Considering Qualitative Approaches That May Benefit from Using Naturally Occurring Data

  • Nikki Kiyimba
  • Jessica Nina Lester
  • Michelle O’Reilly


It is recognised in the literature that some qualitative approaches favour naturally occurring data over researcher-generated, resulting in some healthy debates within the qualitative community. This is not to dismiss the value of researcher-generated methods, as many qualitative researchers see the value of these methods for addressing certain types of questions. Rather, the types of research questions asked and developed by some perspectives are better addressed by collecting naturally occurring data, and therefore this approach to data collection is favoured. In this chapter, we outline the approaches that favour this type of data, and also illustrate how it can be beneficial for a range of different qualitative perspectives that may typically use researcher-generated approaches. The chapter contains practical advice, as well as a general overview of the common qualitative perspectives, in relation to the use of naturally occurring data.


Qualitative analysis Conversation analysis Discourse analysis Thematic analysis Narrative Ethnography Grounded theory IPA 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikki Kiyimba
    • 1
  • Jessica Nina Lester
    • 2
  • Michelle O’Reilly
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of ChesterChesterUK
  2. 2.School of EducationIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.The Greenwood Institute of Child HealthUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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