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Qualitative Research - Must Read list

Qualitative Research Network – Must read list

Holloway, Immy, and Les Todres. "Thinking differently: challenges in qualitative research." International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being 2.1 (2007): 12-18.

Malterud K. Qualitative research: standards, challenges, and guidelines. The lancet. 2001 Aug 11;358(9280):483-8.

Hennessy, M., Hunter, A., Healy, P., Galvin, S. and Houghton, C. (2018) Commentary | Improving trial recruitment processes: how qualitative methodologies can be used to address the top 10 research priorities identified within the PRioRiTy study. Trials. 19:584. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2964-1

Houghton, C., Casey, D., Shaw, D. and Murphy, K. (2010) Ethical Challenges in Qualitative Research: Examples from Practice. Nurse Researcher. 18(1), 15-25.

Khankeh, H., Ranjbar, M., Khorasani-Zavareh, D., Zargham-Boroujeni, A., & Johansson, E. (2015). Challenges in conducting qualitative research in health: A conceptual paper. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research, 20(6), 635.

Potter, J., & Hepburn, A. (2012). Eight challenges for interview researchers. Handbook of interview research, 555-570. 

Tinati, R., Halford, S., Carr, L., & Pope, C. (2014). Big Data: methodological challenges and approaches for sociological analysisSociology48(4), 663-681. DOI: 10.1177/0038038513511561

Calman L, Brunton L, Molassiotis A. Developing longitudinal qualitative designs: lessons learned and recommendations for health services research. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2013;13(1):14.

Quality in qualitative research

Barbour RS (2001) Checklists for improving rigour in qualitative research: a case of the tail wagging the dog? British Medical Journal 322: 1115–7

Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000). Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into practice39(3), 124-130.

Eakin, J. M., & Mykhalovskiy, E. (2003). Reframing the evaluation of qualitative health research: reflections on a review of appraisal guidelines in the health sciences. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice9(2), 187-194.

Godfrey, M. (2015). Qualitative research in age and ageing: enhancing understanding of ageing, health and illness.

Greenhalgh, T., & Taylor, R. (1997). How to read a paper: papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research). BMj, 315(7110), 740-743

Hammersley, M. (2007). The issue of quality in qualitative research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education30(3), 287-305.

Mays N, Pope C (2000) Assessing quality in qualitative research. British Medical Journal 320: 50–2

Murphy, K. and Casey, D. (2009) Issues in using methodological triangulation. Nurse Researcher. 16(4), 40-56.

O’Brien, B. C., Harris, I. B., Beckman, T. J., Reed, D. A., & Cook, D. A. (2014). Standards for reporting qualitative research: a synthesis of recommendations. Academic Medicine89(9), 1245-1251.

O’Cathain, A., Murphy, E., & Nicholl, J. (2008). The quality of mixed methods studies in health services research. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy13(2), 92-98.

Popay, J., Rogers, A., & Williams, G. (1998). "Rationale and standards for the systematic review of qualitative literature in health services research. "Qualitative Health Research. 8(3), 341-351.

Richardson, J. C., & Liddle, J. (2017). Where does good quality qualitative health care research get published? Primary health care research & development, 18(5), 515-521.

Seale, C., & Silverman, D. (1997). Ensuring rigour in qualitative research. The European Journal of Public Health7(4), 379-384.

Smith, B., & McGannon, K. R. (2018). Developing rigor in qualitative research: Problems and opportunities within sport and exercise psychology. International review of sport and exercise psychology11(1), 101-121.

Tong, A., Sainsbury, P., & Craig, J. (2007). Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups. International journal for quality in health care19(6), 349-357.

Tracy, S. J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative inquiry16(10), 837-851.

Yardley, L. (2000). Dilemmas in qualitative health research. Psychology and health15(2), 215-228.

Analysis and methodology papers 

Data collection

Casey, D. and Murphy, K. (2014) Using focus groups to interview persons with moderate and severe dementia. Current Nursing Journal. 1(1), 23-29.


Arksey H, Knight P. Interviewing for social scientists: an introductory resource with examples.Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 1999

Kvale, S. (2003). The psychoanalytic interview as inspiration for qualitative research. Qualitative research in psychology: Expanding perspectives in methodology and design, 275-297.

Meskell, P., Murphy, K., Shaw, D. and Casey, D. (2014) Insights into the use and complexities of policy Delphi technique. Nurse Researcher. 21(3), 32-39.

Ogden R. Bias. In: Given LM, editor. The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications Inc; 2008. pp. 61–2.

Analysis and theory 

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology3(2), 77-101.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2014). What can “thematic analysis” offer health and wellbeing researchers?. International journal of qualitative studies on health and well-being9.

Casey, D. and Houghton, C. (2010) Clarifying case study research: examples from practice. Nurse Researcher. 17(3), 41-51.

Tuckett, A. G. (2005) Applying thematic analysis theory to practice: A researcher’s experience. Contemporary Nurse, 19, 75-87

Farnsworth J, Boon B. Analysing group dynamics within the focus group. Qual Res. 2010;10(5):605–24. 

Grossoehme, D., & Lipstein, E. (2016). Analyzing longitudinal qualitative data: the application of trajectory and recurrent cross-sectional approaches. BMC research notes9(1), 136.

Heron, J., & Reason, P. (1997). A participatory inquiry paradigm. Qualitative inquiry3(3), 274-294.

Scotland, J. (2012). Exploring the philosophical underpinnings of research: Relating ontology and epistemology to the methodology and methods of the scientific, interpretive, and critical research paradigms. English Language Teaching5(9), 9.

Smith JA, Jarman M, Osborn M. Doing interpretative phenomenological analysis. In: Murray M, Chamberlain K, editors. Qualitative health psychology: theories and methods. London (UK): Sage Publications; 1999. pp. 218–40.

Smith JA. Beyond the divide between cognition and discourse: using interpretative phenomenological analysis in health psychology. Psychol Health. 1996;11(2):261–71. doi: 10.1080/08870449608400256.

Drabble SJ, O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Describing qualitative research undertaken with randomised controlled trials in grant proposals: a documentary analysis. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2014;14:24. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-14-24.

Reeves S, Albert M, Kuper A, Hodges BD. Why use theories in qualitative research. Bmj. 2008 Sep 13;337(7670):631-4.

Hussey, S., Hoddinott, P., Wilson, P., Dowell, J., & Barbour, R. (2004). Sickness certification system in the United Kingdom: qualitative study of views of general practitioners in Scotland. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)328(7431), 88. (check The supplementary file)


Teaching qualitative methods and student learning

Atkinson, P., & Pugsley, L. (2005). Making sense of ethnography and medical education. Medical education39(2), 228-234. 

Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2013). Teaching thematic analysis: Overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. The psychologist26(2), 120-123.

Daly J, Willis K, Small R et al. (2007) A hierarchy of evidence for assessing qualitative health research. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 60: 43–9

Drisko, J. W. (2016). Teaching qualitative research: Key content, course structures, and recommendations. Qualitative Social Work15(3), 307–321.

Hazzan, O., & Nutov, L. (2014). Teaching and Learning Qualitative Research ≈ Conducting Qualitative Research.The QualitativeReport,19(24), 1-29. Retrieved from

Michael A. Forrester & Gina Z. Koutsopoulou. Providing Resources for Enhancing the Teaching of Qualitative Methods at the Undergraduate Level: Current Practices and the Work of the HEA Psychology Network Group. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 5:3, 173-178, DOI: 10.1080/14780880802314312 To link to this article:

Books (and book chapters)

Primary sources

Gouldner, A. W. (1954). Wildcat strike.

Whyte, W. F. (2012). Street corner society: The social structure of an Italian slum. University of Chicago Press.

Willis, P. (2017). Learning to labour: How working class kids get working class jobs. Routledge.

Introductory texts and synthesis guides

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. sage.

Breakwell GM, Hammond S, Fife-Schaw C. Research methods in psychology. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 1995. 

Brodsky, A. E. (2008). Researcher as instrument. The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods2, 766. 

Corbin, J. and Strauss, A., 2008. Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory.

Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory. Sage.

Creswell, J. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Paperback, 472 pp.  ISBN: 9781412995306.

Creswell, John (2008). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage.

Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. Sage.

Geertz, C. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures. Selected essays by Clifford Geertz. New Vork: Basic Book. Inc., Publishers, 328.

Given, L. M., ed. (2008). The Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods.  

Green, J., & Thorogood, N. (2018). Qualitative methods for health research. Sage.

Guest G, Namey EE, Mitchel ML. Collecting qualitative data: a field manual for applied research. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2013.

Hammersley M, Atkinson P. Ethnography: principles in practice. London (UK): Taylor and Francis; 2007.

Guest, G., MacQueen, K. M. & Namey, E. E. (2012) Applied thematic analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Marshall, Catherine & Rossman, Gretchen B. (1998). Designing Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Maxwell, J. A. (2012). A realist approach for qualitative research. Sage.

Miles B, Huberman AM. Qualitative data analysis. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2009. 

Packer, M. J. (2017). The science of qualitative research. Cambridge University Press. 

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. sage.

Saldaña, J. (2015). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage.

Smith, J. A. (Ed.). (2015). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods. Sage.

Smith, J. A Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative phenomenological analysis: Theory, method and research.

Stake, R. E. (2013). Multiple case study analysis. Guilford Press. 

Strauss AL, Corbin J. Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques.Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 1998.

Willig, C. (2013). Introducing qualitative research in psychology. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Book chapters

Pope C, Mays N. Qualitative Methods in Health and Health Services Research. In: Mays N, Pope N, editors. BMJ. London: Qualitative Research in Health Care; 1996.

Pope, C., Mays, N., & Popay, J. (2007). Synthesizing qualitative and quantitative health research: a guide to methods. UK: Open University.

Pope, C., & Mays, N. (2006). Observational methods. In C. Pope, & N. Mays (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care, 3rd Edition (pp. 32-42). UK: Blackwell.

Pope, C., & Mays, N. (2006). Qualitative methods in health research. In C. Pope, & N. Mays (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care, 3rd Edition (pp. 1-11). UK: Blackwell.

Mays, N., & Pope, C. (2006). Quality in qualitative health research. In C. Pope, & N. Mays (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care, 3rd Edition (pp. 82-101). UK: Blackwell.

Pope, C., & Mays, N. (2006). Synthesising qualitative research. In C. Pope, & N. Mays (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care, 3rd Edition (pp. 142-156). UK: Blackwell.

Layder D. Sociological practice: Linking theory and social research. Sage; 1998 Oct 16. 

Papers on qualitative synthesis

France, E. F., Ring, N., Uny, I., Duncan, E. A. S., Jepson, R. G., Maxwell, M., ... Vanstone, M. (2019). Improving reporting of meta-ethnography: The eMERGe Reporting GuidanceJournal of Advanced Nursing. DOI: 10.1002/pon.4915

Pope, C., Mays, N., & Popay, J. (2006). How can we synthesize qualitative and quantitative evidence for healthcare policy-makers and managers? Healthcare Management FORUM Gestion des soins de santé, 27-31.

Online resources

Thematic analysis (TA) resource and information pages

The Person-Based Approach (PBA)



Qualitative Research in Psychology (Journal)

The Qualitative Report (TQR)include links to many online resources

1-    The Qualitative Report Guide to Qualitative Research Websites  

2-    The Qualitative Report Guide to Qualitative Research Textual Resources 

3-    Teaching qualitative research