Qualitative research in an age of austerity

Qualitative research in an age of austerity: Exploring the pitfalls and possibilities of ‘resource-lite' methods

25 October 2012, 11:00-17:00

Bookings for this event are now closed

Interviews are the dominant, and perhaps also the default, method of data collection in qualitative psychological research, especially face-to-face (semi-structured) interviews. Face-to-face interviewing can be expensive and time-consuming (cost of travel and transcription, and time to conduct and transcribe interviews), especially if the participant group is geographically dispersed. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to conduct interview research without research funding.

Interviews are also a particularly demanding method for student researchers - in terms of the time it takes to collect and transcribe an adequate (sized) data set and the demands that face-to-face interview places on students' rudimentary research skills. Furthermore, for students interested in researching sensitive issues or ‘hidden'/socially marginalised groups (often, to which they do not belong), researcher supervisors may have concerns about their capacity to conduct face-to-face interviews on sensitive issues and with marginalised/vulnerable groups (it is likely that ethics committees share these concerns). The proposed seminar will explore some alternatives to face-to-face interviewing as a method of qualitative data collection, particularly in the context of conducing ‘resource-lite research'; research which is constrained by time and/or (financial) resources - such as small-scale unfunded research projects, student projects and (funded) research projects where there are significant time pressures.

This seminar is not intended as an argument against using face-to-face interviews in qualitative research, but an argument for expanding the repertoire of methods of data collection within qualitative research.


Core content and psychological and methodological content of the seminar: The seminar will explore a range of ‘resource-lite' methods that enable researchers (and student-researchers) to conduct high quality qualitative research on participant's experiences, practices, views and opinions (usually the focus of face-to-face interview research), often without leaving the office. Thus, engaging with the issues involved in negotiating researcher time and resources, longitudinal studies, researching sensitive issues, geographical dispersion, hidden and/or hard to reach populations, and accessing a large sample. Each of the speaker(s) will discuss their experience of implementing a particular resource-lite method (either virtual or textual) and will reflect on the possibilities the method offers and its potential pitfalls for the qualitative psychological researcher.


“Brian rubs his nipple and then David Beckham appears in the smoke”: The joys and challenges of the story completion method
Victoria Clarke and Naomi Moller, Department of Psychology, UWE

Sex(y) bodies surveyed: Using qualitative surveys to research sensitive topics
Virginia Braun, Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland

Keeping up with the kids: A survival guide for online focus groups with young people
Fiona Fox, Qualitative Research Consultant, Research Design Service, University of Bath

Public places, private spaces: Using Skype as a research medium
Paul Hanna, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Brighton

Pearls and perils: Using the diary as a research tool
Penny Furness, Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University

Target audience

The event will be of interest to qualitative researchers at all levels and academics supervising qualitative student research.

Booking information


The early bird fees will expire midnight of 10th August 2012:

Early Bird Concession £17.50
Earl Bird QMiP Members £25.00
Early Bird BPS Members £30.00
Early Bird non-BPS Member £40.00

After 10 August 2012:

Concessions £24.50
QMiP members £35
BPS members £42
non-BPS member £56

Bookings for this event will close on Thursday 18th October 2012.

Prices include VAT.

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii (studying in the UK and not subject to income tax), Rule 21 (retired) members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.



UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre
University of the West of England
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
BS34 8QZ
United Kingdom

Thu, 25/10/2012 (All day)
Contact Information: 
Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section