Skip to main content


A community for qualitative researchers.

  • Woman researcher gazing up towards QuIRI logo

QuIRI brings together researchers from across Cornell who teach, employ, and develop rigorous qualitative research methodologies. The qualitative and interpretive social science faculty at Cornell University is among the very best in the world. QuIRI creates opportunities for collaboration and excellence in interpretive social science research and training.

  • About QuIRI

    • Cornell University’s QuIRI was established in 2020 to:

      1. Enhance the support for qualitative and interpretive social scientists at Cornell

      2. Increase the coordination and collaboration among Cornell faculty who teach, employ, and develop qualitative research methods

      3. Increase the visibility and awareness of qualitative methodological opportunities among the social sciences at Cornell

      4. Enhance the social science qualitative research methods training at Cornell

      5. Identify collaboration opportunities for qualitative researchers in other disciplines

      6. Enhance the external visibility of the strong qualitative research community at Cornell

      QuIRI has several programs and initiatives to support qualitative research at Cornell. We have a monthly seminar series that explores methods, technologies, and research projects related to various kinds of qualitative research. We have a bi-annual small grants program for Cornell faculty, post-docs, and Ph.D. students to support multiple types of research-related expenses. Our faculty working groups provide resources to bring together qualitative researchers for writing and or reading groups. Our faculty summer institute is intended for faculty across Cornell interested in incorporating qualitative methods into their research programs. See the tabs above for more details.


    • To join the QuIRI e-list please send an email message with the subject line JOIN to 

    • Leadership Team


      Headshot of Lee Humphreys

      Lee Humphreys, Director of QuIRI, Communication

      Headshot of Sharon Sassler

      Sharon Sassler, Policy and Analysis Management

      Headshot of Linda Shi

      Linda Shi, City and Regional Planning

      Headshot of Marina Welker

      Marina Welker, Anthropology

    • Previous Featured Researchers


      Natasha Raheja, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

      My favorite qualitative methods book or article is Cerwonka, A. and Malkki, L.H., 2008. Improvising Theory. University of Chicago Press.


      Linda Shi, Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning

      My favorite qualitative methods book or article is Mukhija, V. (2010). N of One plus Some: An Alternative Strategy for Conducting Single Case Research. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29(4), 416–426.


      Alexandra Blackman, Assistant Professor, Government

      My favorite qualitative methods book or article is: Democracy in Translation: Understanding Politics in an Unfamiliar Culture (Frederic Charles Schaffer)


      Erica Phillips, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College  

      My favorite qualitative methods book or article is Basics of Qualitative Research: Second Edition: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory 2nd Edition by Anselm Strauss (Author), Juliet Corbin (Author). 


      Amelia Greiner Safi, Senior Research Associate, Department of Communication 

      My favorite qualitative methods books and articles are from Michael Q. Patton’s work, like Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods.


      Jenny Goldstein, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Development

      My favorite qualitative methods book or article is currently a toss-up between Gibson-Graham, J.K. 2014. Rethinking the economy with thick description and weak theory. Current Anthropology 55(9):147-153 and Lave, R., Biermann, C., Lane, S.N. 2018. The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography. London: Palgrave.


      Tristan Ivory, Assistant Professor, Industrial and Labor Relations

      In terms of a favorite qualitative methods article, I don’t think in terms of favorites most of the time. Still, I always appreciate work that revisits older methods or applies methods beyond the disciple/sub-field where they are most commonly employed.


      Maureen Waller, Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis & Management and Sociology (by courtesy)

      My favorite qualitative methods article is Mario Small’s “‘How Many Cases Do I Need?’ On Science and the Logic of Case Selection in Field-Based Research” published in Ethnography


      Sofia Villenas, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology

      My favorite qualitative methods book or resource is Feminist Ethnography: Thinking through Methodologies, Challenges, and Possibilities, by Dana-Ain Davis and Christa Craven.

  • Seminar Series

    • 2022 Trevor Pinch QuIRI Innovation Awardee Presentation

      September 16, 2022

      1-2pm Eastern

      Register here.

      Senior Lecturer Dr. Gilly Leshed, Information Science

      The majority of the students in Qualitative User Research and Design Methods (INFO/COMM 4400/5400) are headed to industry careers in product design or user experience. The course covers advanced qualitative human-computer interaction research and design methods, such as diary studies, design ethnography, cultural probes, participatory design, autoethnography and autobiographical design, and more. In addition to learning the principles and philosophies behind these qualitative methods, students engage in weekly hands-on workshops to practically apply the methods through a meaningful and memorable learning experience. In the talk, I will present the pedagogy of this course, with examples of the methods covered and the innovative hands-on workshops accompanying them.

    • Big Data Meets Thick Description: Thinking Interpretively with Computational Data

      October 7, 2022

      1-2pm Eastern

      Register here.

      With Alum Chelsea Butkowski, Ph.D. '22, Communication, and Ph.D. Student Aspen Russell, Information Science

      Big Data Meets Thick Description: Thinking Interpretively with Computational Data
      As a qualitative researcher, have you ever considered using “Big Data” but didn’t know where to start? As a computational researcher, have you wanted to achieve greater depth and contextualization of your data? In our presentation, we will show how computational tools can act as a complementary means to achieve interpretive insights. You will be exposed to both practical (standard tools & software libraries) and theoretical (computational qual/quant/mixed methods) approaches.

      The goal of our presentation is two-fold. First, to expand the technological toolkit available to social science researchers. This includes standardized programming libraries and off-the-shelf software. The second goal is to expand the methodological breadth available to qualitative researchers. We accomplish this by providing an in-depth analysis of research design starting with data only available by computational means and refining it to a state that is viable for qualitative analysis. We will also talk through the unique considerations, challenges, and opportunities of doing this kind of research. For example, how can one take data originally created on social media and perform content or text analysis? The workshop will provide a space for researchers to brainstorm and discuss project ideas that cross interpretive and computational realms.


      Aspen Russell, PhD Student, Cornell University
      Aspen Russell is an Information Science PhD student at Cornell University in the Social Media Lab (SML). She studies toxicity on social media, online forums, and live-streaming platforms. Her current projects include: the politicization of science on YouTube; defense strategies against hate speech and misinformation online; and the experiences of queer beauty content creators. Aspen is a Data Science Fellow for the Cornell Center for Social Sciences (CCSS), and facilitates workshops on social science research design using Big Data. Most recently she was a sociotechnical systems intern for Intel Labs. Aspen's research is supported by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship and Sloan Foundation Fellowship.


      Chelsea Butkowski, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Center on Digital Culture & Society

      Chelsea Butkowski is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center on Digital Culture & Society within the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from Cornell University in 2022. Chelsea studies how people use everyday media technologies and social practices to make sense of their own identities, especially during periods of extraordinary political and social change. She uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, centering digital approaches that position research participants as co-analysts of their own media ecosystems. Her recent research investigates the everyday politics of mediated self-making amid the 2020 US election and the COVID-19 pandemic; marginalization in visual media; and the design and discourses of participatory technologies. This work can be found in a number of leading international journals, including New Media & SocietySocial Media + Society, and Communication, Culture & Critique.

    • On Writing

      November 4, 2022

      1-2pm Eastern

      Register here.

      Dr. Katherine Sender, Department of Communication and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program


    • Immigrant Worker Precarity: Lessons from the Field

      December 2, 2022

      1-2pm Eastern

      Register here.

      Dr. Shannon Gleeson, ILR


    • Previous Seminars


      In-person Reception

      Learn more about QuIRI, celebrate the work of fellow qualitative researchers from across campus, and discuss possible collaboration opportunities in person!

      4-5pm May 13, 2022.


      Graduate Researchers Panel

      1-2pm Apr 1, 2022

      Negar Khojatest, Information Science; Kendra Kintzi, Development Sociology; Yoselinda Mendoza, Sociology; Elif Sari, Anthropology; Gloria Xiong, Government; & Daniel Ferman-Leon, Anthropology.

      This seminar showcases graduate student researchers across the university who have received support from QuIRI.

      Collaboration in Qualitative Research

      1-2pm Mar 11, 2022

      Amelia Greiner-Safi, Associate Professor of Practice, Public Health, Cornell Vet; Sharon Sassler, Professor, Brooks School of Public Policy; Eli Friedman, Associate Professor & Chair Department of International and Comparative Labor, ILR; and Diane Bailey, Professor, Dept of Communication

      This seminar explores best practices of collaboration in qualitative research. The panelists will draw on their research experiences to share what to avoid and how to make the most of collaborations.

      View the presentation here.


      1-2pm Feb 4, 2022

      With Katie Foriella, Assistant Professor, Public Health, Cornell Vet, and Elizabeth Fox, Assistant Professor of Practice, Public Health, Cornell Vet.

      This seminar will discuss Photovoice methods: what they are and when to use them, data collection strategies, and best practices. We will provide applied examples of their use in the field and lessons learned from projects in Haiti, Cambodia, and Kenya.

      View the presentation here.

      Integrating Qualitative Social Science and Storytelling for Global Impact

      1-2pm Dec 10 

      Cornell Alum Raul Roman, Ph.D. ’04, Founder & Executive Director,

      Raul Roman is a non-traditional creative professional at the intersection of social science, journalism, and the visual arts. He is the Founder and Executive Director of DAWNING, a social venture devoted to high-impact research-driven storytelling on global development, climate change, and human rights. In this seminar, Dr. Raul Roman will describe integrating qualitative social science and storytelling in his work around the world.

      View the presentation here. 

      Participatory Action Research Panel

      1-2pm Nov 12, 2021 

      Featuring Richard Keily, Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell; Karen Purcell, Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology; Rana Zadeh, Dept of Design & Environmental Analysis at Cornell; Bobby Wilson, Metro Atlanta Urban Farm; Makeda Cheatom, WorldBeat Cultural Center; and Phyllis E. Turner, Community Science Collaborator, Metro Atlanta Urban Farm.

      This panel will explore the key opportunities and challenges of participatory action research (PAR). The panel includes scholars, practitioners, and community members involved in PAR. Video recording is coming soon.

      -- Noise Project:

      -- Noise Project working agreements:

      -- Non-negotiables for doing research and evaluation in our communities (Community Review board of Non-negotiables):

      -- Meaningful collaborations (a workbook for Community-based Organizations):

      -- Partnerships for Impact (a workbook for STEM Institutions):

      QuIRI Networking Event / Working Group Mixer  

      1-2pm Oct 1, 2021 

      In-person meeting

      Meet the QuIRI leadership team and fellow QuIRI affiliates for an informal networking event. If you are interested in becoming a member of a QuIRI Working Group, this event is for you!

      2021 QuIRI Innovation Award: Digital Due Process Clinic

      Sept 10, 2021

      Malte Ziewitz, Assistant Professor, STS

      What is it like to be judged by a computer system, and what if this is done unfairly? In this talk, Matle Ziewitz introduces the Digital Due Process Clinic, a clinical research program at Cornell where students and faculty work together on behalf of people struggling with automated scoring systems. Founded in September 2019, the program takes the didactic model of the law school clinic and transposes it to the social sciences with a particular focus on qualitative research. Responding to the growing use of automated decision systems in all areas of life, the clinic brings together multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate students to document the lived experiences of people who feel mistreated by these systems—and to think about alternative forms of (non-legal) recourse and relief. View the presentation.

      2021 CCSS QuIRI Working Groups Panel

      May 14, 2021

      In this seminar, we heard from the QuIRI working groups funded in Fall 2020. The groups examined: Practicing Ethnography in Unprecedented Times, Elite and Citizen Interviews in High-Risk Settings, Cross-National Issues in Racial/Ethnic Inequality, and Studying Identities through a Creative Qualitative Lens. Each group discussed key issues they explored and shared important insights from their work. View the presentation. 

      Focus Groups and Best Practices

      Apr 23, 2021

      Jane Powers and Amanda Purington from BCTR ACT for Youth discuss best practices of focus group research. Participants learn how to develop a focus group protocol, construct questions, and prepare for and conduct focus groups. Tips for transcription, data management, and data analysis strategies are also discussed. View this presentation and view materials from this presentation.

      Software for Qualitative Research

      Feb 22, 2021

      Florio Arguillas and Lynda Kellam from CCSS present various helpful software for qualitative research. They discuss tools for collecting qualitative data through recording and transcription software and note-taking software. They discuss tools for analyzing qualitative data and the key differences between software packages. Lastly, they describe software for writing up qualitative research. View this presentation. View slides from this presentation.

      Qualitative Data Repository Workshop: Sharing and Archiving your Qualitative Research

      Dec 4, 2020

      Lynda Kellam of CCSS, and Sebastian Karcher, of Syracuse University’s Qualitative Data Repository, discuss opportunities for archiving qualitative research. This workshop is intended for qualitative researchers at all stages of their careers who are interested in learning more about SU’s Qualitative Data Repository (QDR), of which Cornell is a member. The workshop explores opportunities for Cornell qualitative social scientists to engage in open science practices. View this presentation. 

      Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Transdisciplinary Research

      Oct 23, 2020  

      Professor Karim-Aly Kassam of the Department of Natural Resources and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program presented “Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Transdisciplinary Research. In this talk, he draws on his research examining human and environmental relations, addressing indigenous ways of knowing, food sovereignty, sustainable livelihoods, stewardship, and climate change.

      Digital Qualitative Methods During COVID

      Oct 9, 2020

      QuIRI Director Lee Humphreys introduces current QuIRI program initiatives and presents “Digital Qualitative Methods During COVID,” with ideas and strategies for different qualitative methods that utilize digital communication technologies.

  • Grants and Awards

Featured QuIRI Researcher

Headshot of Katherine Sender

Katherine Sender, Professor, Communication, CALS

Years at Cornell: 3

In my recent project:

I have been returning to my early research about LGBTQ marketing (2004) by interviewing advertising experts and corporate sponsors about new formations in queer and trans marketing.

One important finding was:

That the idea of “the LGBTQ market” has changed considerably from targeting a niche group of mostly white gay men to appealing to a much more diverse and intersectional range of identities, allies, and Gen Z consumers more broadly.

One thing that surprised me was:

That the roles involved in LGBTQ marketing have become much more specialized—and most marketers are baffled by the roles of algorithms and big data in marketing!

My favorite qualitative methods book or article is:

Bird, E. S. (2003). Chapter 4: Imagining Indians: Negotiating identity in a media world. In The audience in everyday life: Living in a media world (pp. 86-117). New York: Routledge.

In the next year, I look forward to:

Completing my documentary Beyond the Straight and Narrow: Queer and Trans Representations on US Television and writing a journal article about my LGBTQ marketing research.


  • We'd love to hear your ideas, suggestions, or questions!

    Are you
    CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.