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Doing Qualitative Research

Doing Qualitative Research

Fifth Edition
  • David Silverman - Visiting Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney and King’s College, London, Emeritus Professor at Goldsmiths’ College, Visiting Professor Emeritus at Leeds University Business School and Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology
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November 2017 | 592 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Accessible, practical, and packed with indispensable advice, this bestselling textbook is the perfect hands-on guide for any student embarking on their own research.  With expert advice from the author and real-life experiences from students, this book shows you how to go from the ideas of research to the practicalities of designing, conducting, and writing about your research yourself.

What’s new in this edition:

·         Fully interactive digital field guide including video tutorials and real data to practice with

·         An improved structure that takes you step-by-step form start to finish 

·         An overview and practical guidance on mixed methods and working with different kinds of data

The free digital field guide secures its place as the ‘take this everywhere’ textbook that supports students both in the classroom and in the field providing access via tablet/phone/laptop for easy access to:

    - A readymade bibliography of qualitative research contained in SAGE journal articles curated by the author, to enrich reading and offer top research articles to cite;

    - Definitions to explain key concepts and methods to deepen understanding of what is discussed in the text;

    - David's quick, practical video tips and instructional guidance for when students are in the field (or preparing to go into it). David steps in as an instant supervisor to give encouragement and avoid common pitfalls;

    - A treasure chest of online resources and weblinks chosen by David offering expert guidance on how to do research and do it better. These include research websites and resources as well as insider guides from trusted experts, links to organizations/software, online text/articles;

    - Datasets provide students with research data on which to practice organizing, analysing, and drawing conclusions;

    -'Cheat sheets' and reflective trackers students can use to monitor their progress and plan and manage projects.

*Interactivity only available through Vitalsource eBook included as part of paperback product (ISBN 9781526441614).
Access not guaranteed on second-hand copies (as access code may have previously been redeemed).

Part One: Introduction
Chapter 1: How To Use This Book
Chapter 2: What You Can (and Can’t) Do with Qualitative Research
Why Do Researchers Use Qualitative Methods?

Are Qualitative Methods Always Appropriate?

Should You Use Qualitative Methods?

Chapter 3: Focusing a Research Project
Moira’s Research Diary

Sally’s Research Diary

Simon’s Research Diary

Part Two: Starting Out and Project Foundations
Chapter 4: Ethical Research
The Standards of Ethical Research

Why Ethics Matter for Your Research

Ethical Guidelines in Practice

Complex Ethical Issues

Research Governance

Managing Unfolding Ethical Demands

Chapter 5: What Counts as ‘Originality’?

Being a Professional

Independent Critical Thought

Chapter 6: Research Design



The Internet

Audio Data

Visual Data

Mixed Methods

Chapter 7: Using Theories
How Theoretical Models Shape Research

The Different Languages of Qualitative Research

Theories, Models and Hypotheses


Chapter 8: Formulating a Research Question


Some Cautions

Chapter 9: Choosing a Methodology
Qualitative or Quantitative?

Your Research Strategy

Choosing a Methodology: a Case Study

Naturally Occurring Data?

Mixed Methods?

Chapter 10: Writing a Research Proposal
Aim for Crystal Clarity

Plan Before You Write

Be Persuasive

Be Practical

Make Broader Links

A Caution: Misunderstanding Qualitative Research?

Part Three: Getting Support
Making Good Use of Your Supervisor
Supervision Horror Stories

Student and Supervisor Expectations

The Early Stages

The Later Stages

Standards of Good Practice

Chapter 12: Getting Feedback


The Art of Presenting Research

Feedback from the People You Study

Part Four: Collecting and Analysing Data
Chapter 13: How many cases do you need?
What is a case study?

The Quantitative Model of Generalization

The Rationale of Case Study Design

Case study Research in Practice

Chapter 14: Collecting Your Data
Collecting Interview Data

Collecting Focus Group Data

Collecting Ethnographic Data

Collecting Internet Data

Chapter 15: Developing Data Analysis
Kick-Starting Data Analysis

A Case Study




Visual Data

Chapter 16: Using Computers to Analyse Qualitative Data
A note on learning to use QDA software

What QDA software can do for you

Advantages of QDA software

Text analytics

Chapter 17: Quality in Qualitative Research


Chapter 18: Evaluating Qualitative Research
Two Guides for Evaluating Research

Four Quality Criteria

Applying Quality Criteria

Four Quality Issues Revisited

Chapter 19: Effective Qualitative Research
Keep It Simple

Do Not Assume That We Are Only Concerned with Subjective Experience

Take Advantage of Using Qualitative Data

Avoid Drowning in Data

Avoid Journalism

Part Five: Writing Up Your Research
Chapter 20: Audiences
The Policy-Making Audience

The Practitioner Audience

The Lay Audience

Chapter 21: The First Few Pages
The Title

The Abstract


The Table of Contents

Chapter 22: The Literature Review Chapter
Recording Your Reading

Writing your Literature Review

Practical Questions


Do You Need a Literature Review Chapter?

Chapter 23: The Methodology Chapter
What Should the Methodology Chapter Contain?

A Natural History Chapter?

Chapter 24: The Data Chapters
The Macrostructure

The Microstructure

Tightening Up

Chapter 25: The Concluding Chapter

The Concluding Chapter as Mutual Stimulation

What Exactly Should Your Concluding Chapter Contain?

Confessions and Trumpets

Theorizing as Thinking Through Data

Writing for Audiences

Why Your Concluding Chapter can be Fun

Part Six: The Aftermath
Chapter 26: Surviving an Oral Examination
Viva Horror Stories

Preparing for Your Oral

Doing the Oral


Revising Your Thesis after the Oral

A Case Study

Chapter 27: Getting Published
The Backstage Politics of Publishing

Strategic Choices
What Journals are Looking For

Reviewers’ Comments

How to Write a Short Journal Article


Whether you are a scared neophyte research student or a more experienced qualitative researcher this is an excellent and invaluable and most importantly accessible text that will open the lid of a treasure box of resources. You need this book.

Thérèse A.G. Lewis
Senior Lecturer in Research Methodology, Northumbria University

In principle it is impossible to write a method book that will be valid forever. In practice, David Silverman did just that. Adjustments in new editions only fine-tune the text that contains everything that a qualitative researcher needs to know. 

Barbara Czarniawska
Senior Professor of Management Studies, University of Gothenburg

This is an excellent textbook that gives students very practical advice of how to conduct qualitative analysis in a thoughtful way. Silverman's vast experience within qualitative methods gives the text a clarity and overview that one can only admire. 

Nanna Mik-Meyer
Organization, Copenhagen Business School

An essential guide for anyone new to or brushing up on qualitative methodology. This clear, student-centered guide offers first person insights and true-to-life stories that prepare readers for all of the surprises that await researchers in the field. From the ins and outs of designing a study to writing up and publishing analysis (and much more), this book is an accessible, soup-to-nuts account of a complex set of methods we call qualitative research.

Katie Headrick Taylor
College of Education, University of Washington

David Silverman has updated this now classic text on qualitative research methods. The resulting 5th edition has further simplified the format and improved the accessibliity to students from a wide range of experience and knowledge of qualitative research methods. Over the many years we have used this text on our postgraduate methods courses, students have found it to be comprehensive and useful whatever stage of their degree, and particularly helpful for those students with little prior knowledge of qualitative research. Even for experienced researchers Silverman provides an invaluable handbook for easy reference.

Dr Amanda Bingley
Institute of Health Research, Lancaster University
June 20, 2018