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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.

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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 this panel.

      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.

  • 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 June 14-16, 2021. 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 due May 17, 2021. Apply here.

  • 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 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. Alternatively, your committee chair may send the letter to our director at All materials should be compiled into a single pdf for submission here. Spring applications are due March 15th, 2021 and will be reviewed by a member of our leadership team.

    • 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.

    • 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.


Featured QuIRI Researcher

Headshot of Amelia Greiner Safi

 Amelia Greiner Safi

 Positions, Units: 

  Senior Research Associate, Department of Communication;

  Core Faculty, MPH Program, Department of Population Medicine & Diagnostic Science

 Years at Cornell: 6 

In my recent project, I:

worked with a large team trying to understand and address structural racism in health care locally; we’re interviewing providers and frontline staff on their practices and observations and conducting focus groups with patients who have been discriminated against. 

One important finding was:

while preliminary, there are so many good ideas from all our various participant groups on things to change – from language people use, to how scheduling happens and policies around no-shows – so there’s an increasingly clear view of what needs to be addressed.

Two things that surprised me were:

how many people – even if they believe structural racism in healthcare is an issue  – don’t believe it is happening where they work; and secondly, the need for there to be interventions not just for the doctors and nurses, but for everyone who interacts with a patient.

My favorite qualitative methods books and articles are:

from Michael Q. Patton’s body of work, like Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods.

In the next year I look forward to:

working with my various collaborators and partners on several other qualitative projects addressing racism in health care, other dimensions of health disparities (i.e. barriers to cancer screenings), and how several sites around the country consider equity when addressing consequences of flooding (i.e. relocations, buyouts, restoration). I also want to do a better job of talking about this work with my students, in terms of topical focus, but also the role qualitative methods play.


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