Maxwell's book has been very helpful to my students to make a conceptual design for their research. They were asked to read the first 3 chapters carefully and make the Chapter 2 assignment. Some students had never thought about their qualitative research in this way. I adopted the book as reference, however I would have made it essential to the course if the price were more reasonable. I think 26 pounds would be acceptable.Maxwell's book gives a common-sense approach to designing social research. I used it to provide a framework for integrating discourse analysis in social research.
Another impetus has been the ongoing development of qualitative research1, with a flourishing of new approaches, including arts-based approaches, to how it is conducted and presented. I haven't attempted to deal comprehensively with these, which would have ballooned the book well past what I felt was an appropriate length, as well as taking it beyond an introductory level. If you want to investigate these developments, the SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research (Given, 2008), the SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, 4th edition (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011) and the journal Qualitative Inquiry are good places to start. I've tried to indicate, in Chapters 1 and 3, how I see my approach to design as compatible with some of these developments, in particular with aspects of postmodernism and with the approach known as bricolage, and I have substantially rewritten and expanded my discussion of research paradigms, in Chapter 2.
This position is grounded in my third impetus for revising this book: my increasing awareness of how my own perspective on qualitative research has been informed by a philosophical realism about the things we study. I have developed this perspective at length in my book A Realist Approach for Qualitative Research (2011), arguing that the "critical realist" position I have taken is not only compatible with most qualitative researchers' actual practices, but can be valuable in helping researchers with some difficult theoretical, methodological, and political issues that they face. However, I offer this as a useful perspective among other perspectives, not as the single correct paradigm for qualitative research. As the writing teacher Peter Elbow (1973, 2006) argued, it is important to play both the "believing game" and the "doubting game" with any theory or position you encounter, trying to see both its advantages and its distortions or blind spots. For this reason, I want the present book to be of practical value to students and researchers who hold a variety of positions on these issues. The model of qualitative research design that I develop here is compatible with a range of philosophical perspectives, and I believe it is broadly applicable to most qualitative research.
1. Some qualitative practitioners prefer the term "inquiry" to "research," seeing the latter as too closely associated with a quantitative or positivist approach. I agree with their concerns (see Maxwell, 2004a, b), and I understand that some types of qualitative inquiry are more humanistic than scientific, but I prefer to argue for a broader definition of "research" that includes a range of qualitative approaches.
Interactive Qualitative Analysis: A Systems Method for Qualitative Research aims to help students unscramble the mysteries of qualitative data collection, coding, and analysis by showing how to use a systematic, qualitative technique: interactive qualitative analysis. The authors synthesize ideas from grounded theory, path and factor analysis, quality management theory, Foucauldian concepts of power and knowledge, and systems theory. A dialectical revision of Guba and Lincoln's theory of rigor is offered which, combined with systems theory, offers insights into the meaning of reliability and validity in qualitative research.
Brinkmann, S. & Kvale, S. (2008). Ethics in qualitative psychological research. In: Willig, C. & Stainton-Rogers, W. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology. New Delhi: Sage, pp. 263-279
Fontana, Andrea & Frey, James H. (2000). The interview: From structured questions to negotiated text. In Norman K. Denzin & Yvonne S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp.645- 672). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
The Framework Method is becoming an increasingly popular approach to the management and analysis of qualitative data in health research. However, there is confusion about its potential application and limitations.
Used effectively, with the leadership of an experienced qualitative researcher, the Framework Method is a systematic and flexible approach to analysing qualitative data and is appropriate for use in research teams even where not all members have previous experience of conducting qualitative research.
The Framework Method for the management and analysis of qualitative data has been used since the 1980s . The method originated in large-scale social policy research but is becoming an increasingly popular approach in medical and health research; however, there is some confusion about its potential application and limitations. In this article we discuss when it is appropriate to use the Framework Method and how it compares to other qualitative analysis methods. In particular, we explore how it can be used in multi-disciplinary health research teams. Multi-disciplinary and mixed methods studies are becoming increasingly commonplace in applied health research. As well as disciplines familiar with qualitative research, such as nursing, psychology and sociology, teams often include epidemiologists, health economists, management scientists and others. Furthermore, applied health research often has clinical representation and, increasingly, patient and public involvement . We argue that while leadership is undoubtedly required from an experienced qualitative methodologist, non-specialists from the wider team can and should be involved in the analysis process. We then present a step-by-step guide to the application of the Framework Method, illustrated using a worked example (See Additional File 1) from a published study  to illustrate the main stages of the process. Technical terms are included in the glossary (below). Finally, we discuss the strengths and limitations of the approach.
There are a number of approaches to qualitative data analysis, including those that pay close attention to language and how it is being used in social interaction such as discourse analysis  and ethnomethodology ; those that are concerned with experience, meaning and language such as phenomenology [17, 18] and narrative methods ; and those that seek to develop theory derived from data through a set of procedures and interconnected stages such as Grounded Theory [20, 21]. Many of these approaches are associated with specific disciplines and are underpinned by philosophical ideas which shape the process of analysis . The Framework Method, however, is not aligned with a particular epistemological, philosophical, or theoretical approach. Rather it is a flexible tool that can be adapted for use with many qualitative approaches that aim to generate themes.
As any form of qualitative or quantitative analysis is not a purely technical process, but influenced by the characteristics of the researchers and their disciplinary paradigms, critical reflection throughout the research process is paramount, including in the design of the study, the construction or collection of data, and the analysis. All members of the team should keep a research diary, where they record reflexive notes, impressions of the data and thoughts about analysis throughout the process. Experienced qualitative researchers become more skilled at sifting through data and analysing it in a rigorous and reflexive way. They cannot be too attached to certainty, but must remain flexible and adaptive throughout the research in order to generate rich and nuanced findings that embrace and explain the complexity of real social life and can be applied to complex social issues. It is important to remember when using the Framework Method that, unlike quantitative research where data collection and data analysis are strictly sequential and mutually exclusive stages of the research process, in qualitative analysis there is, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the project, ongoing interplay between data collection, analysis, and theory development. For example, new ideas or insights from participants may suggest potentially fruitful lines of enquiry, or close analysis might reveal subtle inconsistencies in an account which require further exploration.
Like all qualitative analysis methods, the Framework Method is time consuming and resource-intensive. When involving multiple stakeholders and disciplines in the analysis and interpretation of the data, as is good practice in applied health research, the time needed is extended. This time needs to be factored into the project proposal at the pre-funding stage.
While the Framework Method is amenable to the participation of non-experts in data analysis, it is critical to the successful use of the method that an experienced qualitative researcher leads the project (even if the overall lead for a large mixed methods study is a different person). The qualitative lead would ideally be joined by other researchers with at least some prior training in or experience of qualitative analysis. The responsibilities of the lead qualitative researcher are: to contribute to study design, project timelines and resource planning; to mentor junior qualitative researchers; to train clinical, lay and other (non-qualitative) academics to contribute as appropriate to the analysis process; to facilitate analysis meetings in a way that encourages critical and reflexive engagement with the data and other team members; and finally to lead the write-up of the study.
Acceptance of the complexity of real life health systems and the existence of multiple perspectives on health issues is necessary to produce high quality qualitative research. If done well, qualitative studies can shed explanatory and predictive light on important phenomena, relate constructively to quantitative parts of a larger study, and contribute to the improvement of health services and development of health policy. The Framework Method, when selected and implemented appropriately, can be a suitable tool for achieving these aims through producing credible and relevant findings. 2b1af7f3a8