Qualitative data analysis with grounded theory

Course information

ECTS: 2.5 
Number of sessions: 4
Hours per session: 3

Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €525,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


In the academic year 2021-2022 this course will take place online.

Edition 1

Session 1
October 29 (Friday) 2021

Session 2
November 3 (Wednesday) 2021

Session 3
November 10 (Wednesday) 2021

Session 4
November 24 (Wednesday) 2021

Edition 2

Session 1
March 1 (Tuesday) 2022

Session 2
March 8 (Tuesday) 2022

Session 3
March 15 (Tuesday) 2022

Session 4
March 29 (Tuesday) 2022


Qualitative data analysis (QDA) is a generic term for methods and techniques that are used for drawing conclusions from qualitative data, such as written text, (transcriptions of) open interviews, and visual material.

The course focuses on Grounded Theory as one of the dominant approaches to QDA, but it will also give you an impression of the broader field of QDA and the divergent ways and terminologies there are for doing QDA, particularly with regard to Discourse Analysis and Phenomenology.

Before enrolling please inform yourself about the course contents, aims and planning as described below. The course is credited with 2.5 ECTS, which stands for 70 study hours. Note that 25 of these 70 hours are assigned to making a report for session 4. Please find below more information about the planning.

Entry level

This course is best suited for researchers who:

  • Have already collected or are about to collect data for their research project. 
  • Are not familiar with the methodology and method of coding and analysing qualitative data, and reporting the results of QDA.

Aims and working method

This course is best suited for PhD candidates that have already collected or are about to collect data for their PhD project, and that are not familiar with the methodology and method of coding and analysing qualitative data and reporting the results of QDA.

Please note that the course focuses on “inductive” ways of analysing data (meaning: forming theory based on data exploration), which is the standard in QDA. The course does not deal with “deductive” approaches, which focus on testing theory-based hypotheses on data.

This is not an ATLAS.ti course. However, the course introduces the program’s basic functionalities for QDA and offers a first training in using the program. To further develop your ATLAS.ti skills you can attend the course Qualitative coding with ATLAS.ti and/or consult the many online ATLAS.ti tutorials. 

Learning objectives

After this course you will be able to:

  • understand the methodology of QDA, particularly the Grounded Theory approach;
  • code your qualitative material, using ATLAS.ti;
  • understand how to analyze your coded material;
  • make informed decisions about how to report a QDA-based study;
  • and all of the above with regard to your own research and data.

Session descriptions

Session 1: Methodologies and background of QDA

  • The first session focusses on the methodology of QDA, particularly with regard to Grounded Theory. 
  • We will also discuss the differences and similarities between Grounded Theory and other approaches to QDA.

Session 2: Coding and analysing qualitative data

  • Session 2 focuses on the methods of QDA. After discussing the main techniques for coding and analysis, you will do concrete exercises with applying those techniques in ATLAS.ti, preferably on your own qualitative data. To this purpose:
    • Bring a fully charged laptop with you, with the newest version of ATLAS.ti 9 installed on it.
    • Bring (preferably) the Windows version of ATLAS.ti with you, because we will discuss and practice that version. The Windows version may be quite different from the Mac version. If you are prepared to find out by yourself (during session 2) how the Mac version works, then you may also bring the Mac version with you.
    • Find the installation instruction for ATLAS.ti here: https://my.eur.nl/en/eur-employee/ict/software/download-software-licences/atlasti. Erasmus University has a license for this program. Please follow the instructions precisely. Don't use your personal e-mail address to make an account for ATLAS.ti, but use your EUR e-mail.
    • Do all of the above well in advance of the course and notify the course instructor if there are any problems as soon as possible.

Session 3: Quality criteria and examples of QDA

  • You will present a short critical evaluation of a published qualitative analysis in your discipline.
  • Through your evaluations we will explore the varieties of QDA and quality criteria such as validity, reliability and accuracy of coding and analysis.

Session 4: Writing about your own QDA

  • In this session there will be peer-reviews of a report (of approximately 1500 words) that you make by yourself based on your own data analysis. This report includes a concise version of the 'method' and 'results' sections of a research paper.
  • You can make the report on the basis of your own data or, if you don't have data of your own yet, data that will be given to you by the lecturer.
  • By making this report you will have an early opportunity to really discover what QDA in general and with Grounded Theory in particular means in practice.
  • Participants generally require approximately 20-25 hours to make the report. This work starts right after session 2 until the deadline of handing in the report, which is about 3 days before session 4.

About the instructor

Dr. Fadi Hirzalla is the Graduate School senior lecturer and methodology consultant. He specialises in quantitative and qualitative methods and methodology, next to his substantive interests in citizenship and new media, with a particular focus on intercultural relations and young people. Prior to joining the Graduate School, he worked at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University.