Qualitative Research: Doing Constructionist Data Analysis (2 days)

Qualitative researchers too often try to do the same as quantitative research but with smaller samples.


This interactive master-class offers early career researchers guidance on how to use the latest constructionist approaches which treat our data as instances of complex behaviours and hence complementary to quantitative research.

Master Class - runs over 2 days

Prof David Silverman is an outstanding scholar specialising in qualitative research. David is Professor Emeritus in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths College and Visiting Professor in the Management Department at King's College, University of London and the Business School, University of Technology, Sydney. He has authored 15 books and 45 journal articles on qualitative research, ethnography and conversation analysis. He is the author of four bestselling Sage textbooks on qualitative research and has published monographs on his research on a large public sector organization, medical consultations and HIV-test counselling. Prof Silverman has hosted workshops on qualitative research for PhD students in Australia since 2009 as well as in Europe, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Tanzania. He successfully supervised 30 PhD students, three of whom are now full Professors.

About this course: 

This master-class offers lectures and data workshops covering the latest approaches to key areas of qualitative research:


    • Improving the quality of interview data analysis. Treating respondents’ accounts as skilful versions of reality. Attending to the step by step production of meaning between interviewer and interviewee.
    • Finding sequences in your data.  The limits of content and thematic analysis. Finding outcomes in data and tracing the sequences in which they are produced.
    • Documents and digital data as social constructions. How to avoid treating them as ‘secondary data’ and tracing the narratives they construct.
    • Theorising with qualitative data. Avoiding armchair theorising and theory used as ‘window dressing’. How to induce theories from your data.


The workshop is relevant to both early career researchers and more experienced researchers interested in constructionist approaches who want to improve their research skills.


Course syllabus: 

The workshop will consist of 4.5 hours of lectures, 3 data workshops and 15 minute one-to-one supervisions.



9.30 - 1-1s
10.00 - Introductory lecture
10.45 - Improving the quality of interview data analysis [lecture]
11.45 - Short break
12.00 - Workshop and parallel 1-1s
12.30 - Lunch
1.30 - Report back from Workshop 1
2.00 - Finding sequences in your data [lecture]
3.15 - Workshop and parallel 1-1s
4.00 - Day ends



9.30 - 1-1s
10.00 - Workshop II feedback
10.30 - Analysing documents and digital data [lecture]
11.45 - Short break
12.00 - Workshop III and parallel 1-1s
12.30 - Lunch
1.30 - Report back from Workshop III
2.00 - Theorising with qualitative data [lecture]
3.15 - Open discussion
4.00 - Workshop ends



Course format: 

This workshop will take place in a classroom.

Participants will be sent a paper to read, as well as further course documents including workshop topics.

Recommended Background: 

A basic knowledge of qualitative research.

Recommended Texts: 

Any of Silverman’s current Sage textbooks.

Interpreting Qualitative Data [sixth edition] or, for more advanced researchers, his Very Short Book [second edition].

Participant feedback: 

The ability to have conversations with the lecturer was invaluable (April 2021)


Very useful for my current role and my research (April 2021)


It was quite a shock in some ways, given the critique of thematic analysis and conventional theorising, but a shock I needed to have. And am grateful for. Just wish I'd have come across this earlier in my career! Having David present the material, challenge us and go through questions and examples allowed for an unfolding of awareness for me. I did not get that reading the ebook prior to the course, so the course very much deepened what I had been able to discover through reading. It was well worth it and I have been doing a massive amount of reflection on everything I held unchallenged since Friday night. (October 2020)