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Qualitative longitudinal data analysis: a workshop for social scientists

Research Methods Training
Tuesday 7 May 2013
University of Leeds (Beech Grove House)

A research methods training day, with a focus on qualitative secondary data analysis and longitudinal data analysis

Qualitative Longitudinal Research Methods Training Workshops 2012 - 2013

Workshop aims

Qualitative longitudinal data presents particular complexities and challenges for analysis. This workshop explores some of these challenges and offers conceptually informed practical strategies for analysing qualitative longitudinal (QL) data. It also addresses challenges of, and strategies for, undertaking secondary analysis of qualitative and QL data. Participants will learn about available archived resources and how they might access and explore archived qualitative data. They will also learn about strategies in the secondary analysis of such data, and about possibilities for teaching qualitative analysis using archived data. Presentations are made by experts in the field. The training day draws in part on the work of the ESRC Timescapes Qualitative Longitudinal Initiative: ‘Changing lives and times: relationships and identities through the life course’, and we will offer a practical session on using the Timescapes Archive. Presentations will be interspersed with participatory practical sessions in which delegates can explore resources, data, and analytic strategies, as well as bringing to bear their own research interests. A plenary session will draw out and explore key themes from the day and facilitate discussion and debate amongst participants and presenters.

Who is the workshop for?

The workshop is suitable for academic and non-academic researchers who are contemplating, or already using, qualitative longitudinal and/or secondary analysis within their research, or in teaching. The workshop also caters for those from different disciplines, although the presentations will all have a social science focus. The level is intermediate, that is we expect a grounding in, and familiarity with, qualitative research methods. The workshop is suitable for people at different career stages, from PhD/postdoctoral researchers to senior academics, as well as  those working in third sector and policy related research, wanting to learn more about resources as well as approaches to analysing qualitative data.


10.00 - Registration, coffee

10.30 - Introduction: Analysis in social research (Professor Bren Neale, University of Leeds)

11.00 - Archived data resources and qualitative secondary analysis (Dr. Libby Bishop, University of Essex)

11.30 - Context in secondary analysis, and working across QL data sets (Dr. Sarah Irwin, University of Leeds)

12.00 - Using archived qualitative data in teaching and learning (Dr Jo Haynes, University of Bristol)

12.30 - Lunch

1.15 – 2.15

Participatory workshop A
Learning about the Timescapes Archive and on-line resources/ computer workshop (1 hour)


Other facilitated participatory workshops (B)
Exploring, sharing and analysing QL data

2.15 - Qualitative longitudinal analysis: biography and social class (Dr. Mandy Winterton, Edinburgh Napier University)

2.45 - Turning points in the analysis of qualitative longitudinal data (Professor Rachel Thomson, University of Sussex)

3.15 - Plenary (all presenters and participants)

3.45 - Tea/Close

Participatory Workshop Sessions

So we can manage the sessions effectively we require that you state your workshop preference when you register. The workshop choices are:

(A) Computer based demonstration of the Timescapes QL Data Archive

(B)  Exploring and developing analytic themes and questions drawing on qualitative data which will be provided for you. You are not expected to bring your own data. However, you might wish to do so.

Instructions for workshop session B, if you intend to submit some sample data.

We will provide examples of data for small group discussions, allowing delegates to draw out and discuss strategies for tackling complexities in the analysis of QL data. However, we also want to take the opportunity to facilitate the sharing of extracts from delegates’ own research data. If you are interested in doing so, please send us part of an interview transcript, or other suitable empirical material, generated in the course of your research and which you can share with others. This could be up to a couple of pages, and should be no more than 800 words. (Feel able also to bring samples of visual or other data). Provide:

  1. A brief (one paragraph) account of the research project design, and how the data fits within it
  2. A very brief summary of the data extract

(This will be photocopied and supplied to a small group on the day – about 4 individuals).

In advance of the workshop reflect on the following questions. A small group of workshop participants will also be asked this question on the day, with reference to your data extract.

  1. What are the issues of potential analytic interest within this data extract?
  2. What are the complexities of analysing this (kind of) data?
  3. What analytic strategies are the most effective?

This is necessarily an artificial undertaking, but one which can generate productive discussion.

Contact Details

The workshop is organised through the Centre for Research into Families, the Life Course and Generations, in affiliation with Timescapes, an ESRC funded qualitative longitudinal study. For further details on the workshops please contact:

Kris McLaughlin


The slides which may be accessed here were used in support of presentations at the training day.