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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 

    • Many formative questions are best answered through qualitative research. In addition, funding agencies are seeking to build knowledge and new theory through interpretive data analysis. If your project would benefit from collaboration with a Cornell qualitative scholar Contact Us at We can assist with these connections.

    • Headshot of Lee HumphreysLee Humphreys, Director of QuIRI, Communication

      Headshot of Trevor PinchTrevor Pinch, STS and Sociology

      Headshot of Sharon SasslerSharon Sassler, Policy and Analysis Management

      Headshot of Linda ShiLinda Shi, City and Regional Planning

      Headshot of Marina WelkerMarina Welker, Anthropology

    • 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

    • 1-2pm, March 5, 2021

      Zoom link

      This is a social hour to get to know other members of the QuIRI community. You can meet with the QuIRI leadership if you have any questions about the small research grant program (applications due 3/15/21). You can meet with previous recipients of the grant program as well as people across the university who care about qualitative methods.

    • 1-2pm, April 16, 2021

      Zoom link

      Jane Powers and Amanda Purington from BCTR ACT for Youth, will discuss best practices of focus group research. Participants will 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 will be discussed.

    • 1-2pm, May 14, 2021

      Zoom link

      In this seminar, we will hear 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 will discuss what key issues they explored and share important insights that emerged from their work together.

    • Software for Qualitative Research

      February 22, 2021

      Florio Arguillas and Lynda Kellam from CCSS CISER 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 CISER, 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 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 after 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. All materials should be compiled into a single pdf for submission here. Spring applications are due March 15th, 2021.

    • 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 early fall 2021 for the 21-22 academic year.

    • Award given to a faculty member who demonstrates innovation on the development, usage, or teaching of qualitative methods. Please submit a CV and cover letter, explaining the innovative collaboration, project, course, or workshop as well as a letter of support from a colleague or supervisor. Submissions and letters can be sent directly to QuIRI Director Lee Humphreys at

      Materials are due March 15, 2021.

      Winner will receive a $500 honorarium.

  • Summer Methods Insitute

    The QuIRI Summer Methods Institute is a 3-day workshop for Cornell social science researchers to introduce them to qualitative methods. It is intended for Cornell PI-eligible faculty & staff who are interested in developing basic understandings and approaches to qualitative and interpretive methods. It is tentatively scheduled June 14th - 16, 2021.

Featured QuIRI Researcher

Headshot of Maureen Waller


 Maureen Waller

 Position, Unit: 

  Professor, Department of Policy Analysis & Management and Sociology (by courtesy)

 Years at Cornell:

  18 years




In my recent project, I conducted:

Qualitative interviews to understand why some disadvantaged parents were more likely to seek help from the family court system than others. I found that some parents framed family court as intrusive and opted to stay away from court to avoid unwanted scrutiny by the child welfare and criminal justice systems. In contrast, other parents framed family court as protective of their families and sought legal help when their child’s custody was ambiguous, their child’s safety was threatened, or their status in public programs was at stake. One thing that surprised me was that parents were often involved with multiple state systems that shared information with family court and made decisions about whether to engage with or avoid the legal system from a position of institutional intersectionality.

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.

One of my favorite research projects involved:

Qualitative research with a sub-sample of participants in national longitudinal study because I had the opportunity to follow disadvantaged families over time than and use qualitative information to interpret what we were finding in the survey.

In the next year I look forward to:

Interviewing people in New York who have had their drivers licenses suspended for large legal debts owed to the state and the attorneys involved in these cases.

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