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Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession

WD205 - Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis

Instructor Details

Instructor Photo

Marie-Hélène Paré

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Instructor Bio

Marie-Hélène Paré is an eLearning consultant who lectures in programme evaluation in the Master in Health Social Work at the Open University of Catalonia, and a qualitative data analysis consultant. She was educated in Quebec, Beirut and Oxford, where she read social work.

A clinician by training, Marie-Hélène worked for several years in psychosocial care with survivors of war rape and war trauma in humanitarian emergencies for MSF, MDM and UNRWA in war-torn countries. She moved to academia to research community participation in mental health and psychosocial support and research in humanitarian emergencies, which she studies using mixed methods.

Marie-Hélène has lectured in qualitative data analysis in more than forty universities and research centres worldwide, including universities in Iran and Qatar. Since 2009 she has been an instructor for the annual courses on qualitative data analysis at the ECPR Methods School, and she teaches similar courses at the IPSA-NUS Summer School at the National University of Singapore.


Course Dates and Times

Monday 6 to Friday 10 March 2017
Generally classes are either 09:00-12:30 or 14:00-17:30
15 hours over 5 days

Prerequisite Knowledge


Methodological requirements

This course requires solid understanding of the philosophy and practices underlying post-positivist methods to analyse qualitative data. Previous experience in analysing one's qualitative data is necessary including coding and developing a coding scheme, seeking patterns across themes and cases, formalising associations in propositions or falsifying hypotheses against empirical material, representing findings in graphic displays, and recording the analytic process in memos. If you have done all the above, you are ready to take this course. Please note that merely identifying themes in qualitative data and reporting these using quotes is no analysis, and critically falls below the methodological requirements of this course. If you don’t meet the above requirements, I recommend you enrol to an introductory course on qualitative analysis or diligently read the prerequisite texts at the end of this outline.


This course uses NVivo 11 Pro for Windows

Software requirements

You must be an advanced NVivo user to follow the course. Knowledge of how to create nodes, relationship nodes, classifications, and sets; work with framework matrix; run text, coding, and matrix queries; use see also links and annotations, and generate maps is required. The course WA113 Introduction to NVivo for Qualitative Data Analysis that runs before this course provides basic exposure and introductory knowledge to anyone who has not used NVivo before.

This course is taught with NVivo 11 Pro for Windows. You must bring your laptop and run this version of NVivo or, alternatively, run NVivo 11 Plus. The 14-day free trial can be downloaded here. This course is unsuitable for NVivo 11 for Mac as this version is incomplete compared to Windows. You can run NVivo 11 Pro for Windows on a Mac using Apple Boot Camp or Parallels if, and only, your Mac meets the system requirements here. See section 9 Software and Hardware requirements below for software installation instructions.


Methodological prerequisites

This course requires solid understanding of the philosophy and practices underlying post-positivist methods to analyse qualitative data. Previous experience in analysing one's qualitative data is necessary including coding and developing a coding scheme, seeking patterns across themes and cases, formalising associations in propositions or falsifying hypotheses against empirical material, representing findings in graphic displays, and recording the analytic process in memos. If you don’t meet the above requirements and still want to enrol to the course, you must read the following texts to follow the course satisfactorily.

Foundations of QDA

  • Blaikie, N. W. H. (2010). Research Questions and Purposes (chapter 3 pp. 56-78). Designing social research (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Gibson, W. J., & Brown, A. (2009). Introduction to qualitative data: analysis in context (chapter 1 pp. 1-14). Working with Qualitative Data. London: Sage.
  • Spencer, L., Ritchie, J., O'Connor, W., & Barnard, M. (2014). Analysis: Principles and Processes (chapter 10 pp. 269-293). In C. Ritchie, J. Lewis, C. M. N. Nicholls & R. Ormston (Eds.). Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. London: Sage.

Coding qualitative data

  • Coffey, A., & Atkinson, P. (1996). Concepts and Coding (Chapter 2 pp.26-45). Making Sense of Qualitative Data. Thousand Oaks: Sage
  • Saldaña, J. (2009). Writing Analytic Memos (Chapter 2). The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers (pp. 32-44). London: Sage
  • Tesch, R. (1990). The Mechanics of Interpretational Qualitative Analysis (Chapter 10 pp.113-134). Qualitative Research: Analysis Types and Software Tools. New York: Falmer Press

Seeking patterns across data

  • Bazeley, P. (2013). Comparative analyses as a means of furthering analysis (chapter 9 pp. 254-281). Qualitative Data Analysis: Practical strategies. London: Sage.
  • Bazeley, P. (2013). Relational analysis (chapter 10 pp. 282-316). Idem
  • Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Making Good Sense: Drawing and Verifying Conclusions (Chapter 10, pp. 245-262). Idem.

Reporting qualitative findings

  • Bazeley, P. (2009). Analysing Qualitative Data: More Than Identifying Themes. Malaysian Journal of Qualitative Research, 2(2), 6-22. Available here
  • Bazeley, P. (2013). it because? Developing explanatory models and theories (chapter 11 pp. 358-370). Qualitative Data Analysis: Practical strategies. London: Sage.
  • Bernard, H. R., & Ryan, G. W. (2010). Conceptual Models (chapter 6 pp. 121-142). Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systemic Approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Short Outline

This course provides participants with advanced understanding and applied skills in conducting qualitative content analysis (QCA), thematic analysis (TA), cross-case analysis (CCA) and grounded theory (GT) using NVivo. The course addresses the gap both in the literature and in scholarship training on how to conduct the four above methods from the stage of data coding to presenting findings in a CAQDAS environment. Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to describe the aim and specificities of each method, explain why each method is suitable to answer specific research questions, and assess the quality of studies of each method by means of critical appraisal. Being an advanced course, participants should demonstrate solid understanding of the philosophy, practices and outcomes underlying post-positivist methods to analyse qualitative data. Participants must be advanced NVivo 10 users. NVivo functionalities will not be taught in class.

Note to prospective participants: The four methods which this course is based on have been extensively used across the social sciences, but much less in political science. Accordingly, the teaching and appraisal study examples are drawn from disciplines such as psychology, education, management, sociology, public health, nursing, and human geography. Participants wishing to learn the application of the four methods solely in the context of political science should look for an alternative course to avoid disappointment.

Printable course outline

Long Course Outline

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for participants who wish to acquire methodological expertise in qualitative data analysis generally and, more specifically, widen their understanding and applied skills in conducting QCA, TA, CCA and GT in NVivo. The course will benefit to participants who plan to conduct one of the above method in their PhD or postdoctoral research, and to those wanting to generally broaden their area of methodological expertise in qualitative research. The course responds well to participants that have collected their data and want to apply the methods’ coding and analytic procedures on their dataset as well as those who don’t have data yet. For the latter, sample data will be provided. 


Contribution of this course

Amongst the methods available to analyse qualitative data qualitatively, the four methods which this course is based on have been widely used across the social sciences. Their procedures to carry out analysis are straightforward and this makes the analytic journey transparent, traceable, and auditable on the part of the researcher. Each method is unique in its own right in that it suits a particular type of research questions, responds to specific objectives, requires a distinct sampling strategy, implements specific coding procedures, and generates tailored findings.  The course also sheds light on some of the malpractices and misrepresentations that the four methods suffer in the qualitative literature both as a result of the lack of standardised training in qualitative analysis and researchers’ sloppy analytic practices and obscured reporting. To this end, the course’s daily assignment involve that participants appraise the quality of studies that used each method in the light of the content seen.  The course thus promotes the development of critical skills in assessing other researchers' work as well as self-awareness to accurately report one's analysis.


Learning objectives

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the aim, objectives, and expected outcomes of QCA, TA, CCA and GT
  2. Demonstrate how each method suits a given research design
  3. Implement each method’s analytic procedures in NVivo
  4. Generate graphic displays that match each method’s findings
  5. Appraise the quality of studies that used the four methods
  6. Propose situations where methods integration is feasible


Day 1 Qualitative content analysis (Schreier, 2012): Day 1 opens with qualitative content analysis as proposed by Schreier (2012). Qualitative content analysis is a method that is particularly suited for studies that aim to explore and then describe the manifest and latent meaning of categories in text, multimedia, pictures, and social media data. In the first part of the class, we review the methodological tenets that distinguish the quantitative from the qualitative approach to content analysis and proceed with looking at sampling requirements, coding units vs unit of analysis, and the building of a coding frame where categories are organised. This leads us to conduct the initial phase of data coding and conduct a preliminary reliability check to assess the categories adequacy to capture meaning in the data. In the second part of the class, we move to NVivo where we aggregate categories in sets and cross-tabulate them in the search of coding co-occurrence. We display the results in models where we use both qualitative and quantitative indicators to show the coding occurrence across categories.


Day 2 Thematic analysis (Boyatzis, 1998): Thematic analysis is indisputably a popular method used by qualitative researchers in the social sciences. However, when looking at the different approaches to thematic analysis, Boyatzis' approach is one of the very few that has formalised its procedures in a series of clearly-defined stages known as seeing and encoding themes, codes development, and scoring / clustering of themes. We open the class by looking at the concepts of pattern recognition and labelling consistency which are fundamental in Boyatzis’ understanding of how a theme is first seen, recognised, and then consistently ascribed the same meaning by the researcher. We then review the different ways that codes may be generated using theory-driven, research-driven, data-driven, or an hybrid-driven approach. In the second part of the class, we move to NVivo where we cross-tabulate codes in matrices to find out where coding across themes overlaps. Instances of coding co-occurrence are examined and conceptual associations are formalised in relationship nodes, NVivo's unique feature to put forward propositions, and formulate / falsify hypotheses. Theoretical sets are created as second level constructs and the patterns identified are displayed in the model.


Day 3 Cross-case analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994): Amongst the different schools of case study research, the strategies proposed by Miles and Huberman for within- and cross-case analysis have had a tremendous impact in the way qualitative researchers examine similarities and differences across cases, so to make generalisable claims and promoting theoretical elaboration. The first part of the class centres on the first stage of cross-case analysis, that is, a description of what is going on in each case and explanations about why the phenomenon occurs the way it does. We then move on with identifying the overall pattern that gives explanation to the overall phenomenon and we formulate propositions about what could happened if similar circumstances would be met elsewhere. We reproduce these stages in NVivo using matrix queries, memos, see also links, relationship nodes and the model. In the second half of the class, we apply some of the strategies to describe the similarities and differences across cases. Finally, we examine the conditions under which a phenomenon may be generalised using NVivo's framework matrix.


Day 4 Grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998): Grounded theory is often claimed to be the method of choice by many qualitative researchers when conducting qualitative analysis. However, under scrutiny, only a scarce amount of studies actually implement the tenets proposed by the different schools of GT. The malpractice of labelling a study "a grounded theory" to legitimise one’s work while none of the methodology's tenets have been implemented, and the negative impact that this malpractice has had on the GT representation in academia, opens the first part of the class. We then locate both epistemologically and philosophically the origins of grounded theory as it was initially conceived by Glaser and Strauss in 1967, and look at the methodological developments of what was coined the postpositivist school of GT by Strauss & Corbin. In NVivo we examine the association between open coding and theoretical sampling in the generation of categories until saturation is reached. In the second part of the class, the categories of axial coding are applied onto the data and patterns of relationships between categories are identified. Emerging propositions are sought using matrix queries and those showing depth and width across respondent groups are contrasted with group queries. We conclude the class with the phase of selective coding, where a core category is identified and theoretical hypotheses are formalised using relationship nodes.


Day 5 Integration & quality appraisal: Day 5 addresses the similarities, differences, and possibilities for methods integration and proposes some tools to assess the quality of qualitative analysis. The class opens with a comparative overview of the similarities and differences of the four methods along the epistemological spectrum. This overview brings us to assess how different stances regarding knowledge creation inevitably influence the type of research questions asked, the type of analytic devices each method uses, and the level of abstraction reached in the results they generate. We then look at how, in the analytic process, some of the methods’ features – i.e. approaches to codes generation, sampling strategy, means to validate findings - may be combined in a single study only and when this is methodologically justified. In the second half of the class, we review some appraisal tools that have been proposed in the qualitative literature to assess the quality of qualitative analysis. This leads us to examine the criteria that shape these assessment tools and formulate a critique on how some tools succeed, while others and fail, to capture the process of analysis from the stages of data coding, seeking patterns, validating claims and presenting findings.


Teaching & data

Teaching methods include lectures, individual exercises with NVivo, and quality appraisal outside class hours. All four methods will be taught using sample data provided by the instructor. Participants that have their own data are welcomed to use them during the hands-on exercises. After class, compulsory readings are required for the next day. For those wishing to develop or polish their appraisal skills, quality appraisals are proposed where participants assess the implementation fidelity of each method in published qualitative studies.

Day-to-Day Schedule

Day-to-Day Reading List

Software Requirements

This course requires that you run NVivo 11 Pro for Windows on your laptop or, alternatively, NVivo 11 Plus. You can download the 14-day free trial here. DO NOT COME TO THE COURSE WITH NVIVO 11 FOR MAC as this version is incomplete compared to NVivo 11 Pro for Windows. Mac users should consult the compatibility options and system requirements to run NVivo 11 Pro for Windows using Boot camp or Parallels on their Mac. It is your responsibility to ensure that NVivo works well on your laptop as no troubleshooting will be provided at the Winter School.


Once NVivo is installed on your laptop, verify that it works properly. Follow the instructions below.

  1. On your Desktop, launch NVivo by clicking on the NVivo 11 shortcut icon
  2. On the Start screen, in the New section, click Sample Project
  3. NVivo opens a copy of the sample project which is stored in your default project location.
  4. If you can’t open the Sample project, contact QSR international by submitting a support request form online (see section Contact Us Online at the bottom).


NVivo system requirements  





1.2 GHz single-core processor (32-bit) 1.4 GHz single-core processor (64-bit)

2.0 GHz dual-core processor or faster


2 GB RAM or more

4 GB RAM or more


1024 x 768 screen resolution

1680 x 1050 screen resolution or higher

Operating system

Microsoft Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7 or later

Hard disk

Approximately 5 GB of available hard-disk space (additional hard-disk space may be required for NVivo project data)

Approximately 8 GB of available hard-disk space (additional hard-disk space may be required for NVivo project data)



Hardware Requirements

See software requirements


Bernard, H. R., & Ryan, G. W. (2010). Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systemic Approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming Qualitative Information: Thematic Analysis and Code Development. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Coffey, A., & Atkinson, P. (1996). Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complementary Research Strategies Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Dey, I. (1993). Qualitative Data Analysis: A User-Friendly Guide for Social Scientists. London: Routledge.

Ezzy, D. (2002). Qualitative Analysis. Practice and Innovation. London: Routledge.

Gibbs, G. R. (2007). Analyzing Qualitative Data. London: Sage.

Gibson, W. J., & Brown, A. (2009). Working with Qualitative Data. London: Sage.

Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

Guest, G., MacQueen, K. M., & Namey, E. E. (2012). Applied Thematic Analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

LeCompte, M. (2000). Analyzing Qualitative Data. Theory Into Practice, 39(3), 146-154.

Leech, N. L., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2007). An Array of Qualitative Data Analysis Tools: A Call for Data Analysis Triangulation. School Psychology Quarterly, 22(4), 557-584.

Leech, N. L., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2011). Beyond Constant Comparison Qualitative Data Analysis: Using NVivo. School Psychology Quarterly, 26(1), 70-84.

Lofland, J., Snow, D., Anderson, L., & Lofland, L. H. (2004). Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and Analysis (4th ed.). Belmont: Cengage Learning.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

  Sandelowski, M. (1995). Qualitative Analysis: What It Is and How to Begin. Research in Nursing & Health 18(4), 371 -375.

  Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative Content Analysis in Practice. London: Sage.

  Seale, C. (1999). The Quality of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

  Strauss, A. L. (1987). Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

  Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative Research: Analysis Types and Software Tools. New York: Falmer Press.

The following other ECPR Methods School courses could be useful in combination with this one in a ‘training track .
Recommended Courses Before

Summer School

Qualitative Data Analysis: Concept and Approaches

Expert Interviews for Qualitative Data Generation

Introduction to NVivo for Qualitative Data Analysis

Winter School

Introduction to NVivo for Qualitative Data Analysis

Additional Information


This course description may be subject to subsequent adaptations (e.g. taking into account new developments in the field, participant demands, group size, etc). Registered participants will be informed in due time.

Note from the Academic Convenors

By registering for this course, you confirm that you possess the knowledge required to follow it. The instructor will not teach these prerequisite items. If in doubt, contact the instructor before registering.

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