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Qualitative Research Training Manual

Over the past few years there has been a growing interest in the value of qualitative social research in the South. While there is a welcome recognition of the potential inherent in rigorous and good quality qualitative approaches to research, the know-how pertaining to the why and how has not been as widely disseminated as it could be. This manual is a small contribution to redress this imbalance and to aid greater collaboration amongst qualitative researchers. It provides a wide range of materials that might be of use in intensive training programmes, encouraging a critical engagement with key issues as well as the development of basic research skills.

The manual is an outcome of a research partnership (RECOUP) involving institutions of the South and the North. Our partnership not only demanded a range of research skills, both quantitative and qualitative in nature, but it also brought together people from varied disciplines, where it became crucial to foster a shared understanding, not only of how to do research, but also around what we meant by research itself. This manual presents a snapshot of how we developed a programme that enabled all of us to engage in a useful dialogue (and indeed practice various skills) about qualitative research. It formed the backbone of workshops that were organised in India, Kenya, Ghana and Pakistan, and then again in India.

What is presented here might seem straightforward: but the reality is far from this. Each workshop helped the RECOUP project team evolve this manual in different ways and it has changed considerably from the original – we hope for the better. The spirit of dialogue, experimentation and a belief in the value of qualitative research that we developed during the process of refining the manual underpins our desire to share this work. We do not believe the process is over now: we hope everyone who reads and uses this material will tell us how it went, and engage with us and other users to adapt and improve it.

You can email us with your comments, thoughts or reflections at

You can browse the manual using RECOUP Wiki site. The introduction also explains the Creative Commons licensing of the manual. We encourage free and creative use of these materials. Please cite the original contributions on this source as "Singal, N., and Jeffery, R. (2008)".

Qualitative Research Skills Workshop: A Facilitator's Reference Manual, RECOUP_Manual.pdf
Cambridge: RECOUP (Research Consortium on Educational Outcomes and Poverty).