Qualitative Methods and Analysis

  • Peter WilliamsEmail author
  • Susan Cutler


The main qualitative research methods are discussed and compared. Data analysis, writing up results, and presenting findings are covered. The principal qualitative approaches explored in this chapter are interviews and qualitative questionnaires. These methods seek meanings, understandings and interpretations from individuals speaking directly to a researcher. Also discussed are case studies, action research, observation, content analysis and systematic reviews. A case study is a multi-method approach used when a specific instance or situation is chosen to investigate a general phenomenon. In action research, researchers and participants work together. In both cases, and in particular in action research, the goal is to improve a particular situation or service. Part of both of the latter methods may involve observations, where researchers look at what is taking place ‘live’ in situ. They may also undertake a content analysis, which is a systematic analysis of records, documents, and field notes. Removed completely from a fieldwork setting, the final method discussed in this chapter is the systematic review. This aims to rigorously evaluate and synthesise findings of prior primary research.


Qualitative methods PICO Interviews Observation Data analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.School of Health and Social CareTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK

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