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Faculty Knowledge Essentials

Qualitative Research Primer: Using Narrative Data in Your Teaching-as-Research Project Part of the series Teaching-as-Research Programming 2017-2018

Teaching-as-Research involves taking a deliberate and systematic approach to investigating, reflecting on, and improving one’s own teaching. Some of the best information about your teaching and its impact on student learning can come from the words of students themselves (such as responses to surveys, in-class writing prompts, or exam questions). If you come from a research tradition that emphasizes quantitative data, as is the case in many STEM disciplines, you may not know where to start in analyzing and interpreting the narrative data provided by your students’ writing.

This workshop is designed for participants from quantitative research backgrounds who are working on a Teaching-as-Research project (in the planning, implementation, or analysis phase), who have collected or have plans to collect narrative data, and are unsure how to go about analyzing such data. This workshop will provide a brief overview of qualitative research methods, elucidate the differences between quantitative and qualitative research, and introduce the iterative process of coding narrative data. Participants will work on coding narrative data individually and in teams, and formulate a plan for using what they have learned in their Teaching-as-Research project.

After completing both sessions of this workshop, learners will have the skills and abilities to: 

  • Describe qualitative approaches to research and how they differ from quantitative approaches Identify and articulate research contexts in which qualitative approaches are appropriate and well-suited
  • Identify and describe data collection methods in qualitative research designs
  • Conduct preliminary coding of narrative data
  • Formulate and articulate preliminary results based on initial coding

Workshop Schedule

This workshop has two online sessions, and participants are required to attend both.

Sessions are Tuesday October 10 and 24, at 4:30-6:30PM ET / 3:30-5:30PM CT / 2:30-4:30PM MT / 1:30-3:30PM PT. 

Workload Between the two workshop sessions, participants may be asked to complete additional readings, watch additional videos, and contribute to a forum on the workshop Moodle site.

Registration & Enrollment

This workshop is open for registration from Monday, September 18 through Monday, October 2. The workshop is limited to 30 participants; STEM/SBE grad students and postdocs from CIRTL institutions receive priority. CIRTL staff refer to the institution and discipline in your website profile when assessing priority.

Learning Outcomes



  • Develop and execute a Teaching-as-Research plan for a limited teaching and learning project.
  • Describe how to access the literature and existing knowledge about teaching and learning issues, in a discipline or more broadly. 


Jessica Beck

Oregon State University

Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Development

Radhika Viruru

Texas A&M University

Clinical Professor, Teaching, Learning, and Culture 

Denise Pope

CIRTL Central

Teaching-as-Research Program Coordinator