Qualitative Messes: Realities of Documentary and Interview-based Analyses



Organised by:

University of Kent


Dr M. May Seitanidi
Dr Gerardo D. Abreu Pederzini


Intermediate (some prior knowledge)


Deborah Molloy

01227 824089


View in Google Maps  (CT2 7NF)


Cornwallis East
University of Kent



In this workshop, we approach qualitative research through a critical frame to contrast the expected and unexpected aspects of designing, collecting, analysing and writing up research that is based on interviews and documentary data. We look at the messes that occur at all the stages of qualitative research in a generative way in order to prepare researchers by providing guidance and sharing examples of research messes as they unfold in the life of a research project.

Some of the questions that the workshop will address are:

- How do you remain close to your initial research design when access to data is denied?

- How do you align sources of data when sections have been marked as ‘off the record’?

- How do you balance research ethics with research integrity during an elite CEO interview without a follow-up possibility?


Two social science experts will discuss messy research issues and provide advice on how to plan for the unexpected. The researchers will share their own research experiences but also invite participants to challenge them with the most complex and messy problems they have already faced or can think of to test their abilities to provide solutions and creative suggestions.


Session Aims:

- To provide a review of the linear expected aspects of interview and documentary research followed by the complex realities at each research stage.

- To provide a tool kit of solutions for the unexpected research messes.

- To develop a forum of qualitative researchers that are confident in sharing challenging aspects of research and co-developing solutions with others.


Preparatory work:

If participants have research experience we ask them to consider in advance the following two reflective questions:

1/ What were your expectations when you initially decided to get involved with qualitative research?

2/ How have those expectations been violated or not as a result of your empirical qualitative work?

Please elaborate your answers by using examples and bring them with you to the workshop.

There will be a 30 minute break for lunch (we suggest you bring a lunch with you).

Please book using our booking form at: https://www.kent.ac.uk/graduateschool/skills/advancedtraining.html 


Free to postgraduate researchers in Kent doctoral training partnership institutions, (Kent is in a DTP with: UEA, Essex, Reading, RHUL, Surrey, Sussex, Goldsmiths, Birkbeck, The Courtauld Institute, SOAS, Roehampton, City University London, University of London)
£30 for all other postgraduate researchers
£60 for other researchers: (non-Kent staff, alumni, charity, not for profit organisations)
£90 for commercial participants.

Website and registration:


South East


Documentary Analysis, Qualitative Approaches (other), documentary and interview-based research

Related publications and presentations:

Documentary Analysis
Qualitative Approaches (other)

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