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A community for qualitative researchers.

  • Woman researcher gazing up towards QuIRI logo

QuIRI brings together researchers from across Cornell who are teaching, employing, and developing rigorous qualitative research methodologies. The qualitative and interpretive social science faculty at Cornell University are 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 a number of 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 PhD students to support various kinds 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 who are interested in incorporating qualitative methods into their research programs. See tabs above for more details.


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

    • Lee Humphreys

      Lee Humphreys, Director of QuIRI, Communication


      Headshot of Trevor Pinch

      Trevor Pinch, STS and Sociology


      Headshot of Sharon Sassler

      Sharon Sassler, Policy and Analysis Management


      Headshot of Linda Shi

      Linda Shi, City and Regional Planning


      Marina Welker

      Marina Welker, Anthropology

    • 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 body of 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 really think in terms of favorites most of the time, but 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

    • Integrating Qualitative Social Science and Storytelling for Global Impact

      1-2pm Dec 10 

      Register Here

      Raul Roman ‘04, PhD Founder & Executive Director,

      In this seminar, Dr. Raul Roman will describe his work integrating qualitative social science and storytelling in his work around the world for clients such as the World Bank.


    • 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 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

      Come and 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, in which 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 that were 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 that emerged from their work together. View the presentation. 

      Focus Groups and Best Practices

      April 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 and construct questions, as well as prepare for and conduct focus groups. Tips for transcription, data management and data analysis strategies also discussed. View this presentation. View materials from this presentation.

      Software for Qualitative Research

      February 22, 2021

      Florio Arguillas and Lynda Kellam from CCSS present about various kinds of software that can be useful for qualitative research. They discuss tools for collecting qualitative data through recording and transcription software as well as note taking software. They discuss tools for analyzing qualitative data and the key differences between different 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

      December 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

      October 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

      October 9, 2020

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

  • Grants and Awards

    • The CCSS QuIRI Small Grants Program is intended to provide up to $2,000.00 in funding for qualitative research expenses (such as equipment, transcription, and participant compensation, publishing costs, etc.) to Cornell faculty, post-docs, & doctoral students in the social sciences. Projects  which may lead to other funding or help move a project to completion and / or publication will be given priority. Doctoral students must be post A-exam to receive a grant. Grad students can apply pre-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 intended to help qualitative faculty in their research. 

      Application should include name, rank, department(s)/unit(s), project title, 500-word description of the project, budget, and budget justification. If you are a grad student, please also include a letter of support from your PhD committee chair. Alternatively, your committee chair may send the letter to our director at All materials should be compiled into a single pdf for submission. Applications will open early spring with a due date of March 14, 2022. 

    • Martin Abbott, Science and Technology Studies

      Organizing Irresponsibility? Redrawing Nature with Magic and Maps

      Trevor Brown, Government 

      Democracy Deindustrialized?: The Political Economy of the Fall of Industry and the Rise of the Service Economy, 1960-2019

      Fernando Delgado, Information Science

      Sociotechnical Design and Governance in Automated Legal Discovery

      Kate Dickin, Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

      Proyecto MESA: Exploring the food insecurity experiences of Latino families

      Alex Dyzenhaus, Government

      Conceptions of Justice: Obstacles to Land Restitution in South Africa’s Putfontein Community

      Naomi Egel, Government

      Regulating Destruction: the Politics of Multilateral Weapons Governance

      Elizabeth Fox, Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences   

      Buy or Brown Bag? School Lunch Program Use in Tompkins County Schools

      Thalia Gerzso, Government

      Judicial Resistance: The Role of Courts in Electoral Disputes

      Ashley Heim, Physics

      Measuring critical thinking in ecology and physics: What influences students’ abilities to make comparisons?

      Emily Hillenbrand, Developmental Sociology

      Engaging Men in Shifting Masculinities in Burundi

      Jess Hohenstein, Information Science

      Developing a Complete Framework for the Social Effects of AI in Communication

      Eun A Jo, Government

      Narrating Enemies in World Politics

      Joseph Lasky, Government

      Shadows and Silence: Identity and Legacies of Cameroon’s Hidden War

      Christine Leuenberger, Science & Technology Studies

      From Africa’s Great Lake Region to Maine: The experiences of East African immigrants in the Eastern U.S.

      Jen Liu, Information Science

      Understanding the impact of climate change on networked infrastructures in vulnerable coastal communities in south Louisiana 

      Mary Beth Morrissey, Sociology

      Situating Friendship in Middle-Class Emerging Adulthood

      Hui-Yuan Neo, Government

      Revolution from the Ivory Tower?: The Knowledge Economy and Political Destabilization in Authoritarian Regimes

      Eleanor Paynter, Einaudi Center for International Studies, Migrations Initiative

      The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Migrant Precarity and Decision-Making in Italy

      Juhwan Seo, Sociology

      Queering the American Family: Same-Sex Couples and the Marriage Green Card Process

    • 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. Groups may be themed around specific methods, analytical approaches, as well as software and methods training. Groups may also explore theoretical or empirical synergies. Groups should include 4 to 5 members per group including the faculty leader and ideally represent at least two different departments/units. There may be doctoral students in the group, but it must be led by a faculty member. Each group member will receive up to $500 for research materials / equipment, participant compensation, software, etc. Applications will open Fall 2022.

    • 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 important work. Professor Ziewitz will be sharing about his project at the CCSS QuIRI Seminar Series in Fall 2021. 

      Headshot of Malte Ziewitz

      The QuIRI Innovation Award is given to a Cornell faculty member who demonstrates innovation on the development, usage, or teaching of qualitative methods. 

      Applications are now closed. Next application cycle will be in Spring 2022. 

      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

      Winners receive a $500 honorarium.


  • Summer Methods Institute

    • This two and a half day introductory workshop is intended for Cornell PI-eligible faculty and staff in the social sciences, medicine, engineering, and related fields:

      1. who want to incorporate qualitative methods into their research program
      2. who may have started employing qualitative methods but have limited formal training
      3. who are looking to build their knowledge of qualitative methodological literature

      The workshop will be held virtually in summer 2022. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to: 

      • Explain when qualitative research is useful, and when it is not
      • Identify sampling, access issues, and practices in qualitative research
      • Describe basic data collection processes and tools, specifically relevant for focus groups, interviews, observations, textual analysis, and ethnography
      • Comprehend basic interpretive data analysis procedures and software
      • Evaluate trustworthy qualitative research by examining ethics, validity, reliability, and generalizability

      Priority will be given to PI-eligible faculty, but if there is room in the class, professional research staff and others may be considered. The workshop will be limited to 15 participants. 

      Applications will be due in spring.

Featured QuIRI Researcher

  • Headshot of Alexandra Blackman

Alexandra Blackman

Positions, Units: 

Assistant Professor, Government

Years at Cornell: 2

In my recent project, I:

conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of mayors from Tunisia’s municipalities.

One important finding was:

That there is a relatively strong census among municipal council members around what local issues are the most important (roads and trash/environmental management).

One thing that surprised me was:

The degree to which these municipal councils focused on local, technical issues, without much influence from national partisan politics.

My favorite qualitative methods book and article is :

Democracy in Translation: Understanding Politics in an Unfamiliar Culture (Frederic Charles Schaffer). 

In the next year I look forward to:

Developing these interviews into two articles!


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