ECRAG meeting summary

Summary from ECRAG meeting: May 22nd 2014


The May ECRAG meeting was very well attended dispelling the myth that qualitative research is the underdog to quantitative- apparently everyone wants a piece of it! We started the meeting off in true ECRAG style where the question of the month was; what is your dream holiday destination? You might have guessed at hot sun and sandy beaches but no, most of our ECRAGers dream of mountain peaks and skiing- anyone up for an ECRAG skiing trip?! But that’s not to say we didn’t also have a wide range of destinations from Sydney and Malaysian islands to the good old British seaside- maybe an ECRAG world tour is on the cards?

qualitative meeting

Antje Lindenmeyer led the meeting which was themed ‘Qualitative methods’. People in the room had a mix of qualitative experience and Antje tailored her talk to the needs of the group by giving a fantastic introduction to qualitative research for those with no experience while still managing to provide useful information for the more experienced. Here are a few key messages that emerged:

The concepts of qualitative research

–          Anything that moves is qualitative!

–          Not just interview/text based but can also incorporate thing like images (e.g. photo voice), observations (e.g. body language/ how people interact)

–          Looking for understanding rather than information e.g. how does someone feel about injecting insulin vs. how many people inject insulin

–          Data collection is done concurrently with analysis- you can change your methods and even modify the research question

–          Many different types of analysis but thematic analysis is the main building block

–          Findings are bound to the context i.e. not the ‘representativeness’ that quantitative research strives for. The reader  can make own conclusions about what is relevant

The book that will change your life as a qualitative researcher!

qualitative book

–          Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners.Clarke, V. and Braun, V. (2013)  London: Sage.

–          A very user friendly book with many examples from research

–          Includes a variety of methods/ themes

–          Easy on the eye- lots of boxes, icons and short pieces of text

–          Website contains additional material

–          Not currently available at the Uni library but Antje is working on that… watch this space

Message from Antje

1)      Those who are curious about saturation in qualitative research, please use the following link “Sample size and saturation in PhD studies using Qualitative interviews (Mason, 2010):

2)      There is a call for anyone taking an interest as a qualitative lead role for intercalated students for anyone with qualitative expertise and a research active job (e.g. research fellow, research associate). This will be a great CV builder as advertised by Professor Skelton.


Don’t forget that Qualitative Brown Bag lunches are held regularly and are a great way to discuss qualitative research or just hear qualitative researchers talk to get a better understanding. Details of these meetings are posted regularly on our blog:


Next ECRAG meeting:

For our 6th talk for the year George Dowswell will host a session on NIHR Research Design Services. This talk promises a useful insight into how the service can provide information on what help and guidance the service can offer. This will be very useful for learning about writing high quality research proposals and grant applications.

“What can the RDS do for you?”- Thursday 12th June, 2014 in Primary Care 12.30-1.30pm (room 226).


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