A community for qualitative researchers.
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.
Cornell University’s QuIRI was established in 2020 to:
Enhance the support for qualitative and interpretive social scientists at Cornell
Increase the coordination and collaboration among Cornell faculty who teach, employ, and develop qualitative research methods
Increase the visibility and awareness of qualitative methodological opportunities among the social sciences at Cornell
Enhance the social science qualitative research methods training at Cornell
Identify collaboration opportunities for qualitative researchers in other disciplines
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 QuIRI-Lfirstname.lastname@example.org
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. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X10362770
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.
2022 Trevor Pinch QuIRI Innovation Awardee Presentation
September 16, 2022
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
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 & Society, Social Media + Society, and Communication, Culture & Critique.
November 4, 2022
Dr. Katherine Sender, Department of Communication and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Immigrant Worker Precarity: Lessons from the Field
December 2, 2022
Dr. Shannon Gleeson, ILR
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, Dawning.org
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: https://noiseproject.org
-- Noise Project working agreements: https://power30icbos.blogspot.com/2019/05/our-icbo-working-agreements.html
-- Non-negotiables for doing research and evaluation in our communities (Community Review board of Non-negotiables):
-- Meaningful collaborations (a workbook for Community-based Organizations): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xxyUdiE1vqnH2_pQeYCRfHwGOyFzECxb/view
-- Partnerships for Impact (a workbook for STEM Institutions): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1siAvFwP4ddDy3SmVuxTVgWj7WSZvRRCE/view
QuIRI Networking Event / Working Group Mixer
1-2pm Oct 1, 2021
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.
Small Grants Program Fall 2022
The CCSS QuIRI Small Grants Program is intended to provide up to $2,000.00 in funding for qualitative research expenses (such as participant compensation, travel, equipment, transcription software, research assistants, publishing costs, etc.) to Cornell faculty, post-docs, & doctoral students in the social sciences. Priority will be given to projects which may lead to other funding or help move a project to completion and/or publication. Individual applicants will not be awarded more than once per project per year.
Doctoral students must be post-A-exam to receive a grant. Grad students can apply before A exams, but the funds will not be transferred until the A exams have been successfully completed.
Faculty who apply to this should not be dissuaded from applying to the CCSS Research, Conference, or Roper Center Grants. These smaller amounts of funding are different from other CCSS funding and are intended to help qualitative scholars in their research.
Your application should include your:
- Project title
- 500-word description of the project
- Budget justification
- Any relevant COVID-19 backup plans
- If you are a grad student, please also include a letter of support from your Ph.D. committee chair. Alternatively, your committee chair may send the letter to our director Lee Humphreys at email@example.com.
All materials should be compiled into a single pdf for submission.
All responses will be reviewed after the application period closes on October 14th, 2022.
Faculty Working Groups
The QuIRI Faculty Working Groups Program is intended for faculty-led writing and/or reading groups of social science faculty who employ qualitative research methods.
Proposed working groups:
- Can be themed around specific methods, analytical approaches, or software and methods training.
- May also explore theoretical or empirical synergies.
- Should include four to five members per group, including the faculty leader, and ideally at least two members from different departments/units.
- May have doctoral students, although a faculty member must lead.
Each group member will receive up to $500, awarded individually or as a group, for research materials/equipment, participant compensation, software, or other group costs.
Before filling out your application, be sure to have:
- Your department's financial liaison information
- A list of all your participants, their positions, colleges, departments, and ID numbers if PhD students
- All participants' CVs
- A description of the goals or purpose of your working group
- A tentative meeting schedule for the calendar year
- A budget
- A budget justification
The Trevor Pinch QuIRI Innovation Award
The death of Professor Trevor Pinch deeply saddens QuIRI in December 2021. He was a founding member of the QuIRI leadership team and a generous advocate and teacher of qualitative methods. He will be sorely missed. In honor of his creative spirit and out-of-the-box thinking, we are pleased to announce that the QuIRI Innovation Award is now called the Trevor Pinch QuIRI Innovation Award. QuIRI looks forward to continuing his legacy of teaching, developing, and promoting innovative, interpretive research across the social sciences.
About the Award
The Trevor Pinch QuIRI Innovation Award is given to a Cornell faculty member who demonstrates innovation in developing, using, or teaching qualitative methods.
Applications for 2023 will be due in the spring.
To apply, please submit a CV and cover letter explaining the innovative collaboration, project, course, or workshop, as well as the name and email of a colleague or supervisor who could provide a letter of support. Submissions and letters can be sent directly to QuIRI Director Lee Humphreys at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners receive a $500 honorarium.
2022 Award Winner
We are pleased to announce that the 2022 Trevor Pinch QuIRI Innovation Award has been awarded to Dr. Gilly Leshed, Senior Lecturer in Information Science at Cornell. Her class, Qualitative User Research and Design Methods (INFO/COMM 4400/5400), innovatively incorporates qualitative social science methods and design methods into an engaged and participatory training for students. We are excited to be able to recognize this innovative and vital work. Dr. Leshed will be sharing her teaching and classroom innovations at the CCSS QuIRI Seminar Series in Fall 2022.
Malte Ziewitz, Assistant Professor
Science and Technology Studies
We are pleased to announce that the 2021 CCSS QuIRI Innovation Award has been awarded to Malte Ziewitz, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell. His Digital Due Process Clinic Project innovatively incorporates qualitative social science methods and methods training into an engaged and participatory project that critically examines the role of data in society. We are excited to be able to recognize this innovative and vital work. Professor Ziewitz will be sharing his project at the CCSS QuIRI Seminar Series in Fall 2021.
Previous Small Grant Awards
Organizing Irresponsibility? Redrawing Nature with Magic and Maps
Democracy Deindustrialized?: The Political Economy of the Fall of Industry and the Rise of the Service Economy, 1960-2019
Sociotechnical Design and Governance in Automated Legal Discovery
Proyecto MESA: Exploring the food insecurity experiences of Latino families
Conceptions of Justice: Obstacles to Land Restitution in South Africa’s Putfontein Community
Regulating Destruction: the Politics of Multilateral Weapons Governance
Buy or Brown Bag? School Lunch Program Use in Tompkins County Schools
Judicial Resistance: The Role of Courts in Electoral Disputes
Measuring critical thinking in ecology and physics: What influences students’ abilities to make comparisons?
Engaging Men in Shifting Masculinities in Burundi
Developing a Complete Framework for the Social Effects of AI in Communication
Narrating Enemies in World Politics
Shadows and Silence: Identity and Legacies of Cameroon’s Hidden War
From Africa’s Great Lake Region to Maine: The experiences of East African immigrants in the Eastern U.S.
Understanding the impact of climate change on networked infrastructures in vulnerable coastal communities in south Louisiana
Situating Friendship in Middle-Class Emerging Adulthood
Revolution from the Ivory Tower?: The Knowledge Economy and Political Destabilization in Authoritarian Regimes
The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Migrant Precarity and Decision-Making in Italy
Queering the American Family: Same-Sex Couples and the Marriage Green Card Process
Corporate Responses to Racial Injustice
Understanding Use of Wild and Backyard Foods in Response to COVID-19 in Upstate New York
Pandemics and human-environment interactions: Land use change as a driver of coronavirus and influenza outbreaks in Asia
STEM Retention and Job Satisfaction in the COVID-19 Era
Developing a tailored approach to reducing cancer screening disparities in Tompkins County: Focus groups that address population-specific concerns
Mutual Aid Food Sharing: An exploration of host motivations and relationship building
Processing in Mega Food Parks: The Trials of a Technological Fix
Glittering Metropolis: Renewable Energy, Smart Grids, and Life beyond Oil in Jordan
The Relationship between International Missions and Post-Conflict Political Trust: Evidence from a Qualitative Analysis of Kosovo’s Newspaper Archives
Soldiers, Shovels and the State: Military Led State-Building and Civic Action in Post-Colonial Senegal
American Citizenship and the Welfare State
Weaponizing Nationalism: China’s Economic Coercion and Its Effectiveness
Capital Xenophobia, Trade Rationalization: Two Sides of the “China Shock”
The Financialization of Racialized Geographies: Real Estate Investment and Housing Insecurity in Kansas City
A qualitative exploration of factors that influence snacking behaviors among culturally diverse adolescents from New York City (NYC)
“Safe sex for insects” and other stories: How land-grant scientists configure and enact their roles in working with controversial biotechnologies
Uncovering the Face Mask: Mundane Governance, Ontology, and the Construction of Risk during the COVID-19 Pandemic
How International Students and Their Spouses use Technology to Communicate with their Families
Latinx immigrant families and housing instability
Prepare and Punish: Schooling and Discipline in the Black Belt
From Competition to Solidarity: Iranian & Syrian LGBTQ Refugee Meetings
Digital Technologies in Occupational Wellbeing: Designing for Teachers in Low-Income Indian Schools
Rejecting 5G: Alternative Arti/facts
Portable Rights for Migrant Workers: Bringing the Sending State Back Into the Local
The effects of decreasing access to a car
States of Mind: The development of Norwegian and Swedish mental health policy in comparative perspective
Previous Working Group Awards
Critical perspectives on the qualitative study of computational and information systems
Nationalism and Identity
Elite and Citizen Interviews in High-Risk Settings: Research Challenges and Teaching Opportunities
Cross-National Issues in Racial/Ethnic Inequality
Practicing Ethnography in Unprecedented Times
Studying Identities through a Creative Qualitative Lens
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.