National Centre for Research Methods



Spring 2006 Events: Seminar Series
Qualitative research in the social sciences: setting the agenda for capacity building

This seminar series provides a forum for interdisciplinary debate and discussion about the present use of, and future directions for qualitative research within the social sciences. The series focuses on current and future contexts for qualitative research, and the ways in which qualitative data are used to inform scholars, practitioners and policy makers. In particular the series considers the implications for qualitative research capacity, in a context of methodological consolidation, development and innovation. The series is organised by the Cardiff Node of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, in collaboration with host institutions.

The discussion board dedicated to the topics of spring seminars will be available soon.

Seminar 1: Combining social research methods, data and analyses.
Department of Sociology, School of Human Sciences, University of Surrey
Wednesday 22nd February 2006

There are a range of issues concerned with understanding and facilitating data and analytical synthesis between different modes of qualitative data, as well as between qualitative and quantitative data. Strategies for working across and between different kinds of qualitative data and analyses are increasingly required, as the repertoire of qualitative strategies continues to expand. This seminar / workshop aims to provide opportunities for participants to share current practice of methodological combination / integration, and to consider the research capacity building implications of doing so. This seminar is jointly organised with the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey.

Click here to view the papers given at this event

Seminar 2: Using qualitative research to inform policy and practice
Office for National Statistics, Newport, Wales
Tuesday 4th April 2006

The synthesis and use of qualitative evidence for informing policy making and professional practice has been the subject of recent critical attention. In the context of concerns over research quality, attention has increasingly turned towards a more critical appreciation of the opportunities and problematics of utilising qualitative research. This seminar draws together policy makers, practitioners and academics, and provides an opportunity to consider the ways in which qualitative research is positioned within calls for evidenced-based policy and practice. This seminar is organised in collaboration with the Office for National Statistics

Click here to view the papers given at this event

Seminar 3: Qualitative research in new ethical times
Cardiff University
Thursday 4th May 2006

The nature of participation in qualitative research raises particular and distinct questions about the ethical dimensions of social research practice. These are compounded by the wide variety of potential modes of data (including visual and sound data) currently available to social researchers engaged in undertaking some form of qualitative inquiry. This seminar will particularly consider qualitative research in relation to the ethical dimensions of contemporary research governance (for example ethical guidelines, data protection, freedom of information) and in the context of methodological innovation. The seminar will contribute to the facilitation of new and interdisciplinary ethical dialogues across the social sciences. The seminar is organised co-hosted by the Cardiff Institute for Society, Health and Ethics, and the Cardiff Centre for Ethics, Law and Society.

Click here to view the papers given at this event

Seminar 4: Theorising qualitative research: paradigms and methods
Edinburgh University

Thursday 15th June

The nature and application of methodology is theory dependent. Moreover theoretical frameworks are often discipline specific. In terms of qualitative research methods, disciplines can place different emphases on different strategies for data collection and analysis. Indeed qualitative inquiry can mean rather different things to different disciplinary communities, within and outwith the social sciences. Hence a diverse range of methodological, epistemological and disciplinary positions potentially inform qualitative approaches. This seminar explores some of the ways in which theoretical frameworks and epistemological understandings are and can be used to inform qualitative research practice.

Click here to view the papers given at this event

Booking details
Each event is open to all researchers, including postgraduate students and non-academic researchers. The events are free to attend and refreshments will be provided. Unfortunately, however, we are not able to assist with travel or other related costs. For more information, including any accessibility requirements you may have, booking forms, directions to the venues and maps please contact


ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
ESRC - Economic & Social Research Council