Planning your qualitative research journey: key skills, practices and considerations

Key information

Start date:
10 October 2023
Attendance dates:

10, 11 October 2023

Time commitment:
2 days, 11am – 3.30pm
Sociology Department, Elizabeth Fry Building (AD), Room 40 & 46
Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
Contact details:


This face-to-face workshop travels the qualitative research journey from start to finish, with practical advice and guidance for new qualitative researchers, and hands-on practice with the qualitative software program Quirkos as an example tool. Over two days, you'll learn from experts and your peers in engaging and interactive sessions to help you master your qualitative research project.

Participants will receive a complimentary 3 month license to Quirkos Cloud and a 20% discount for the automated transcription service.

Participants are encouraged to bring qualitative materials related to their projects along to work with during the workshop. We will also provide sample materials to experiment with and practice hands-on tasks.

Tickets include the in-person training at the University of Surrey, refreshments and course materials. You'll need to find your own accommodation (we can send recommendations) and there is an optional dinner (at own cost) on the first evening.

Have a colleague or friend that would be interested as well? We are encouraging collaborators to attend and learn together, so we are also offering a discounted rate for two tickets!

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Plan a qualitative research project;
  • Develop appropriate research questions;
  • Focus a literature review to ensure it is efficient and effective;
  • Understand qualitative methodologies and their underlying assumptions;
  • Make appropriate choices around data collection and analytic methods to meet research objectives
  • Use Quirkos to manage and analyse all qualitative materials in a project; including literature, primary and secondary data, and researcher notes.

Course content

Day 1

We begin discussing qualitative research design, the role of planning and developing research questions within methodological contexts. We move on to consider reviewing literature as a form of qualitative data analysis and experiment with different review methods through the use of software tools. We then consider the range of data collection methods, from working with existing qualitative materials (including online and archival data) and ways of generating qualitative materials for your project (e.g. via interviews, observations, focus-group discussions etc). This includes generating topic guides and methods of transcription (including recent advances in automated transcription).

Day 2

We consider the range of qualitative data analysis methods, grounding them in the methodological contexts discussed on Day 1. We put inductive, deductive and combined approaches to qualitative coding into practice and consider the role of memo-ing in interpretive processes. We cover data organisation and management and how demographic and other features in data can be captured. We then pull these building blocks together to explore patterns and relationships within qualitative data and how to write-up, present and share findings.

Throughout the two days we interweave hands-on exercises using qualitative software tools to bring aspects of the qualitative research journey into focus and to reflect on the relationship between strategies (what we plan to do) and tactics (how we plan to do it). For this workshop we use the software Quirkos, but the principles and skills learnt are transferable to doing qualitative research using pen-and-paper methods or other qualitative software programs. Framed by the qualitative research journey, we focus on key skills through an in-depth combination of discussion, demonstration and hands-on practical exercises, with signposting to supplementary resources to augment the topics covered and extend learning.

Learning and teaching methods

Presentations, demonstrations, guided hands-on exercises, independent hands-on work.



Course leaders

Christina Silver profile image

Dr Christina Silver

Associate Professor (Teaching), Director of CAQDAS Networking Project

Dr Sarah Bulloch

Teaching Fellow

Dr Daniel Turner


Reading list

There is no required pre-course reading. However, the following might be helpful resources with your further work with NVivo:

  • Silver, C., & Lewins, A. (2014). Using software in qualitative research: A step-by-step guide (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Entry requirements

No prior knowledge is necessary.

Recognition of prior learning

This course is for postgraduate students and early career researchers working in any discipline or sector who are new to qualitative research or need to develop their skills. You may be embarking on a research degree and planning your first qualitative study, or perhaps you’ve got experience with doing qualitative research and you want to refresh your skills or explore how qualitative software like Quirkos can help.

Fees and funding

Price per person:

£150 (buy one get one half price)



Education and charitable sector applicants


Government and commercial sector applicants

What these fees include

  • Handout of slides
  • Post-course email with links to further resources
  • Tea and coffee refreshments
  • Lunch voucher for on campus cafeteria.

How to apply

Apply via Eventbrite

Apply now

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.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

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