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Successful Qualitative Research

Successful Qualitative Research
A Practical Guide for Beginners

First Edition
Additional resources:

April 2013 | 400 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
*Shortlisted for the BPS Book Award 2014 in the Textbook Category*

*Winner of the 2014 Distinguished Publication Award (DPA) from the Association for Women in  Psychology (AWP)*

Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners is an accessible, practical textbook. It sidesteps detailed theoretical discussion in favor of providing a comprehensive overview of strategic tips and skills for starting and completing successful qualitative research.

Uniquely, the authors provide a "patterns framework" to qualitative data analysis in this book, also known as "thematic analysis." The authors walk you through a basic thematic approach, and compare and contrast this with other approaches. This discussion of commonalities, explaining why and when each method should be used, and in the context of looking at patterns, will provide you with complete confidence for your qualitative research journey.

    This textbook will be an essential textbook for undergraduates and postgraduates taking a course in qualitative research or using qualitative approaches in a research project.

    PART ONE: Successfully Getting Started in Qualitative Research
    Chapter One: Some Very Important Starting Information
    Chapter Two: 10 Fundamentals of Qualitative Research
    Chapter Three: Planning and Designing Qualitative Research
    PART TWO: Sucessfully Collecting Qualitative Data
    Chapter Four: Interactive Data Collection 1: Interviews
    Chapter Five: Interactive Data Collection 2: Focus Groups
    Chapter Six: Textual Data Collection: Surveys, Stories, Diaries and Secondary Sources
    PART THREE: Successfully analysing Qualitative Data
    Chapter Seven: Preparing Audio Data for Analysis: Transcription
    Chapter Eight: Moving Towards Analysis
    Chapter Nine: First Analytic Steps: Familiarization and Data Coding
    Chapter Ten: Identifying Patterns across Data
    Chapter Eleven: Analyzing and Interpreting Patterns Across Data
    PART FOUR: Successfully Completing Qualitative Research
    Chapter Twelve: Quality Criteria and Techniques for Qualitative Research
    Chapter Thirteen: Writing and Communicating Qualitative Research


    Companion Website
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    'Like water wings for the qualitative research beginner, Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners gracefully supports methodological novices until they learn to swim elegantly, on their own, in qualitative waters… As a teacher, researcher or a student, you will want to thank the gifted methodologists Braun and Clarke for making it all seem so easy'
    Michelle Fine
    The City University of New York, NY, USA

    'This is an admirably useful textbook that provides an uncommonly accessible, practical, and absorbing introduction for beginners to qualitative research'

    Eva Magnusson
    Umeå University, UMEÅ, Sweden

    'A clear, engaging and intelligent qualitative research guide which will greatly appeal to students new to this area. The authors should be commended for their lively style and attention to often hidden processes and practices involved in successful qualitative research'
    Brendan Gough
    Leeds Metropolitan University

    'This book provides an excellent introduction to qualitative research, combining in-depth explanation of the distinctive nature and goals of qualitative research methods with practical tips and helpful examples for beginners'

    Lucy Yardley
    University of Southampton

    'Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke present a clear and comprehensive road map for executing a successful qualitative study. They do so in a very engaging way that really brings the process to life for the reader. This book will be an essential read for anyone contemplating a qualitative research project'
    Guy Faulkner
    University of Toronto

    'This practical guide refreshingly demystifies the qualitative research process, relentlessly pushing an agenda for uncomplicated but high standards across the board and generously enabling anyone, no matter how inexperienced, to get on with it and do it well. It is the kind of guide that not only says how to do it but that actually shows how to do it, with a myriad of real, reproduced examples, extremely useful tables, boxes, chapter summaries, questions for discussion, exercises and lists of resources including references to a companion website with even more guidance and examples.'

    Edith Steffen
    Counselling Psychology Review

    Very easy to read and understand. Very good for beginners to qualitative research.

    Ms Martina Kennedy
    School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems , University College Dublin
    August 17, 2023

    An excellent well-laid out textbook reference in research methodology, highly recommendable to students and lecturers.

    Mrs Josephine D Morris
    Interdiscipline, Winchester University
    March 14, 2023

    An excellent book that clearly outlines the principles of qualitative research. An essential read for undergraduate students interested in qualitative research.

    Alison Owen
    Faculty of Health and Sciences, Staffordshire University
    October 13, 2022

    Clear, to the point, relevant to today's world.

    Dr Leslie-Jean Thornton
    Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State Univ-downtown
    December 21, 2022

    Added to reading list

    Dr Campbell Killick
    School of Sociology and Applied Social S, Ulster University
    March 30, 2022

    This excellent book is just what our second-year Psychology students need to complete a really thorough Qual assignment.

    Ms Rachel Lynn Phillips
    Psychology, Nottingham Trent University
    September 27, 2021

    Written in an accessible style. Key aspects and concepts clearly explained. Vey good range of topics covered

    Ms Geraldine McCusker
    Sch of Health, Psychology & Soc Care, Manchester Metropolitan University
    July 5, 2021

    Excellent text, that students love and that covers all elements of qualitative research. An excellent guide for students starting out on qualitative research. Have now ordered the latest edition

    Ms Noelle McAra
    Division of Psychology, Abertay University
    November 8, 2021
    Key features
    • Full of useful tips and strategies for successful qualitative work, for example considering the nervous student not just the beginner student.
    • Skills-based, utilising a range of pedagogical features to encourage you to apply particular techniques and learn from your experience.
    • The authors use the same dataset throughout - reproduced in full (with associated research materials) on the companion website - to help you make comparisons across different analytical approaches.
    • A comprehensive suite of student support materials, including practice exam questions, can be found online at

    Sample Materials & Chapters

    Chapter 1