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Problem-Focused Qualitative Methods

I have developed a range of published qualitative methods for psychology and the social sciences, that have been used in thousands of published research studies. The ethos the underpins all of them is problem-focused research, where methods are designed to solve a diverse range of different research problems and to flexibly combine together.

The integrative 4-point approach to sampling for qualitative interview studies

Robinson, O.C. (2014). Sampling in interview-based qualitative research: A theoretical and practical guide. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 11, 25-41. DOI 10.1080/14780887.2013.801543

Sampling is a vital component of qualitative research, but there is little published guidance on how to do it within a pragmatic, flexible framework. My approach provides this much needed theory and practical guidance. The article has been cited over 5000 times.


The "DICE" framework for probing in qualitative interview and focus groups 

Robinson, O.C. (2023). Probing in qualitative research interviews: Theory and practice. Qualitative Research in Psychology, online first.

Probing is key to high-quality research interviewing. It is the process of using verbal prompts after a person has responded to a question, to gain more information about the previous answer. My 'DICE' approach provides a theoretical rationale and taxonomic framework to conducting probing, which is linked to practical advice. DICE stands for the four kinds of probe in the model; Descriptive, Idiographic Memory, Clarifying and Explanatory. Click here for the full text.


A video abstract about the DICE approach to probing

Structured Tabular Thematic Analysis - for analysis of brief texts

Robinson, O.C. (2022). Thematic analysis for brief texts: The structured tabular approach. Qualitative Psychology, 9, 2, 194–208.

There are many forms of qualitative analysis designed for long texts such as interviews and focus group transcripts, but few that are designed to handle brief texts of a paragraph or less. This method has been developed for that task, and is being widely used across the social sciences. You can access a copy of the submitted version of journal article about it here



Relational analysis: A bolt-on method for exploring relationships between themes in qualitative analysis

Robinson, O.C. (2011). Relational analysis: an ‘add-on’ technique for aiding data integration in qualitative research. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 8, 197-209.

The innovation of “add-on” techniques to supplement existing qualitative methods can be seen as part of a move towards a pluralist, eclectic qualitative psychology. Relational Analysis can be used to help explore the full spectrum of possible relationships between analytical themes
within qualitative data.

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