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Qualitative Data Analysis for Applied Policy Research

Ritchie Jane & Spencer Liz

The last two decades have seen a notable growth in the use of qualitative methods for applied social policy research. Qualitative research is now used to explore and understand a diversity of social and public policy issues, either as an independent research strategy or in combination with some form of statistical inquiry. The wider use of qualitative methods has come about for a number of reasons but is underpinned by the persistent requirement in social policy fields to understand complex behaviours, needs, systems and cultures. ‘Framework’, the analytic approach described in this chapter, was developed in the context of conducting applied qualitative research. It was initiated in a specialist qualitative research unit based within an independent social research institute (Social and Community Planning Research [SCPR]). The work of the institute spans all areas of social and public policy and is undertaken on behalf of central or local government, voluntary organizations, ...

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