Table 1

Organization of qualitative research and qualitative data collection teams

Phase of researchRoles for local research teamRoles for technical expert/qualitative research manager
1. Preparation for data collection
  • Identifying and gathering information on study sites and topic of interest

  • Introducing study to leaders of study communities

  • Attending training

  • Practicing interviews

  • Practicing use of transcription software

  • Situating the study and site within the context of existing literature

  • Acquiring permission letters and introducing the study and research purpose to national-level gatekeepers

  • Leading training on qualitative research including types of methods, interviewing techniques (probing etc.), management of qualitative data, research ethics, transcription software

  • Overseeing and critiquing practice interviews

  • Refining tools after pilot

2. Data collection
  • Conducting interviews, focus groups and observations

  • Taking notes during data collection, audiotaping, uploading audio files routinely

  • Memoing and sharing reflexive notes

  • Conveying findings during routine debriefings

  • Identifying new lines of inquiry

  • Triangulating findings with fellow team members

  • Rehearsing presentation of preliminary findings

  • Observing data collection (ensuring privacy, consent, troubleshooting logistical and scientific challenges)

  • Collecting data (when language permits)

  • Writing field notes

  • Leading debriefing sessions (including taking notes during debriefings)

  • Developing and refining theories via debriefing sessions

  • Comparing findings with existing literature

  • Guiding teams in terms of new lines of inquiry

  • Conveying emerging findings to principal investigator(s) (PI) and broader research team

  • Responding to PI and study team suggestions on how to refine or further explore lines of inquiry

  • Uploading and organizing data files

  • Developing slide deck of preliminary findings

3. Transcription and translation
  • Transcribing and translating audio files

  • Organizing data files—aligning audio files with cover sheets

  • Assigning transcriptions

  • Assigning translations

  • Providing feedback on quality of transcripts and translations (with support of bilingual research assistants)

4. Analysis
  • Completing summary questionnaires on each interview

  • Coding

  • Memo writing

  • Designing summary questionnaires

  • Designing coding framework

  • Providing feedback on coding and memo writing

  • Coding (when language permits)

5. Write-up
  • Writing up findings into a report

  • Writing report that responds to program/donor/ministry question

  • Identifying findings that speak to broader debates in the literature

  • Publishing findings in peer-reviewed journals