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Qualitative Research

What is Qualitative Research?

"Qualitative research is an approach to research that is primarily concerned with studying the nature, quality, and meaning of human experience. It asks questions about how people make sense of their experiences, how people talk about what has happened to them and others, and how people experience, manage, and negotiate situations they find themselves in. Qualitative research is interested both in individual experiences and in the ways in which people experience themselves as part of a group. Qualitative data take the form of accounts or observations, and the findings are presented in the form of a discussion of the themes that emerged from the analysis. Numbers are very rarely used in qualitative research." -- SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology

Qualitative data can take many forms, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, participant observation, written or audiovisual diaries, and textual analysis. In qualitative data analysis, researchers identify themes through an iterative process -- for example, through content analysis or inductive coding. 

This guide presents resources for conducting qualitative research and qualitative data analysis. For further support, contact a librarian


Recommended Books on Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research Analysis Tools

George Mason University Libraries has compiled an excellent list of qualitative data analysis tools, including free and open-source options. 

UDC students, faculty, and staff can request software licenses for proprietary software through the Office of Information Technology