Research is a vital and often daunting component of many counselling and psychotherapy courses. As well as completing their own research projects, trainees across modalities must understand the research in the field – what it tells them and how to do it. Breaking down this seemingly mountainous task into easy to swallow pieces, this book will navigate your students through each stage of the research process, from choosing a research question, through the pros and cons of different methods, to data analysis and writing up their findings. Written by leading contributors from the field including John McLeod, Mick Cooper and Tim Bond, each chapter features points for reflection, engaging activities and suggestions for further reading, helping students to engage with all aspects of research. An original graphic narrative runs throughout the book, bringing this complex topic to life in a unique way. Whether embarking on research for the first time or already a little familiar with research and research methods, this unique guide is something counselling and psychotherapy students will turn to continually throughout their research projects.

Qualitative methods
Qualitative methods
Linda Finlay
Introduction

In their quest to describe and interpret personal/social experience, qualitative researchers revel in being explorers, embarking with an open mind about where their research journey will take them. Aware that difficult terrain lies ahead where they may become ‘bogged down’ in the data or have to negotiate a ‘swamp’ of analysis, they relish the prospect of adventure and the opening up of new, unexpected vistas (Finlay & Evans, 2009).

As qualitative researchers prepare to set forth, they must first make sense of the baffling range of research methodologies and methods available (Cresswell, 1998). Like therapists, they must choose between competing practice and theoretical traditions.

This chapter aims to give you an overview of this diversity. The next section discusses the range of ...

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