Qualitative Research in Perspective: Achieving Excellence in Qualitative Research Practice

Facilitated by: Prof. Kerry Chamberlain (Massey University, NZ).
Slides from the workshop can be found below.
Kerry Chamberlain is a critical health psychologist who has used and written about qualitative research in health psychology for a number of years. His research focuses on health and the everyday, with specific interests in medications, media, materiality, mundane ailments, food, and disadvantage, and in qualitative research methodology.

Workshop Overview:

The objective of this workshop was to provide health psychology researchers with information, directions and some practice in undertaking qualitative research on health topics. The workshop was aimed at researchers who are new to qualitative research or who have only limited experience in conducting qualitative research. Researchers with more experience in qualitative research also benefitted from the perspectives on such research offered during the workshop. The workshop was designed to build understanding, skill and confidence in undertaking qualitative research in health psychology. We take a critical approach to such work, and the workshop emphasised the themes of criticality, creativity and reflexivity throughout. We should also note that there is no ‘right way’ to do qualitative research – this workshop looked at one perspective on how to conduct worthwhile interpretative research that strives to be excellent.
The workshop was divided into five half-day sessions, plus a sixth shorter closing session, each with its own theme to be addressed and discussed (although these also interpenetrate). Each session had one exemplar reading that participants were expected to have read before the session.

Sunday, August 19: Morning Session

Being Qualitative: epistemology; epistemophobia; social constructionism; objectivism; assumptions; theoretical frameworks; establishing research aims; using theory - theorising; keeping research aligned; bias; what are we aiming for?

Sunday, August 19: Afternoon Session

Methods and methodologies: methodological frameworks; why you don’t need a methodology; whose methodology is it anyway?; being innovative; data gathering; participants and sampling.

Monday, August 20: Morning Session

Doing analysis: description and the garden path analysis, interpretation; why you would (almost) never do thematic analysis; responsibilities of the researcher; whose voice is it anyway?; the three stages of analysis; getting in and getting out; being reflexive; depth and scope; keeping aims in view; what’s the product?

Monday, August 20: Afternoon Session

Representation: what/whose story to tell?; keeping the aims in view, but can they change?; writing it up – voice, claims, interpretation, discussion, structure; what are quotes for?; who is the audience?; publication pressures and creativity; reflexivity in action.

Tuesday, August 21: Morning Session

Pushing the boundaries: methodological creativity and innovation; interpretative creativity and innovation; representational creativity and innovation; taking chances, making a splash.

Tuesday, August 21: Afternoon Session

Being Qualitative - Reprise: where are we now.


Chamberlain, K., & Murray, M. (2008). Qualitative research in health psychology. In C. Willig & W. Stainton Rogers (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative methods in psychology (pp. 390-406). London: Sage.
This reading is intended to provide an overview of qualitative research in health psychology, and provide a overview background reading for the whole workshop.


Resilience and Health