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The Entrance to the Timbered Walkway
at Coker Arboretum, UNC

12th Annual
Qualitative Research
Summer Intensive

The Entrance to the Timbered Walkway
at Coker Arboretum, UNC

12th Annual
Qualitative Research
Summer Intensive

July 27 - July 31, 2015
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 27-28)

Two-Day Courses

Scholar: Kevin Swartout

Communicating research findings is storytelling; some stories are supported by qualitative data, some are supported by numbers, some by both. This course is for researchers who want to consume mixed-methods research or incorporate mixed methods into their scholarship. Rather than furthering the misguided rivalry between inquiries, this course will focus on the shared principles between qualitative and quantitative analysis, noting divergence when necessary. This approach will position scholars to determine patterns and draw integrated conclusions across analyses and across a literature, all toward the goal of telling rich, well-informed stories.

Core discussions will include:

  • Basic principles, assumptions, and practices in mixed methods
  • How to develop a sound, flexible analysis strategy
  • Specific methods for combining qualitative and quantitative findings
  • How to manage assumptions to maintain analytic legitimacy
  • Best practices for writing-up mixed methods findings
  • Concrete examples and tips for practice

Scholar: Mark Vagle

Phenomenology is a way for qualitative researchers to look at what we usually look through. It means being profoundly present in our research encounters, to leave no stone unturned, to slow down in order to open up, to dwell with our surroundings, and to know that there is “never nothing going on.” Because the philosophical ideas that underpin phenomenology can be abstract and sometimes elusive, this course will communicate these topics as concretely as possible. That is, the course will provide techniques, tools, and strategies for cultivating a phenomenology. We will use examples, anecdotes, and exercises to work through and navigate the craft.

To learn about phenomenological research approaches, we will experience a series of data collection tools and strategies such as going on “phenomenology walks,” writing about lived experiences, and interviewing one another. We will explore Vagle’s five-component methodological process for conducting post-intentional phenomenological research—working to make sense of how our phenomena might take shape in various contexts:

  • Identify a phenomenon in its multiple, partial, and varied contexts.
  • Devise a clear, yet flexible process for gathering data appropriate for the phenomenon under investigation.
  • Make a post–reflexivity plan.
  • Read and write your way through your data in a systematic, responsive manner.
  • Craft a text that captures tentative manifestations of the phenomenon in its multiple, partial, and varied contexts.

Finally, we will explore conventional and less-conventional ways to write up our research.

A wide variety of methodological and philosophical texts and examples of phenomenological studies will be on hand for participants to read and discuss during the course. The course is based on Vagle’s book by the same name, Crafting Phenomenological Research (Left Coast Press, 2014).

Scholar: Johnny Saldaña

The wealth of qualitative research methods and strategies for analysis can be overwhelming to beginners as well as those who have experience with qualitative data approaches. This two-day workshop will walk participants through basic approaches to and methods for qualitative inquiry. Primary 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
  • Writing and presenting qualitative research

Multiple practical and on-your-feet activities will be included throughout the course to provide students with experiential knowledge, skill building, and methods literacy.

Newcomers to qualitative inquiry will benefit from this course by gaining 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 applications in the classroom. Course content will be adapted from Saldaña’s Fundamentals of Qualitative Research (2011, Oxford), and Saldaña and Omasta’s textbook, Qualitative Research: Analyzing Life (2018, Sage).

Scholar: Sarah Tracy

All too commonly, qualitative researchers face obstacles and unfair critiques by grant reviewers, committee members, or journal reviewers that their research is not yet theoretically or practically significant. This workshop introduces eight distinct heuristic tools that, when applied strategically, transform qualitative data into claims that evolve theory and practice in important and impactful ways:

  • Jeopardy research questions
  • Abduction
  • Negative case analysis
  • Conceptual cocktail parties
  • Carrying claims
  • and more

The following workshop exercises will enable participants to understand the heuristic tools and apply them in their own work:

  • Engaging claim-making and theory building worksheets that lead to an iterative and phronetic (wise) analysis
  • Practicing open coding, in vivo coding, creating a qualitative codebook, and differentiating between first- and second-level codes
  • Crafting specific claims that resonate and transfer to a variety of settings
  • Exploring and practicing iterative writing and a formula for being “interesting”
  • Learning tips for crafting qualitative research that fully engages and connects with intended audiences

This course is designed for those new to qualitative methods as well as experienced researchers who want to deepen their analyses or refine their techniques for teaching qualitative interpretation and analysis.

Resources for this workshop will come, in part, from S. Tracy’s Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and from Huffman and Tracy’s “Making Claims that Matter: Heuristics for Theoretical and Social Impact in Qualitative Research” (In press), Qualitative Inquiry.

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: Sarah Tracy

All too commonly, qualitative researchers face obstacles and unfair critiques by grant reviewers, committee members, or journal reviewers that their research is not yet theoretically or practically significant. This workshop introduces eight distinct heuristic tools that, when applied strategically, transform qualitative data into claims that evolve theory and practice in important and impactful ways:

  • Jeopardy research questions
  • Abduction
  • Negative case analysis
  • Conceptual cocktail parties
  • Carrying claims
  • and more

The following workshop exercises will enable participants to understand the heuristic tools and apply them in their own work:

  • Engaging claim-making and theory building worksheets that lead to an iterative and phronetic (wise) analysis
  • Practicing open coding, in vivo coding, creating a qualitative codebook, and differentiating between first- and second-level codes
  • Crafting specific claims that resonate and transfer to a variety of settings
  • Exploring and practicing iterative writing and a formula for being “interesting”
  • Learning tips for crafting qualitative research that fully engages and connects with intended audiences

This course is designed for those new to qualitative methods as well as experienced researchers who want to deepen their analyses or refine their techniques for teaching qualitative interpretation and analysis.

Resources for this workshop will come, in part, from S. Tracy’s Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and from Huffman and Tracy’s “Making Claims that Matter: Heuristics for Theoretical and Social Impact in Qualitative Research” (In press), Qualitative Inquiry.

Scholars: Kathy Charmaz

Qualitative researchers often experience common problems such as getting lost after collecting and coding data, overlooking possibilities for developing their ideas, and producing disjointed and mundane reports. Grounded theory methods help you expedite analyzing your data and writing your report. This class takes basic grounded theory principles to the next step of increasing the incisiveness, creativity, and clarity of your work. Our purpose is to help you retain the flexibility of grounded theory while furthering the conceptual depth and scope of your analyses. We will emphasize how to

  1. develop and recognize powerful codes
  2. strengthen your emergent categories
  3. integrate these categories into a coherent narrative
  4. write a compelling report

Familiarity with basic grounded theory strategies is advised. Grounded theory is a general method and its strategies of qualitative coding and memo-writing have been widely adopted by qualitative researchers of all kinds. This class best serves participants who are in the midst of a project or have engaged in qualitative coding and memo writing for an earlier study.

Qualitative reportage relies on art and science—image and analysis. Yet analysis does not stop when we write our reports. We will briefly discuss how to create an artful rendering of your work that increases the power of your analysis. We will also cover strategies for developing arguments, writing literature reviews and theoretical frameworks, and constructing abstracts, titles, and introductions. The last session focuses on choosing journals and publishing houses, preparing your manuscript for submission, and working with editors and reviewers.

Wednesday (July 29)

One-Day Course

Scholar: Sarah Tracy

In quantitative communities, measures of quality are relatively simple: validity, reliability, generalizability, and objectivity. However, qualitative research cannot and should not be evaluated by these same yardsticks. This workshop presents a parsimonious, “big tent” model of qualitative quality in which participants will explore eight key markers of quality in qualitative research including: 1) worthy topic, 2) rich rigor, 3) sincerity, 4) credibility, 5) resonance, 6) significant contribution, 7) ethics and 8) meaningful coherence.

This model is based upon material from Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and this article: Tracy, S.J. (2010). “Qualitative Quality: Eight ‘Big-tent’ Criteria for Excellent Qualitative Research.” Qualitative Inquiry, 16: 837-51 .

The eight points of the big tent model will enable teachers, researchers, and practitioners of qualitative inquiry to:

  1. Identify a worthy topic that is relevant, timely, significant and interesting to core audiences
  2. Create rich rigor through using sufficient, abundant, appropriate, and complex theories, data, constructs, and analysis processes
  3. Communicate sincerity by being self-reflexive and transparent
  4. Ensure credibility through thick description, triangulation, crystallization, multivocality, and member reflections
  5. Fashion resonant research that influences and moves audiences through aesthetic representation, naturalistic generalization, and transferable findings
  6. Develop a significant contribution—theoretically, practically, morally, methodologically, and heuristically
  7. Practice qualitative ethics–including procedural, situational, relational, and exiting considerations
  8. Craft meaningful coherence by interconnecting literature, research questions, findings and interpretations so that they fit together, cohere with the study’s goals, and connect with the audience’s expectations.

The model also equips consumers and evaluators of qualitative work with measures to assess the quality of material they review.

The workshop is targeted to researchers, grant-writers, and instructors of qualitative methods—both those new to these areas as well as experienced inquirers.

Scholar: Tony Adams, Alison Hamilton, and Ray Maietta

This course is founded on the premise that qualitative inquiry is unique, powerful, and necessary. The course presents unapologetic arguments for the strength of our work as qualitative experts and offers concrete tips and approaches to qualitative practice. Adams, Hamilton, and Maietta will use a combination of their own work and their favorite qualitative work in autoethnography, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and evaluation to equip you with the skills and language to become a vocal advocate for your qualitative contributions and the qualitative work you consume and share with others.

To accomplish this goal, these 4 principles must guide how you engage, evaluate and present qualitative work:

  1. The strategies you use to carry out your project must align with your project questions and goals.
  2. You must verify the quality of your work DURING data collection and analysis.
  3. The presentation of your work must be lucid and compelling.
    1. You must effectively build and tell your qualitative story using your data to discover and communicate your message(s)
  4. You must make a useful contribution
    1. to practice
    2. to theory
    3. to future research

Together we will review how others have accomplished these goals and help to ensure you do so as you move forward with your qualitative projects.

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: Johnny Saldaña

An arts-based approach can enrich our understanding of how people experience their worlds. When the audiences of our research hear poems and see plays that portray the themes and meanings in our data, they witness the power of nuance and the integrated nature of qualitative findings. Our audiences become more present in our story telling and are more likely to absorb the multi-dimensional messages we convey.

Johnny Saldaña, one of the best known practitioners of this research tradition, will guide participants through improvisational and writing exercises to explore how dramatic texts add credibility and make presentations more vivid and persuasive. These skills will help researchers document and represent fieldwork ranging from education to health care.

The course will also provide a literature review of exemplary play scripts and videos in research-based theatre; methods of dramatizing field notes and adapting interview transcripts; and the developmental process of autoethnographic monologues. Throughout, Saldaña emphasizes the vital importance of creating good theatre as well as good research for impact on an audience and performers.

Key figures in qualitative inquiry, Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, endorse the arts-based research techniques outlined and supported in this course as a powerful way for ethnographers to interrogate and represent the meanings of lived experiences.

No prior theatre or performance experience is needed to participate in this workshop.

Scholar: Mark Vagle

This workshop will explore what “lived experience” means for qualitative researchers and how we can study the world as it is lived, not the world as it is measured, transformed, represented, correlated, and broken down. In paying close attention to lived experience, we are interested in the felt and sensed aspects of our participants’ and our own experiences, as well as the contextual aspects in which these experiences are lived. How can we listen to and make sense of this significance and use it in our qualitative research?

We will identify lived experiences that we are interested in studying and use theoretical tools from phenomenological traditions to explore how we can open up, wonder about, and understand these experiences more deeply. We will treat theorizing as an active and generative process of exploration.

We will also put these theoretical tools to use in our data collection processes—focusing on observing and interviewing lived experiences. As a concrete example, we will spend time exploring how various visual and popular media can serve as data for studying lived experience. With data from some of Vagle’s current studies of social class lived experiences in schools and communities, we will further practice data analysis using the theoretical tools we have learned. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own data and/or research ideas so they can apply these tools and techniques to their work.

Scholars: George W. Noblit

Qualitative researchers often experience common problems such as getting lost after collecting and coding data, overlooking possibilities for developing their ideas, and producing disjointed and mundane reports. Grounded theory methods help you expedite analyzing your data and writing your report. This class takes basic grounded theory principles to the next step of increasing the incisiveness, creativity, and clarity of your work. Our purpose is to help you retain the flexibility of grounded theory while furthering the conceptual depth and scope of your analyses. We will emphasize how to

  1. develop and recognize powerful codes
  2. strengthen your emergent categories
  3. integrate these categories into a coherent narrative
  4. write a compelling report

Familiarity with basic grounded theory strategies is advised. Grounded theory is a general method and its strategies of qualitative coding and memo-writing have been widely adopted by qualitative researchers of all kinds. This class best serves participants who are in the midst of a project or have engaged in qualitative coding and memo writing for an earlier study.

Qualitative reportage relies on art and science—image and analysis. Yet analysis does not stop when we write our reports. We will briefly discuss how to create an artful rendering of your work that increases the power of your analysis. We will also cover strategies for developing arguments, writing literature reviews and theoretical frameworks, and constructing abstracts, titles, and introductions. The last session focuses on choosing journals and publishing houses, preparing your manuscript for submission, and working with editors and reviewers.

Thursday-Friday (July 30-31)

Two-Day Courses

Scholar: Johnny Saldaña

Being in conversation with qualitative data can include identifying ideas that spark meaning, insight, and sense-making. 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 (with an emphasis on interview transcripts)
  • Analytic memo writing
  • 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 (2nd ed., Sage Publications, 2013).

Scholar: Tony Adams and 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: Kathy Charmaz

Interviewing is the most common method of data collection in qualitative inquiry. It has sparked much debate and discussion yet researchers have given relatively little concrete advice about how to develop effective interviewing skills. The purpose of this class is to give you a foundation for building skills to engage in mindful interviewing practice. We will take a collaborative approach to learning about interviewing and developing interviewing skills in a supportive environment.

Intensive interviewing is both a method and an intimate form of human connection seldom experienced between relative strangers. The interview experience can be revelatory and transformative for both the researcher and research participant. Yet because interviewing is a contested method, I will briefly outline criticisms of it. We will address questions of ethics, meaning, reflexivity, and co-construction of data and discuss complex situations that can occur when researchers interview people across racial, class, age, and gender divides. However, our main emphases will be on:

  1. constructing, ordering, and asking good in-depth interview questions
  2. being fully present while conducting the interview

To start, we will work on constructing an interview guide with well-designed and paced questions. If you can create a good interview guide, you will become more attuned to how and when to ask to questions—even if you don’t use your interview guide. You will also become more sensitive to how research participants might think, feel, and respond to your questions. The class will give you opportunities to devise sample interview questions on a topic of your choice, conduct a short practice interview, and experience the interview process as a research participant. In this class, learning relies on direct experience, collaborative efforts, congenial interaction, and constructive feedback. We will have great fun engaging intensive interviews!

Scholars: George W. Noblit

The role of theory in qualitative research has changed and theory is now understood as a lens through which to interpret qualitative data. This approach has been called “theorizing” qualitative data. Theorizing explicates what can be said from a data set. In theorizing, substantive theories combine with reflection and researcher positionality to yield a reading of the data. Instead of testing theories, researchers use and critique them for their applicability as explanations and interpretations.

Theorizing can be accomplished in various ways. Three common ways are:

  1. Searching for alternative interpretations
  2. Determining what is not analyzed by the theory
  3. Conducting a more inductive, emic or grounded theory type analysis

Each of these approaches focus on what is not accounted for by the theorizing. By comparing what results from each approach with the theorized account, we can gain or lose confidence in the trustworthiness of the theorized account.

Throughout the workshop, we will engage several exercises to practice theorizing:

  • We begin with a reminder exercise involving coding.
  • We will examine select theories, including theories used in applied and practice settings.
  • In groups, we will develop the key concepts and logics to be used for a chosen theory or two and prepare a “theorizing guide” for each theory.
    • We will then return to read and code the data using each theory in turn.
  • We will then use a “theorized account writing guide” to write short accounts of our theoretical readings of data.
  • Participants will compare the theorized accounts with alternative interpretations.
  • Our group activities will end with participants “performing” a theorized account. These presentations will employ a readers’ theatre format where participants create a script using the guides completed during the session.

There are no prerequisites for this workshop and no prior knowledge of theory is necessary.

Scholar: Alison Hamilton

Dates: Thursday-Friday, July 26-27

A researcher or research team pursues a mixed methods approach to understand a given topic or phenomenon more deeply when numbers or narratives alone do not provide a complete picture. Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches can enhance conversations about theory and/or inform the evolution of practice and policy. This complex and demanding research paradigm requires knowledge, skill, and expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as the art of carefully integrating the approaches to and findings from each mode of inquiry.

This course focuses on strategies, tips, and best practices to accomplish this integration in accessible and effective ways, including:

  • Rationales to guide decision-making related to study design and execution.
    For example:
    • Will the qualitative and quantitative data collection efforts occur concurrently or sequentially, and why?
    • Will either the qualitative or quantitative be privileged or will each contribute equally to answering the research questions and generating the project’s final products?
    • How can the mixed methods study be designed to maximize the potential for synergy among the different types of data?
  • Conceptual, theoretical, and/or logic models as roadmaps to set the stage for and guide integration
    • How can the model—and the language of the model—be developed to reflect interdisciplinary inputs?
  • Analytic strategies that advance frameworks and dynamic processes of connecting, building, merging, embedding, and bridging.
    For example:
    • The power and role of using data displays and visual diagramming during the analytic process
    • How can tensions in mixed methods results be addressed creatively, to foster meaningful products?

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.