Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Inaugural Qualitative Methods Symposium held at the Univeristy of Bath

Wed Feb 04 16:40:00 GMT 2015

Dr Joe Devine and Dr Jill Porter at the symposium.

— Dr Joe Devine and Dr Jill Porter at the symposium.


The Symposium, Quality in Qualitative Research and Enduring Problematics, provided a unique opportunity for qualitative researchers from many fields of research, including health, social policy, psychology, politics and education, to share research and discuss key methodological challenges. 

The event was convened by researchers involved in the Qualitative Methods Forum of the University of Bath’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and was attended by delegates from GW4 and other universities in the South West.

The event provided a space for discussion of both theoretical and practical issues that those engaged in qualitative research confront in their careers. 

It addressed themes such as researcher-participant relations, sampling challenges and innovation, online research, art as a medium for data collection, theorising and boundary issues between qualitative and quantitative methods.

Delegates discussed the epistemological and ethical dimensions of new forms of knowledge generation – online participant-absent data; performative data including poems, songs and collage – and of old ones – for example the in-between, informal spaces of ethnographic research.

The tensions between qualitative and quantitative paradigms and in particular the continuing deployment of quantitative assumptions in assessing the rigour and value of qualitative research (especially in policy relevant research) were spotlighted. Delegates also explored the relationship between theory and interpretation and the extent to which emic and etic perspectives can be binary positions.

The day was a great success, providing a fantastic opportunity for networking between researchers from south west universities who use common methods in diverse fields.  It is hoped that the event will act as a springboard for new research initiatives and the formation of a southwest qualitative methods network.

The event was supported by the University of Bath’s Researcher Development Fund and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  

Further information

For podcasts and PowerPoint presentations from the day, visit our past events page.

To join the network or  for further information, you can contact Dr Jenny Hatchard at