Using Datasets to Teach Qualitative Researchers

Categories: Datasets, Focus Series, Qualitative, Research, Research Skills, Students, Teaching, Uncategorised

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The MethodSpace focus for August is on teaching research methods. We will follow on in September, with a focus on mentoring, supervising, and guiding researchers. You can find the whole series here, including information about the September 12 webinar,”Nurturing the Researchers of Tomorrow.” Register now and find the time in your zone here.

Active, experiential methods are widely seen as the best way to prepare future researchers. Sometimes that means practicing interview or observation skills in classroom exercises, and other times that means going outside the classroom to conduct a research project. Another way to use active learning is through the use of archival data or datasets. Suggestions for using extant data or materials was mentioned in a previous post, Learning to be a Qualitative Researcher: Tips from the Literature. In this post I will share SAGE Research Methods (SRM) datasets for qualitative instruction. In future posts I will explore the same questions about teaching and learning quantitative methods, with related links to datasets for that purpose.

Types of SRM Datasets for Qualitative Researchers

When you think about a dataset, you might think about a database of statistics and numbers. But that is not what will be useful to qualitative researchers! Instead, you can find an almost A-Z collection of options on SAGE Research Methods:


  • Audio files
  • Case notes
  • Comics
  • Diary extracts
  • Documents
  • Drawings
  • Ethnographic field notes
  • Focus group transcripts
  • Interview transcripts
  • Music
  • Narratives
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Twitter and website posts
  • Videos
  • Vignettes
  • Zingers (just kidding!)

These datasets can serve a variety of teaching and learning purposes. Readers can compare and contrast methodologies and methods used to generate the data. Student and novice researchers can critique interview or focus group styles by studying transcripts, or consider ways to use audio, visual, or multimodal data. Readers can think about the roles of researchers, and expectations of participants. And student and novice researchers can practice data analysis with sample datasets.

Check out the SRM qualitative dataset options in this Reading List:

If you would like to access the SAGE datasets mentioned in these posts, explore SAGE Research Methods with a free trial. See A Primer on Getting the Most out of SAGE Research Methods for more about this online repository.

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