1 Read – Chapters, Journal Articles, and Research Blogs: Find top research articles to cite and enrich your reading with your ready-made bibliography of qualitative research from SAGE books, journals, and other credible sources. Use the discussion questions online to practice thinking critically about research.

8.1 Vocabulary

For a key to the terms used here, visit:

Byrne, D. (2017). Why do research?. Project Planner.

8.2 Methodology and rich description

Qualitative research is supposed to offer ‘rich’ descriptions of social reality. This paper shows that such richness will vary according to our research problem and methodology.

Brekhus, W. H., Galliher, J. F., & Gubrium, J. F. (2005). The Need for Thin Description. Qualitative Inquiry11(6), 861–879.

Q. For your research topic, how ‘thickly descriptive’ does your work need to be?

Q. How do you decide on the level of description needed?

8.3 What I learnt

For Pierre-Nicolas’ own account of our discussions, visit this Into the Minds blog post.

Q. How does Pierre-Nicolas’ account compare to that given in the text?

8.4 Mixed methods

Beginning researchers are often tempted to use mixed or multiple methods. This paper reviews the problems in working with multiple datasets and how these problems can be overcome:

Moran-Ellis, J., Alexander, V. D., Cronin, A., Dickinson, M., Fielding, J., Sleney, J., & Thomas, H. (2006). Triangulation and integration: processes, claims and implications. Qualitative Research6(1), 45–59.

Following on from the themes raised in the previous paper, Markham and Couldry discuss how they integrated different datasets in their research on citizenship:

Markham, T., & Couldry, N. (2007). Tracking the Reflexivity of the (Dis)Engaged Citizen: Some Methodological Reflections. Qualitative Inquiry13(5), 675–695.

Is it possible to synthesize qualitative and quantitative research findings? This paper examines over forty research papers on HIV/AIDS to try to answer this question:

Voils, C. I., Sandelowski, M., Barroso, J., & Hasselblad, V. (2008). Making Sense of Qualitative and Quantitative Findings in Mixed Research Synthesis Studies. Field Methods20(1), 3–25.

Q. Based on these three articles, how would you summarise the potential benefits and challenges of mixed methods research?

Q. What considerations would you take into account if you were planning to combine multiple methods in your own research project?

8.5 Research design

See Chapter 5 of Giampietro Gobo’s book Doing Ethnography (2008) for an excellent treatment of designing qualitative research:

Gobo, G. (2008). 5 designing research. In Doing ethnography (pp. 69-96). SAGE

Publications Ltd.

Q. According to this chapter, what is a research design and what purpose does it serve?

Q. What pre-assumptions will you have to address when carrying out your research?