Qualitative Research

Aim of this guideline

This guideline aims to offer a short introduction to qualitative research, to give researchers information about important issues about the design of a qualitative research study and to give suggestions for additional reading and research articles.



  • Clear documentation of all steps and decisions in the research protocol, field notes and logbook. Please check the relevant guideline(s) on reporting qualitative research (e.g. BMJ, COREQ, SRQR) for important items.



  • Research protocol: state the research question, the research design, and data handling (collection, entry, storage, analysis).
  • Field notes: keep a diary during the period of data collection and analysis, e.g. regarding the selection of respondents, role of the researcher in the data collection process, the quality criteria (credibility, transferability, dependability, confirmability; see below).
  • Logbook: decisions and arguments regarding important changes in design, methodology, research instruments and analysis plan.



The allocation of responsibilities depend on agreements in the project team. In general:
Executing researcher: to carry out the research as described in the protocol and keep detailed field notes.
Project leaders:
  • To supervise the executing researcher;
  • To discuss the execution of the research with the researcher, especially regarding changes or differences in relation to the research protocol;
  • To be involved in data analysis and writing.
Research assistant: to assist in data collection, data entry and data analysis.


This guideline on qualitative research offers information on the following topics:


For courses on qualitative research, please refer to the page on advice and support.


V3.0: 20 Oct 2017: Revision guideline
V2.0: 12 May 2015: Revision format
V1.2: 1 Dec 2011: Removal of link kwalitatief sterk
V1.1: 1 Jan 2010: English translation
V1.0: 23 Nov 2006: Draft version has been rewritten in full