Experienced qualitative researchers’ views on teaching students qualitative research design

Emily Castell*, Shannon Muir, Lynne D Roberts, Peter J Allen, Mortaza Rezae, Aneesh Krishna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The increasing prominence of qualitative inquiry in psychological research has been accompanied by reflection on teaching and learning practices within undergraduate and postgraduate psychology courses. To date, there is limited empirical understanding of how experienced qualitative researchers approach teaching students about qualitative research design. The present study draws on interviews with qualitative researchers (N = 12) from multiple disciplines, occupying various positions within academia. Using thematic analysis, seven themes were developed, under the superordinate theme present qualitative research as a legitimate approach to enquiry. The themes illuminate practical pedagogical implications for teaching qualitative research, including introducing qualitative research in bite-sized chunks and initiating students to qualitative inquiry through foundational methods. The findings contextualise the teaching of qualitative methods as a site of multiple tensions, for example, balancing pragmatism and idealism, and providing structure to students while enabling flexibility. Educators and supervisors of qualitative research navigate these tensions in their teaching practice to provide students with what they see as the best possible learning experiences. We call for further research to build a profile of evidence-based pedagogical practice for teaching qualitative research, while also acknowledging the fluidity needed to embrace changing epistemologies, methodologies, methods, and data sources.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Early online date25 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis.


  • teaching qualitative research
  • expert views
  • pedagogy
  • research design


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