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Qualitative Psychology

Qualitative Psychology
A Practical Guide to Research Methods

Third Edition
Edited by:

April 2015 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Undertaking qualitative research in psychology can seem like a daunting and complex process, especially when it comes to selecting the most appropriate approach for your project or assignment. This book, written and edited by a world-leading group of academics and researchers, offers an accessible, critical and practical way into qualitative research in psychology. Each chapter provides a detailed, step-by-step guide to using a qualitative research method – from Conversation Analysis or Focus Groups to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis or Narrative Psychology. Whatever approach you choose to take, this book will ensure you get it right from the start.   


New to this Third Edition:

  • A chapter on Thematic Analysis 
  • A  section on how to choose and select the most appropriate method for your project


Jonathan A. Smith
1. Introduction
Peter Ashworth
2. Conceptual foundations of qualitative psychology
Jonathan A. Smith and Mike Osborn
3. Interpretative phenomenological analysis
Kathy Charmaz
4. Grounded theory
Michael Murray
5. Narrative psychology
Paul Drew
6. Conversation analysis
Carla Willig
7. Discourse analysis
Sarah Riley and Peter Reason
8. Cooperative inquiry: an action research practice
Sue Wilkinson
9. Focus groups
Victoria Clarke, Virginia Braun, Nikki Hayfield
10. Thematic analysis
Michael Larkin
11. Choosing your approach
Lucy Yardley
12. Demonstrating validity in qualitative psychology

What a delight to have the 3rd edition of this important book! Jonathan Smith makes available the wisdom of the most savvy scholars in the field, and they in turn, succeed in communicating with clarity and coherence. This is a vital contribution to the classroom, and to the future of qualitative inquiry in psychology. 

Kenneth J. Gergen, Senior Research Professor
Swarthmore College

As psychological science matures as a discipline, and as its focus and scope extends to address new issues and challenges for understanding human behaviour, the need for reliable and robust research methodologies increases. This third edition of Jonathan Smith’s book ensures that the full range of qualitative methods are readily accessible to all researchers. The great strength of this edition lies, as it did in previous editions, in the systematic and accessible approach to the different methods. That means that researchers in psychology and related disciplines, from novices to experienced academics, can quickly understand and deploy approaches that are appropriate to answer specific research questions. Each chapter clearly outlines the essential information on theory and application. Moreover the addition of a chapter on choosing between different methods adds to the ease with which the reader can steer towards the right choice of method. No other qualitative methods text achieves this balance between theory and application while managing to maintain an impartial perspective on contrasting approaches. This is, above all, a useful book. It should be on every researcher’s shelf!

Professor Patrick J Leman
Royal Holloway, University of London

After reading it there were only a few chapters/pages applicable to nursing, I think it would be suitable for post grad students but under grad nursing students may need more help.

Miss Holly Waterman
Dpt of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Wo, Hertfordshire University
February 17, 2023

Broad coverage of methods, written in an accessible way.

Miss Anna Trejnowska
Psychology & Sociology, Queen Margaret University
November 29, 2018

This is a core text for graduate students wishing to use qualitative methodology for their research studies on the programme.

Dr Ian Fletcher
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Lancaster University
May 11, 2018

A really helpful text for students undertaking qualitative research.

Mrs Issy Hallam
Psychology, South Devon College
May 22, 2017

excellent and useful book

Mrs Suzanne Everett
Nursing and Midwifery, Middlesex University
October 6, 2016

We need a range of books which cover qualitative methodologies and can cross the psychology and counselling borders as we are a combined department with students in psychology and counselling carrying out qualitative dissertations.

Mrs Tara Dawn Morrey
Department of Psychology, Newman University
July 12, 2016

Good for students who do not have a strong statistical or social science background.
Written in an accessible style which appeals to the students.
Good for background reading when designing a small scale project.

Professor Yvonne Millman
School of Applied Social Studies, Robert Gordon University
July 1, 2016

One of my favourite readings: crystal clear language and simple structure. I appreciate that there is a chapter dedicated to Thematic Analysis, which is not common. This was a good support for undergraduates, as well as postgraduates. A good and easy insight into qualitative research for quantitative-trained colleagues.

Dr Anna Zoli
Health and Life Sciences, York St John University
September 14, 2015

- A new chapter on thematic analysis by two leaders in the field, Victoria Clark and Virginia Braun, and their colleague Nikki Hayfield.
- An additional chapter towards the end of the book ‘Choosing your approach’ by Michael Larkin, which helps the reader (after learning about the different approaches) decide how to choose the right one for a research project they are about to embark on.
- The book now has a consistent set of subheadings in each chapter.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Qualitative Psychology: Grounded Theory