Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis

Key information

Start date:
26 July 2023
Attendance dates:

26 July 2023

Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
Contact details:


This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of analysing qualitative data. The training will focus mainly on the analysis of transcripts from in-depth interviews, however the approaches discussed can be applied to other types of qualitative data including focus groups. The course is primarily designed for researchers with little or no experience of qualitative analysis. It will also be useful for more experienced researchers who have had little formal training or who wish to reflect on their practice. The course leader is an experienced social researcher who will draw on her own research as well as established practice within the social sciences.

The day includes sessions on different approaches to analysing qualitative data, the principles of ‘grounded theory’ and the constant comparison method, the process of coding data and identifying key themes, and the development of more conceptual ideas through analysis. These sessions will be interspersed with practical exercises relating to different stages of the analytical process. Other issues such as validity and generalisability in the context of qualitative analysis and the presentation of qualitative research findings will be discussed during the day. The course leader will be happy to address specific queries raised by course participants either during the sessions or in the breaks.

Please note: this course does not cover the use of computer software programmes to assist qualitative data analysis. See events run by the CAQDAS networking project at the University of Surrey for training on specific CAQDAS packages.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the nature of qualitative data and different approaches to qualitative analysis
  • To be able to develop and apply a coding system to data, both to produce an index and to support analytical development
  • To be able to reflect on what constitutes good practice and validity/trust-worthiness in qualitative data analysis
  • To be able to apply the principles discussed in the sessions to the practical analysis of provided examples of qualitative data
  • To understand ethical aspects of qualitative data analysis.

Course content

  • The nature of qualitative data
  • Different approaches to analysing qualitative data
  • Applying the principles of grounded theory
  • Developing codes and moving between levels of code
  • Working with coded segments of data to develop analysis
  • Practical exercises in pairs and small groups
  • Framework analysis and ‘validity’ in qualitative analysis.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Presentations
  • Discussions
  • Guided exercises
  • Independent group exercise.

Course leader

Sarah Earthy

Senior Lecturer in Health & Social Care, University of Winchester

Sarah Earthy has over 20 years’ experience in social research and teaching social research methods. Her research interests are in the sociology of health and illness, recovery from illness and injury, community, and social exclusion and disadvantage.

Entry requirements

No prior knowledge is necessary.

Fees and funding

Price per person:




Education and charitable sector applicants


Government and commercial sector applicants

What these fees include

Course materials, refreshments, lunch and parking.

How to apply

Applications will be through our online store.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.

Cancellation policy

You have 14 days, starting with the day after the contract is entered into, during which you may cancel and get a full refund of your course fees, unless the course has already taken place (whether you have attended or not). To do so, please email within this 14 day period, confirming that you are cancelling the contract. After this "cooling off" period, the following policy applies:

  • Up to 10 working days before the course: refund of fee - minus £20 admin fee
  • Up to 5 working days before the course: half refund of fee - minus £20 admin fee
  • Under 5 working days before the course: no refund.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Nita Walker Administrative Officer, Short Courses

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH