You are here

Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative Research Methods

November 2010 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Lecturers, click here to request an e-inspection copy of this text

Qualitative Research Methods is based on the authors' highly successful multidisciplinary qualitative methods workshops, which have been conducted for over a decade. In this book the authors propose a 'qualitative research cycle' that leads students through the selection of appropriate methods, the collection of data and the transformation of findings into a finished project. It provides a clear explanation of the nature of qualitative research and its key concepts. Topics covered include:

o formulating qualitative research questions

o ethical issues

o in-depth interviews

o focus group discussions

o observation

o coding

o data analysis

o writing up qualitative research

This text is ideal for any students taking a qualitative methods course or producing a qualitative research project at undergraduate or graduate level. It is illustrated throughout with case studies and field examples from a range of international contexts. The practical techniques are also accompanied by the author's own research tools including interview guides, real coded data and comprehensive research checklists.

Introduction to the Book
Who is This Book For?

The Qualitative Research Cycle

Structure of the Book

Features of this Book

The Nature of Qualitative Research
What is Qualitative Research?

When to Conduct Qualitative Research

The Underlying Interpretive Paradigm

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Verstehen and Understanding

The Emic and Etic Perspective

Subjectivity and The Need for Reflexivity

Our Approach to Qualitative Research

Evaluating quality

The Design Cycle

Formulating Qualitative Research Questions

Incorporating Literature and Theory

Developing a Conceptual Framework

Selecting a Fieldwork Approach

Evaluating Quality

Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research

What is Ethics?

Ethics in Qualitative Research

Ethical Issues in the Design Cycle

Ethical Issues in the Ethnographic Cycle

Ethical Issues in the Analytic Cycle

Evaluating quality

Participant Recruitment
What is Participant Recruitment?

Defining and Refining the Study Population

How Many to Recruit: The Principle of Saturation

Recruitment Goals

Strategies for Participant Recruitment

Evaluating quality

In-Depth Interviews
What is an In-Depth Interview?

When to Conduct an In-Depth Interview

Purpose of an In-Depth Interview

The Cyclical Nature of Data Collection

Developing an Interview Guide

Preparing for Data Collection

Reflecting on Subjectivity and Positionality

Conducting the Interview

Strengths and Limitations

Evaluating Quality

Focus Group Discussions
What is a Focus Group Discussion?

When to Conduct Focus Group Discussions

The Cyclical Nature of Data Collection

Developing the Discussion Guide

Preparing for Data Collection

Conducting the Focus Group Discussion

Post-Discussion Information

Strengths and Limitations

Evaluating quality

What is Observation?

When to Conduct Observation

What to Observe

Types of Observation

Preparing and Conduct of Observation

Writing an Observation

Strengths and Limitations

Evaluating Quality

Data Preparation and Developing Codes

The Nature of Qualitative Data Analysis

Our Approach to Analysis

Foundations of Grounded Theory

Data Preparation

Developing Codes

Making a Codebook

Coding Data

Evaluating Quality

Textual Data Analysis

Formulating a Project-Specific Plan of Analysis

Searching Data

The Cyclical Process of Analysis

Thick Description


Categorizing and Conceptualizing

Theory Development

Evaluating Quality

Writing Qualitative Research
Writing in Qualitative Research

Who is the Audience?

Structure of Writing

Beginning to Write

Writing a Methodology

Presenting Qualitative Results

Evaluating Quality


Hennink et al. write for novice and accomplished qualitative researchers (and everyone in-between)...Qualitative Research Methods is an accessible, readable how-to book. It can be recommended as a reference book for those approaching a new qualitative project. The in-chapter descriptions and the exercises and questions at the end of each chapter provide easy, yet necessary tasks for researchers to complete during each stage of their projects
Christine L. Patton
The Weekly Qualitative Report

Hennink, Hutter, and Bailey’s work is about actually ‘doing’ qualitative research. All the key topics are covered, and sensible ‘warnings’ offered to avoid some of the usual data collection and analysis traps of ethnographic work...the book is accessible, comprehensive and well illustrated both textually and graphically. More importantly and necessarily, it stresses the importance of the theoretical stance taken and its influence upon methodology
Dr Ron Iphofen
Social Research Association News

If there is a need for a spirited defence ofqualitative research then this book makes a strong, compelling and well-delivered case...The book is well structured with a concise style, and the authors make good use of case studies, tables and exercises...New and established researchers will benefit from this book, as well as students wanting an insight intoqualitative research. The passion that these authors feel about their subject comes through strongly in the writing
Ian Birkinshaw
Nursing Standard

Qualitative Research Methods by Hennink, Hutter and Bailey however, provide qualitative researchers with a modern grasp on qualitative research methods. Hennink et al. explain ‘how to do’ qualitative research using a cyclical process, divided into 3 interconnected phases or cycles... The authors’ innovative approach is in contrast to most qualitative research textbooks that focus on qualitative research using the familiar, linear research process. In addition, the presentation of this current book will help apprentice qualitative researchers to appreciate the different stages of the qualitative research cycle... Overall, the chapters are logical and focus on key elements of qualitative research. In an added attempt to support their readers the authors provide excellent examples of directed reading. The use of ‘exercises’ and ‘key points’ reiterates the main points gleaned from each chapter.
Anita Duffy
Nurse Education in Practice

I was very impressed both with the depth and the clarity of information presented by Hennink and her colleagues. This book has a clear and logical structure. It insightfully discusses both the theoretical and epistemological issues that arise at all stages of qualitative research, as well as the very practical application of these methods. The chapters contain detailed guidance, hints and tips on how to use the methods without the text feeling heavy or over-whelming. The 'Evaluating Quality' section at the end of each chapter provides a useful summary and check-list, not only for designing one's own research project, but also for critiquing the quality and validity of other published qualitative studies... This is an excellent new text book for budding qualitative researchers.
Rebecca Langford
Critical Public Health

Covers the data collection methods that I want covered; I appreciate the learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter.

Professor Cynthia Caron
International Development, Community, Environment, Clark University
November 21, 2014

I recommended adoption to the course monitor, but they did not adopt. I recommend this text to my students though. Thank you.

Dr Thomas Dilbert
Aviation Business Administration, Embry-Riddle Aero Univ - Worldwide
February 4, 2014

This is a detailed but user-friendly book for anybody interested in using qualitative methods in social research. The methods are explained and operationalised in a clear and concise way, with great attention to detail.

Dr Tom O'Connor
Social and General Studies, Cork Institute of Technology
August 7, 2013

Good source for supporting novice researchers venturing into qualitative research for the first time. Good investment text, easily accessed and logical in it's approach.

Andrea Bellot
MSc Advanced Practice Pathway, St George's, University of London
March 21, 2013

A good book on qualitative methods especially for university students initiating in the issue.

Dr Auli Guilland
Service, Laurea Polytechnic
March 6, 2013

a good book orientated at the need for practice and theory of beginner in research - especially in different cultural contexts

Professor Brigitte Wotha
Institute for Geography, Christian-Albrechts-Universität
February 15, 2013

Very useful as a supporting text

Professor Margaret Hogg
Dept of Marketing, Lancaster University
February 13, 2013

not the level of concrete examples that we are looking for.

Professor Michel Chaudron
Department of Computer Science, Leiden University
December 14, 2012

a useful text exploring qualitative methods and will be useful for those starting out in qualitative research

Dr Nikki Petty
Health , Brighton University
November 27, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters


For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format: