The Sundial at Morehead Planetarium UNC Chapel Hill

14th Annual
Qualitative Research
Summer Intensive

The Sundial at Morehead Planetarium UNC Chapel Hill

14th Annual
Qualitative Research
Summer Intensive

July 24 - July 25, 2017
The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, NC

This event has passed. To see current events on the ResearchTalk calendar visit our Upcoming Events page.

Monday-Tuesday (July 24-25)

Two-Day Courses

Scholar: Johnny Saldaña

This two-day workshop focuses on a range of selected methods of coding qualitative data for analytic outcomes that includes patterns, categories, themes, processes, causation, and diagrams. The workshop will address:

  • Various coding methods for qualitative data (interview transcripts, field notes, documents);
  • Analytic memo writing; and
  • Heuristics for thinking qualitatively and analytically

Manual (hard copy) coding will be emphasized with a discussion of available analytic software for future use. Workshop content is derived from Saldaña’s The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers (3rd ed., Sage Publications, 2016).

Scholar: George Kamberelis

This course constitutes an intensive, two-day introduction to the nature, use, and functions of focus groups in qualitative research. Course content is drawn from the instructor’s extensive experience using focus groups and his publications on focus group research. The course is composed of several related elements.

  • First, we will address the history of focus groups as data gathering tools in different ways and for different purposes across time and disciplinary contexts.
  • Second, we will explore the quasi-unique affordances of focus groups as data gathering tools.
  • Third, we will learn about deploying focus groups for different purposes: inquiry, pedagogy, and social activism, as well as multiple purposes at once.
  • Fourth, we will learn about and discuss the basic principles of effective focus group facilitation.
  • Fifth, we will collectively analyze several focus group transcripts both to get a feel for analysis as “mapping” social landscapes and to make visible and concrete the affordances and purposes of focus group work.
  • Finally, we will learn about and discuss the frontiers of focus group work and some of the challenges facing this work.

This course is appropriate both for novice researchers and seasoned researchers. Novice qualitative researchers will gain valuable knowledge and experience how focus groups can function in and enhance most research projects. Seasoned qualitative researchers should benefit by extending their understandings of the nature and functions of focus group work and exploring its post-qualitative potentials.

Scholar: Margarete Sandelowski

The focus of this two-day course is on primary mixed methods studies and programs of research. We will cover misconceptions about mixed methods research, key points of interface between “qualitative” and “quantitative” methods and data, and the problems posed by the qualitative/quantitative binary foundational to the “mix” in mixed methods. Also covered will be issues concerning and techniques for combining: purposeful and probability sampling frames; minimally structured and open-ended and highly structured and closed-ended data collection approaches; textual and statistical analysis strategies; and approaches for the integration of diverse data sets, including linking and assimilation techniques.

This course is appropriate for graduate students and faculty in the practice disciplines (e.g., clinical psychology, education, medicine, nursing, public health, social work) as well as researchers from other fields of study (e.g., sociology, anthropology). In addition to didactic instruction, handouts, and a suggested reference list, the course will include an interactive session where participants will have the opportunity, as time permits, to ask questions about their own mixed methods research projects.

Scholar: Alison Hamilton

New and experienced qualitative researchers alike often ask: “Is my approach to qualitative research consistent with core principles of the method?” This session aims to help you become a strong decision-maker through the life of a qualitative research project. This process is facilitated by attention to the following questions:

  • How will the strength of your project be enhanced because you took a qualitative approach?
  • What does it mean to “stay close to the text?” How do you do it? Why does it matter?
  • How will the qualitative analysis approach you have chosen help you arrive at your goals?
  • What unique statement(s) will you be able to make because you took a qualitative approach?

You will learn about:

  • Rationales for using qualitative methods
  • Qualitative study design options
  • Qualitative data collection strategies
  • Qualitative analysis techniques
  • Presenting qualitative findings

This session begins with an exercise to establish a deeper understanding of why to do qualitative research. We then use data examples, supplied by the instructor, to provide practical and theoretical answers to questions raised here. Participants will become more confident in the decision-making processes they will confront in each stage of developing and executing a qualitative research project.

Scholar: Sherick Hughes

The phrase “oral history” is a conventional abbreviation for what we might describe as the use of oral sources in history or the social sciences. Part of being a strong oral historian is learning to manage an important and challenging project with informants who may be close and/or distant from the researcher’s own primary social identities. Oral History is a tool or method that can be used by qualitative researchers to gain an in-depth understanding of the history of salient experiences of a given sociohistorical context from the people who live(d) it. When applied to individuals/groups/organizations who have been silenced, vulnerable, and marginalized, oral history can help researchers in the twenty-first century learn about the cultural past, in the present, for a future of less marginalization.

“The art of oral history is to inspire those who have been silenced to speak out and to hear their own stories. The praxis of oral history is building the community from which those stories, told and retold, will transform history”
(Clark, M. M. (2002). Oral History Art and Praxis. In Don Adams and Arlene Goldbard (Eds.) Community, Culture and Globalization, 87-106. The Rockefeller Foundation.)

This course offers an in-depth look at the purpose, praxis, and possibility of oral history, while also providing participants multiple opportunities to practice her/his new oral history skills. As detailed below, this two-day course is organized to teach participants how to provide a platform for hearing the voices of multiple and diverse communities of feeling and action. This course can benefit researchers from a range of disciplines (including health, education, public health, and the social sciences) because it offers a way to move beyond superficial narratives and to collect richer data with deeper contextual meaning.

“Another thing we should keep in mind is that by ‘community’ we may not necessarily mean a geographic community, but also a community of feeling and action”
(Portelli, A. (2013). A Dialogical Relationship: An Approach to Oral History. Published on Shikshantar: The People’s Institute for Rethinking Development and Education (pp. 1-8), )

Day 1


  • Finding Your Purpose in 15-minutes
    • Activity by UNC-Ph.D. Alumnus, Dr. Derrick Drakeford, CEO of Drakeford & Associates


  • Research Design
  • Consideration of Entry
  • Role and Reciprocity
  • Development of Interview Questions
  • Pre- and Post-Interview Narrative Analysis Tasks with Tools, like Tozer et al.’s Analytic Framework and Related Activities

Day 2
Application: Practicing Skills and Strategies from Day 1

  • Mock Interviewing
  • Taking Handwritten Notes in a Manner that Decreases the Hawthorne Effect and Leading the Witness


  • Linking Autoethnography to Oral History
  • Linking Critical Family History to Oral History
  • Linking Digital Storytelling to Oral History and Related Activities

Scholar: Kevin Swartout

Qualitative and mixed methods research projects increasingly involve multiple researchers, often from different disciplines, working collaboratively to achieve their research objectives. Strong organization, cooperation, and leadership direct qualitative research teams to benefit from the team members’ combination of skills, knowledge, and perspectives.

This workshop covers the major topics relevant to qualitative teamwork, including the practical, methodological, substantive, and interpersonal. We will trace the life of a qualitative teamwork project, focusing on the following topics:

  • Composing a well-rounded team
  • Training team members
  • Project decision-making
  • Establishing and reinforcing team-member investment
  • Maintaining high rigor and standards of legitimacy throughout the project
  • Moving toward final products – memoing, diagramming, and report writing

Conversations about each topic will necessarily address the resources available to team leaders and members. For qualitative teams to succeed they must give careful thought to their analysis plan and teamwork strategies as the project begins and respond and adjust as data collection and analysis efforts expose new areas for attention.

Wednesday (July 26)

One-Day Course

Scholar: Paul Mihas

This course focuses on developing codes and integrating memo writing into a larger analytic process. Coding and memo writing function as simultaneous and fluid tasks that occur during actively reviewing of interviews, focus groups, and multi-media data. We will discuss deductive and inductive codes and how a codebook can evolve, that is, how codes can emerge and shift unexpectedly during analysis. Managing codes also includes developing code connections and possible hierarchies, identifying code “constellations,” and building multidimensional themes.

Our discussion of codes will include the following topics:

  • The importance of code names and definitions
  • Deductive, inductive, and thematic codes
  • How many codes are too many?
  • How broad or specific should codes be?

Memos function as deep reflections that capture nuanced thoughts and cumulative reactions to data. Memo writing strategies help us capture analytical thinking, inscribed meaning, and cumulative evidence for emerging meaning. Memos can also resemble early writing for reports, articles, chapters, and other forms of presentation. Researchers can also mine memos for codes and incorporate memos in building evocative themes and theory. The following types of memos and memo-writing will be discussed in an effort to offer strategies to begin applying these techniques to your own work: holistic memos, positionality memos, statement memos, thematic memos, and memos that engage critical data segments.

Scholar: Carolyn Ellis

This one-day class will focus on interviewing others about sensitive, traumatic, and emotional topics. First, I will provide a history and context for collaborative interviewing practices. Then I will discuss and demonstrate an approach called “compassionate research,” which includes compassionate interviewing and storytelling. In this process, researchers and participants build a relationship over time, work collaboratively, and share vulnerably. Researchers concentrate on the life stories of participants as developed and expressed in conversations, in multiple sites of memory, and through various forms of interaction (for example, group discussions, lectures, informal meetings, family gatherings). In this research, a participant’s wellbeing is always a consideration; the possibility of relieving suffering and contributing to a meaningful life with purpose and a better world goes hand in hand with asking questions and telling a life story. Products of this process might be scholarly articles, collaborative stories, social action, documentaries, or expressive arts.

Using my work with Holocaust survivors as an example, I will guide workshop attendees through how to think about these kinds of interviews, general principles and considerations, emotionality, cautions, ethical concerns, and possible outcomes. Videotapes of interview segments will stimulate a discussion of these issues. I will end with a short documentary of a trip I took to Treblinka (a death camp in Poland) with a survivor, a film that features the tensions of doing compassionate research as a friend and researcher. Workshop attendees will be encouraged to think about how they might broaden and deepen their understanding of interviewing and consider ways in which they might incorporate some of these practices into their research interests.

Scholar: Kevin Swartout

Every day, millions of people use the Internet and social media (e.g., Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, virtual communities) to communicate and relate with others. This trend will only accelerate with the availability of portable, web-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets. Moving forward, qualitative researchers will not be able to fully understand the people they study unless they pursue a deep exploration of their participants’ online activities. This course will address issues inherent to qualitative research and data analysis as collected, gathered, and retrieved from online sources.

Topics will include:

  • Designing and evaluating qualitative projects with online data-collection components.
  • Using different perspectives to understand and analyze data from online sources. This discussion considers benefits and cautions for “insider” and “outsider” positionality within the community.
  • Unique methodological characteristics of working with social media, online communities and other computer-mediated technologies, including:
    • Defining the field
    • Determining the quality and extent of a researcher’s participation
    • Deciding what counts as data
    • Finding ethical ways to represent online participants
  • Analyzing qualitative data collected from online contexts
  • Writing up findings

Examples will be given throughout from the instructors’ own research with computer-mediated technologies, traditional websites, social media, and other online sources.

Scholars: Alison Hamilton and Ray Maietta

Rapid and iterative data analysis necessitates particular analytic skills, strategies, and theories. This course will briefly cover study design, data collection, and fundamentals of data analysis, with a particular focus on qualitative research within rapid turn-around research projects.

A project’s theoretical framework can and should inform data collection strategies and the analysis of qualitative data. When designing a rapid-turn around qualitative study, careful consideration must be paid to issues of scope and feasibility. To perform these projects well, researchers must possess a strong foundation knowledge of qualitative data analysis and debate approaches to analyzing qualitative data in rapid turn-around projects. We will discuss these issues and emphasize a focus on flexibility and evolution of data collection and analytic approaches over time.

Scholar: Johnny Saldaña

After qualitative data have been collected and initially analyzed, we are faced with the larger task of making meaning across numerous narratives and expanding ideas. This course provides strategies for this data synthesis—for moving into advanced data analysis and integrative theory building.

The workshop will address:

  • Analytic heuristics (assertions, themes, propositions, concepts)
  • Analytic write-ups (memos, vignettes)
  • Data analytic display-making (matrices and diagrams)
  • Theory development

We will make use of an analytic synthesis chart that outlines approaches for integrating meaningful ideas and making sense of data and across data. These methods are transferable to any discipline, including business, education, social sciences, and health care, etc.

Workshop content is derived from Saldaña’s methods texts including The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers (3rd ed., 2016, Sage), and the co-authored Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook (3rd ed., 2014, Sage), and Qualitative Research: Analyzing Life (2018, Sage).

Scholars: Arthur P. Bochner

This one-day course will be a concentrated writing workshop specifically designed for participants who want to strengthen and professionalize their writing abilities and credentials. Workshop presentations, discussions and exercises will seek to widen each participant’s understanding of his or her habituated patterns and practices of writing, awareness of writing strategies, styles, and voice, and knowledge of the commitments, dispositions, and work habits associated with productive professional writing both inside and outside academia.

Special attention will be given to writing stories, the craft of story-writing and the many ways in which the researcher is fundamentally a storyteller. I also will discuss blended genres of writing that merge nonfiction and fictional strategies of writing. I will focus considerable attention on vulnerable writing, on features of storytelling such as character, scene, plot, action, and dialogue as well as dramatizing, structuring, revising and the development of a narrative arc. We will discuss what it means to live a writing life, analyze our own writing regiments and practices, and participate in exercises focused on finding voice through free writing.

Workshop participants will receive materials on publishers, book series, and journals that accept narrative, poetic, artistic, and literary works.

Thursday-Friday (July 27-28)

Two-Day Courses

Scholars: Mario L. Small

Across the social sciences, natural sciences, and even humanities, researchers and practitioners have increasingly come to accept the “big data” revolution, the fact that extraordinary amounts of information on every aspect of human life are now available from both public and private sources, and that increasingly powerful computers have made analyzing such data far more practical. In many respects, quantitative analysis seems the wave of the future.

At the same time, qualitative analysis will likely rise rather than diminish in importance, since we will always need to know what the data mean for the human beings who are ultimately their source. For every study analyzing hundreds of thousands of people in a Facebook friendship network, we will need qualitative data to understand what a Facebook “friend” actually means. Still, the classic difficulties between qualitative and quantitative researchers, particularly the difficulty of the latter to understand the methods and principles of the former will continue to emerge and likely become even more important to overcome.

This course is designed for qualitative researchers in academic, government, and private practice who seek to do research they can communicate not only to their peers but also to economists, statisticians, demographers, and computer scientists, particularly as these quantitative scholars adopt larger and larger data sources and, thus, come to increasingly value the benefits of large sample sizes. The course assumes basic familiarity with ethnographic or interview methods.

The first day, “Basic Principles,” identifies the main issues at play, discusses some common mistakes qualitative researchers have made when speaking to quantitative audiences, and covers basic principles researchers can adopt in their own work. The second day, “Applications,” examines particular applications, which may vary from year to year. In 2017, the focus will be social networks. We examine what qualitative research might contribute to the study of social network, and how qualitative researchers should think about, design, and write that book for an audience of quantitative network scholars.

Scholars: Carolyn Ellis and Arthur P. Bochner

This two-day course will follow the outline of our book, Evocative Autoethnography: Writing Lives and Telling Stories. Since the book details an imaginary workshop along the same lines as the one we are actually teaching, this will be a profoundly reflexive exercise.

We will guide workshop attendees through:

  • the history of autoethnography and narrative as approaches to doing research
  • becoming storywriters and living the writing life
  • fundamental ethical issues, dilemmas, and responsibilities in qualitative research
  • the intersection of ethnography with autoethnography
  • truth and memory
  • publishing autoethnographic and narrative research.

In working through several exemplars, workshop attendees will become acquainted with writing vulnerably about crucial turning points they and their research participants have lived through; envision writing about life’s messiness; practice thinking with stories; imagine how to do research creatively and collaboratively; consider doing research that is relevant to real people leading actual lives; and ponder the moral and social justice concerns of their work.

Workshop attendees will have an opportunity to practice narrative and personal writing and to discuss how these practices might fit into their ongoing qualitative research projects.

Scholar: Alison Hamilton

Implementation research aims to integrate research findings into practice and policy. In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of routine practice, implementation researchers collect qualitative data about the everyday behaviors and beliefs of practitioners and other professionals, stakeholders, and recipients of services. During data collection, special attention is paid to factors that both facilitate and impede effective execution and implementation of major programs and service delivery. The end goal is to increase the likelihood of uptake, adoption, implementation, and sustainability of evidence-based practices.

To provide foundational knowledge and skill to help facilitate your own work, the course walks through critical components of building and carrying out an implementation research project:

  • Developing appropriate implementation research questions and specific aims
  • Selecting conceptual models
  • Strategizing about study design
  • Determining appropriate, feasible qualitative data collection methods
  • Executing qualitative analytic strategies
  • Generating timely, impactful implementation research products

The application of methodological concepts will be illustrated via examples from implementation research in the context of varied settings such as healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and communities.

Participants will be provided with materials and bibliographies to support the practice of qualitative methods in implementation research.

Scholar: Johnny Saldaña

This two-day workshop is an introductory overview of basic approaches to and methods for qualitative inquiry. Course content will be adapted from Saldaña and Omasta’s textbook, Qualitative Research: Analyzing Life (Sage Publications, 2018).

Major topics addressed will include:

  • A survey of qualitative data collection methods (interviewing, participant observation, documents/artifacts);
  • Qualitative research design;
  • A survey of qualitative data analytic methods; and
  • Writing and presenting qualitative research.

Multiple practical and on-your-feet activities will be included throughout the course to provide students experiential knowledge of the subject.

Newcomers to qualitative inquiry will benefit from this course by gaining literacy and workshop experience in the basic methods of qualitative research for future study and application. Experienced qualitative researchers will benefit from this course by refreshing their knowledge bases of methods, plus observing how introductory material is approached with novices for future classroom teaching applications.

Scholar: Ray Maietta

The Sort and Sift, Think and Shift qualitative data analysis approach, created by Ray Maietta and his consulting team at ResearchTalk Inc, is an iterative process, where analysts dive into data to understand its content, dimensions and properties, and then step back to assess what they have learned in order to bridge findings with current conversations in their field and to assess implications for practice. The method combines tenets and practices from phenomenology, grounded theory, case study and narrative research. The ResearchTalk team has utilized and taught this approach for over a decade to qualitative researchers across disciplines and industries.

  • This process of “diving in” and “stepping back” is repeated throughout the analytic process. Researchers move from establishing an understanding of what is in the data to exploring their relationship to the data. To conclude, they arrive at an evidence-based meeting point that is a hybrid story of data content and researcher knowledge.

The Sort and Sift approach is defined by two key analytic shifts qualitative analysts must make over the course of their data work.

  1. Shift 1 occurs when analysts move their analytic plans from being driven by what they knew and thought before they collected and engaged with data to allowing data content to define analytic decision-making and directions.
  2. Shift 2 occurs as analysts move from processing individual data documents to giving careful thought and attention to what they will present and how this material will be presented to audiences.

Each phase of the Sort and Sift method features a toolkit to facilitate analytic activities.

  • The “Diving In” toolkit features tools to use as you read, review, recognize and record your observations during data review.
  • The “Stepping Back” toolkit features tools to use as you reflect, re-strategize and re-orient after your “diving in” phases of analysis.

The iterative back and forth between these phases allows you to bridge emergent findings and concepts to conversations and practices currently engaged by your colleagues.

Scholar: Margarete Sandelowski

The focus of this course is on concrete, this-is-how-you-might/should-say-it strategies for designing and writing effective and competitive qualitative and mixed-methods research proposals. Qualitative and mixed-methods research proposals are exercises in artful and mindful design, verbal precision, imaginative and informed rehearsal, elegant expression, and strategic disarmament. We will cover principles generic to proposals, and specific ways to communicate the significance, conceptual framing, methodological details (sampling and data collection and analysis plans, plans for optimizing validity and human subjects protections) of, and budget and budget justification for, the planned study.

We will also cover strategies for addressing those aspects of qualitative and mixed-methods research designs likely to arouse the most concern among reviewers less familiar with them, most notably the purposeful sampling frame and generalizability of study findings. This course is appropriate for graduate students and faculty in the practice disciplines (e.g., clinical psychology, education, medicine, nursing, public health, social work) as well as researchers from other fields of study (e.g., sociology, anthropology).

In addition to didactic instruction, handouts, and a suggested reference list, the course will also include an interactive session where participants will have the opportunity, as time permits, to ask questions about their own proposals for problem solving.