New methods meet old pedagogies in qualitative research

This blog post was compiled by Graham Gibbs ( )

Do you teach qualitative methods, text analysis, data mining or mixed methods at undergraduate (first degree) level?

The Internet is an integral part of our lives. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and others all create enormous quantities of data – texts, images and video – that social scientists are now beginning to analyse. But traditional methods of qualitative analysis that are used to do this and that are still taught at undergraduate level are not always up to the task. Fortunately, the development of software to assist in qualitative data analysis now includes functions that can complement standard approaches with techniques adapted from textual analysis and data mining.

The use of software in qualitative analysis is common in postgraduate training and many researchers are now using its new functions of word frequency counts and cluster analysis to complement their analyses. However, at undergraduate level there is so far little use of software in teaching, unlike the standard use of statistics programs in quantitative analysis.

The COUNT project is surveying the state of activity in qualitative research teachers’ use of these approaches and will identify examples of good practice. It will try to tackle one of the barriers to the development of teaching in research methods which is the lack of good resources and data sets by making available those in use by teachers who are ‘leading the field’.

Can you help? The questionnaire will take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete but it can be saved part way through if you want to complete it later.

The main focus of the project is undergraduate teaching in the UK, but we are also interested in responses from outside the UK.
This survey closes on Tuesday 30th April, 2013.
If you have any queries about this survey, please contact Graham Gibbs at

For further details of this project and others funded as part of the HEA Social Sciences strategic project see:

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