Key Readings

Below is a list of key readings on qualitative data analysis, international social work and participatory theory and practices. These works have significantly influenced the way I teach and do qualitative data analysis, conduct research into international social work and implement participatory theory in practice. I highly recommend them as a way of gaining a solid understanding of their subject matter.

I. NVivo Software Courses for Windows and Mac

Introduction to NVivo
This course teaches basic and advanced features of NVivo. You will learn to set up a project, code, retrieve and visualise qualitative data using NVivo. It is the course you need if you want to know how NVivo works from a technical perspective.

Qualitative Analysis with NVivo
This course brings together the fundamental notions of qualitative analysis with NVivo’s key features. It is the course you need if you are new to qualitative research and want to use NVivo from a methodological standpoint.

  • Bazeley, P. and Jackson, K. (2013). Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Chapter 1: Perspectives: Qualitative computing and NVivo. and Chapter 2: Starting out, with a view ahead.
  • Jackson, K. and Bazeley, P. (2019). Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage. 
  • Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
    Resources associated with this publication, such as flashcards, chapter quizzes and exercises, can be found on a companion website.
  • Dey, I. (1993). Qualitative Data Analysis: A User-Friendly Guide for Social Scientists. London: Routledge.
  • QSR International. NVivo Getting Started Guide.
II. Methodological Seminars

Foundations in Qualitative Analysis
This seminar provides participants with a basic understanding of the foundations of qualitative data analysis. It explores key topics such as the relationship between ontology, epistemology and methodology, types of research questions, purpose statement and the forms of knowledge produced in qualitative inquiry.
Recommended readings are:

  • Blaikie, N. W. H. (2010). Designing social research (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M. N., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2014). Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers: Sage.
Coding Qualitative Data
This seminar teaches the key concepts underlying the coding of qualitative data, covering notions such as meaning units, coding units, code types, levels of code and coding schemes.
Recommended readings are:
  • Coffey, A., & Atkinson, P. (1996). Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complementary Research Strategies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative Research: Analysis Types and Software Tools. New York: Falmer Press
Seeking Patterns in Qualitative Data
This seminar proposes a range of techniques to identify patterns in the data, explore associations and uncover relationships when using an inductive, deductive, abductive or retroductive approach to qualitative analysis.
Recommended readings are:
  • Bazeley, P. (2013). Qualitative Data Analysis: Practical strategies. London: Sage.
  • Spradley, J. P. (1980). Participant Observation. Belmont: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Presenting Qualitative Findings
This seminar explores best and worst practices in reporting qualitative findings. We discuss how raw data do not constitute research findings and review situations where quotes are used in excess to mask the absence of analysis. The use of models, maps, networks and matrices to display qualitative findings is introduced, along with some tips for crafting display.
Recommended readings are:
  • Bernard, H. R., & Ryan, G. W. (2010). Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systemic Approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
III. Method Courses

Methods of Qualitative Analysis
This seminar provides a comprehensive overview of four methods widely used to analyse qualitative data: qualitative content analysis, thematic analysis, cross-case analysis and grounded theory. You will learn the aims, procedures and requirements of each method and the possibilities and potential pitfalls for their integration in a single study.
Recommended readings are:

  • Boyatzis, R. E. (1995). Cornerstones of change: Building the path for self-directed learning. In R. E. Boyatzis, S. S. Cowen, &. D. A. Kolb (Eds.), Innovation in professional education: Steps on a journey from teaching to learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (1990). Grounded Theory Research: Procedures, Canons, and Evaluative Criteria. Qualitative Sociology, 13(1).
  • Huberman, A. M., & Miles, M. B. (1994). Data Management and Analysis Methods. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 428-444). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Schreier, M. (2014). Qualitative Content Analysis. In U. Flick (Ed.). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (pp. 170-183). London: Sage.
Qualitative Content Analysis
Qualitative content analysis is a method that focuses on certain aspects of the data and the description of only some categories of interest. You will learn to formulate research questions suitable for this method, generate a coding frame, run a validity check and assess intercoder reliability in NVivo.
Recommended readings are:
  • Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative Content Analysis in Practice. London: Sage.
  • Woo, H., & Heo, N. (2013). A Content Analysis of Qualitative Research in Select ACA Journals (2005–2010). Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, 4(1), 13-25.
Thematic Analysis
Thematic analysis is a method that aims to uncover relationships between themes so as to generate second-level constructs and formulate theoretical propositions. Using NVivo, you will learn to generate codes from themes, identify relationships, create second-level constructs and formulate theoretical propositions.
Recommended readings are:
  • Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming Qualitative Information: Thematic Analysis and Code Development. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Skinner, K., Hanning, R. M., Desjardins, E., & Tsuji, L. J. (2013). Giving voice to food insecurity in a remote indigenous community in subarctic Ontario, Canada: traditional ways, ways to cope, ways forward. BMC Public Health, 13(427).
Cross-case Analysis
Cross-case analysis is a method for in-depth exploration of similarities and differences across cases in support of conceptual generalisability and theoretical predictions. In NVivo you will learn to first conduct within-case analysis in order to then be able to explore and describe the story of each case and make theoretical predictions based on patterns identified across cases.
Recommended readings are:
  • Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Huberman, M. (1990). Linkage Between Researchers and Practitioners: A Qualitative Study. American Educational Research Journal, 27(2), 363-391.
Grounded Theory
Grounded theory is a method to generate an inductive middle-range theory regarding a social phenomenon about which little is known and for which no empirical explanation has been put forward. Using your own research, you will learn about theoretical sampling and sensitivity and saturation during open coding, explore relationships between categories during axial coding and identify a core category during selective coding.
Recommended readings are:
  • Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (2nd ed.). Newbury Park: Sage.
  • Morrow, S. L., & Lee Smith, M. (1995). Constructions of Survival and Coping by Women Who Have Survived Childhood Sexual Abuse. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42(1), 24-33.
IV. International Social Work and MHPSS

Since its inception in the early 1990s, the field of mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings (MHPSS) has benefited from social workers with expertise in the social impact of war on communities, group interventions with trauma survivors, ex-combatants and child soldiers, social development projects in the aftermath of conflicts, human rights advocacy and restorative justice. From a theoretical perspective, social workers operating within a critical paradigm have warned against the dangers of programmes being engineered in the North and imposed by NGOs in the Global South. Social workers have also raised concerns regarding institutional dependency in implementing and maintaining programmes that rely heavily on foreign outsourcing for service delivery and defend, rather, initiatives that rely on local knowledge for praxis and that respond to expressed needs as opposed to epidemiologically assessed needs measured according to foreign priorities.
Recommended readings are:

  • Mimica, J. (2001). The politics of culture and suffering (The Refugee Experience: Psychosocial Training Module Series). Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre.
  • Pupavac, V. (2002). Pathologizing Populations and Colonizing Minds: International Psychosocial Programs in Kosovo. Alternatives, 27(4), 489-511.
  • Pupavac, V. (2002). Therapeutic Governance: Psycho-social Intervention and Trauma Risk Management. Disasters, 25(4), 358-372.
  • Pupavac, V. (2004). International Therapeutic Peace and Justice in Bosnia. Social & Legal Studies, 13(3), 377-401.
  • Pupavac, V. (2004). War on the Couch: The Emotionology of the New International Security Paradigm. European Journal of Social Theory, 7(2), 149-170.
  • Pupavac, V. (2004). Psychosocial Interventions and the Demoralization of Humanitarianism. Journal of Biosocial Science, 36(4), 491-504.
  • Summerfield, D., & Hume, F. (1993). War and posttraumatic stress disorder: the question of social context. Journal of Nervous Mental Disorder, 181(8), 522.
  • Bracken, P. J., Giller, J. E., & Summerfield, D. (1995). Psychological responses to war and atrocity: the limitations of current concepts. Social Science & Medicine, 40(8), 1073-1082.
  • Summerfield, D. (1997). The Mayas of Guatemala: surviving terror. The Lancet, 349(9045), 130.
  • Summerfield, D. (1997). Legacy of war: beyond “trauma” to the social fabric. The Lancet, 349(9065), 1568.
  • Summerfield, D. (1999). Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia: the medicalisation of the experience of war. The Lancet, 354(9180), 771.
  • Summerfield, D. (1999). A critique of seven assumptions behind psychological trauma programmes in war-affected areas. Social Science & Medicine, 48(10), 1449-1462.
V. Participatory Methodologies

Participatory methodologies encompass participation by local communities — on either a one-off basis or continuously — in activities such as needs assessment, policy formulation, field research, programme delivery and service evaluation, where power, control and knowledge are either shared or concentrated within closed circles. In the past, participation has been criticised as being used by central authorities as a means to get local communities to comply with health and research programmes that were engineered outside the local realm and planned according to foreign priorities that often collided with local ethos and values. The abuses and marginalisation resulting from these top-down initiatives shifted the nexus of power from the outsider’s mind to the insider’s voice, resulting in a rupture from both the epistemological and praxis standpoints. Researchers from local communities fought to be recognised as equal partners possessing valid knowledge and unique insights. Decades on, several important works have been published on participatory and decolonising research and programmes, the most salient of which are:

  • AIATSIS. (2012). Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
  • ANKN. (2000). Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge. Anchorage: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.
  • Brown, L., & Strega, S. (2005). Research as Resistance: Critical, Indigenous, and Anti-Oppressive Approaches. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • CIHR, NSERCC, & SSHRCC. (2014). Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Ottawa: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
  • Chilisa, B. (2012). Indigenous Research Methodologies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Denzin, N. K., Lincoln, Y. S., & Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2008). Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • AFNQL. (2014). First Nations in Quebec and Labrador’s Research Protocol. Wendake: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
  • Hankins, D. L., & Ross, J. (2008). Research on Native Terms: Navigation and Participation Issues for Native Scholars in Community Research In C. Wilmsen, W. W. Elmendorf, L. Fisher, J. Ross, B. Sarathy & G. Wells (Eds.). Partnerships for Empowerment: Participatory Research for Community-based Natural Resource Management (pp. 239-257). London: Earthscan.
  • Kovach, E. (2010). Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Prior, D. (2007). Decolonising research: a shift toward reconciliation. Nursing Inquiry, 14(2), 162-168.
  • Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2nd revised ed.). London: Zed Books.
  • Wesley-Esquimaux, C., & Calliou, B. (2010). Best Practices in Aboriginal Community Development: A Literature Review and Wise Practices Approach. Banff: The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

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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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