitative data analysis
  • Key issues are explored, such as the influence of ontoloy and epistemology on analytical methods
  • You will develop the analytical plan of your study combining your research questions, purpose statement, analytical method and study outcome
  • The seminar can be taken as a standalone unit or combined with another seminar, or any of the method courses or an NVivo course.

Foundations of Qualitative Data Analysis provides participants with a solid conceptual grounding in understanding what qualitative analysis is and how to plan it effectively from the inception of a qualitative study. The seminar opens with a critique of what has been wrong with qualitative analysis for a very long time – that is, a black box where researchers seldom report what they did when they analysed qualitative data besides resorting to the catchy, yet meaningless phrases, of “themes were identified” or “themes emerged from the data”. We then look at the interconnectedness of analysis and other components of a qualitative design such as the research questions, the research purpose and data collection. We discuss the influence that ontology and epistemology have on the choice of a method of qualitative analysis. The seminar concludes with a workshop during which participants elaborate the analytical plan of their study.

By the end of this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Define what qualitative data analysis is
  • Understand the intertwined role of patterns and themes in QDA
  • Formulate clear and actionable research questions
  • Develop a solid purpose statement of your qualitative study
  • Choose the right data collection method for your analysis
  • Understand how ontology and epistemology shape your choice of a methodology
  • Develop the analytical plan of your study.

This is an introductory course on qualitative data analysis. Although no previous knowledge of qualitative data analysis is required, participants should have some familiarity with qualitative research.

Half-day from 9:00 to 12:00 or full-day from 9:00 to 16:00.

This course is taught online in Zoom as well as onsite on a request basis.

Teaching methods
Lectures with guided exercises in which participants work on their own data or sample data.

Please email me for information on fees.

Combining seminars
This seminar is the first of a series of four seminars that also includes Coding Qualitative Data, Transforming Data into Findings and Presenting Qualitative Findings. The seminar can be taken alone or in conjunction with the other related seminars. It can also be taught before, after or simultaneously with the Introduction to NVivo or Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo courses.

Key readings

  • Blaikie, N. W. H. (2010). Designing social research (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Gibson, W. J., & Brown, A. (2009). Working with Qualitative Data. London: Sage.
  • Ritchie, J. Lewis, C. M. N. Nicholls & R. Ormston (Eds.). Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. London: Sage.

This seminar was 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 in method schools and I consult for humanitarian aid agencies worldwide.

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