SOCL 2211: Guide for the Qualitative Covid-19 Project

This is a brief overview; further guidance will be offered in class (as well as lectures on qualitative research and your textbook). Please also see the description on the class webpage for other details. Another source of assistance is a crowd-sourced document that came out at the beginning of Covid, titled “Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic”. This document has a lot of good info about conducting qualitative research under our current circumstances. Take a look at the table of contents to see what it covers.

rev. 1/15/2023

As the name implies, qualitative research describes the qualities of things. It is important to provide “thick” (detailed) descriptions of the people and things being studied. Crucially, the main goal of qualitative research goes beyond describing the group being studied. Qualitative research should try to discover or document significant things with regards to the group being studied or the topic being investigated. The goal of this project is to show how the Coronavirus crisis affects different people according to their different circumstances. To do this, you will want to compare and contrast the statements of the different interviewees. Your report should include both detailed, in depth observations, and also a discussion of the context in which each interviewee lives and how it affects him/her.


DATA ANALYSIS. Firstly, you will need to break down your raw qualitative data (i.e., your recorded interviews) into a form that can be analyzed. This is called coding. The following are suggested procedures for analysis.

Transcribing interviews. Generally, the first step here is transcribing the interviews in entirety. Your report should include important quotes (quotes that demonstrate important things you found), so some amount of transcription will be done. The amount of transcribing you do is up to you.

Participant information table. This is a suggestion for another way to break down your raw data. Make a table to organize information about your participants. This will help to compare and contrast peoples’ various life circumstances and their statements. The table below is a short example. Yours could include many more columns, and likely with more detailed information (like quotes of responses to a particular question). 


Interview Code (see above)

Pseudonym or Name





Full time or part time, still working?







college student (has no job)








College professor

Full, still working







Grocery store cashier

Part time, still working



Billy Bob





Full, still working



Suzy Mac




Tech startup Co.

Full, laid off after outbreak.



Important: After your data has been broken down into a manageable form, you will begin to categorize it. Categorization refers to grouping your coded data points. Categories come together to form “themes”. Themes are higher-level categories; a grouping of lower-level categories. These themes may follow along the lines of the interview protocol, and/or you may develop your own themes.


Themes & categories table. Below is a simple example of the sort of table you could make to help you organize your codes, categories, and themes. Yours would include more themes and categories. (note: this is a made-up example).  


Major categories

Minor categories

Business vs. public health

Essential jobs

R works an “essential” job but believes it’s not essential.

R works an “essential” job and believes it is essential.

Lack of masks/prevention at an essential job.

Finding work amid the outbreak

R laid off after outbreak

R was having trouble finding a job before the outbreak


Remember: the exact procedures you use to analyze your data is up to you. Qualitative research often involves making this sort of judgement.




Grading Rubric


Introduction (introduce and outline your paper)


Methodology (describe your sample, data collection, methods of analysis & process of developing themes)


Results (analysis of interviews & other data)


Discussion (An argument or interpretation that is informed by your results)


Conclusion (suggest how your findings relate to the wider society, expand on your ideas, limitations of the study, future work)


Potential extra credit for going above and beyond our expectations!

**for additional help see the example reports on the class website. They can help you understand how to write a qualitative paper.


If you need help with any aspect of analyzing the interviews and writing the report, be sure to ask us. That’s what we’re here for, and that’s the whole point of the project!




Include an appendix at the end of your COVID-19 report. This will allow readers to get a picture of what was said in each of your interviews.

Instructions: For each interview, write 1 page that chronologically details the content of the interview. Use bullet points and provide timestamps. Write about the major points of discussion and note points where you found your themes. Include any quotes given in your report. There is a simplified example given on the following page.




Interview cv200420mtiger12e: Suzy Mac

Interview outline:


·         Reading informed content script


·         R describes their family life in detail.

o   Suzy: “Although the virus is frightening, it has brought my family closer together.”

·         Family life is a major theme.


·         R does not work. She stays home with the kids. R talks more about family life.


·         R describes contact with extended family members and church members.


·         R describes the community assistance their church is providing and her role in it.

·         Community assistance is a major theme.


(your appendix pages should have more detail)