New books on qualitative research

A second edition of the Sage Qualitative Research Kit, edited by German scholar, Uwe Flick, was published in 2018. Comprised of 10 short volumes, the kit aims to provide a brief introduction to qualitative research.

In his introduction to the series, Flick talks about the organization as follows. Although the series could be read in any order, Flick’s outline of the series indicates that it begins with a volume on research design (2018a). Three books by invited authors discuss methods of data collection and generation, including ethnography (Coffey, 2018), interviews (Brinkmann & Kvale, 2018), and focus groups (Barbour, 2018). Another three volumes discuss qualitative data analysis (Gibbs, 2018), with attention given to visual data (Banks, 2018), and using conversation, discourse and document analysis (Rapley, 2018). The final three volumes, all authored by Flick, include discussions of grounded theory (Flick, 2018b), quality in qualitative research (Flick, 2018d), and triangulation and mixed methods (Flick, 2018c). Each of the volumes is organized in 8-12 chapters aimed at providing an overview and introduction to the topic. The books could be used as assigned or supplementary texts in higher level undergraduate coursework, or graduate coursework. Each of the chapters provides a table of contents and chapter objectives at the beginning and concludes with a list of key points and suggestions for further reading. Flick is well-suited to the task of editing this series and contributing as an author, having authored numerous volumes on qualitative research, including two recent edited volumes for Sage on qualitative data collection and analysis (Flick, 2014, 2018e). I have used a number of the first editions of the Sage Qualitative Research Kit as supplementary texts in teaching, so I was eager to see the updated versions.

I began my reading of the second edition of the kit with Managing quality in qualitative research (Flick, 2018d). Given the extensive history of discussions of how to assess quality in qualitative research, along with the vast amount of literature on the topic, Flick does a good job of drawing out the key issues to consider. Over the course of 10 chapters, he discusses recent movements to develop standards for assessing qualitative research (e.g., the American Educational Research Association’s “Standards for reporting empirical social science research in AERA publications” and “Standards for reporting on humanities-oriented research in AERA publications” are two such examples); criteria put forward by various scholars to assess quality; and the use of quality indicators, checklists and guidelines. From the outset of the book, Flick acknowledges the diverse array of approaches to qualitative research which make it exceedingly difficult to locate specific strategies that might be used commonly. Thus, chapters are devoted to strategies for managing the diversity of quality research, and discussions of how scholars discuss “relevance” and “evidence” in relation to quality. The penultimate chapter talks about the importance of considering ethical issues in relation to quality – since quality research needs to be conducted ethically, and ethical decision-making underlies the full course of any project. The final chapter is devoted to a series of questions that Flick offers for researchers to consider in the design and conduct of research of quality. These sorts of questions are also found in other texts on qualitative design (e.g., Mason, 2018).

I appreciated Flick’s discussion of an exceedingly complex topic. While not as expansive as Clive Seale’s book on the topic (Seale, 1999), Flick’s book offers an update and provides newcomers to the field of qualitative inquiry thoughtful discussions of relevant topics as well as an array of resources to consult further.

Kathy Roulston


Banks, M. (2018). Using visual data in qualitative research (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Barbour, R. (2018). Doing focus groups (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Brinkmann, S., & Kvale, S. (2018). Doing interviews (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Coffey, A. (2018). Doing ethnography (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Flick, U. (2018a). Designing qualitative research (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Flick, U. (2018b). Doing grounded theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Flick, U. (2018c). Doing triangulation and mixed methods (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Flick, U. (2018d). Managing quality in qualitative research. Los Angeles: Sage.

Flick, U. (Ed.) (2014). The SAGE handbook of qualitative data analysis. Los Angeles: Sage.

Flick, U. (Ed.) (2018e). The SAGE handbook of qualitative data collection. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Gibbs, G. R. (2018). Analyzing qualitative data (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Mason, J. (2018). Qualitative researching (3rd ed.). London: SAGE.

Rapley, T. (2018). Doing conversation, discourse and document analysis (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Seale, C. (1999). The quality of qualitative research. London: Sage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s