Analytical Pluralism in Qualitative Research: A Meta-Study

Nicola J. Clarke, Martin E. H. Willis, Jemima S. Barnes, Nick Caddick, John Cromby, Hilary Mcdermott, Gareth Wiltshire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (SciVal)


Recent interest in analytical pluralism—the application of more than one qualitative analytical method to a single data set—has demonstrated its potential to produce multiple, complex, and varied understandings of phenomena. However, tensions remain regarding the commensurability of findings produced from diverse theoretical frameworks, the practical application of multiple methods of analysis, and the capacity of pluralism to contribute to knowledge in psychology. This study addresses these issues through a critical interpretation of existing qualitative studies that utilized analytical pluralism. Using a meta-study design, we examined the use of theory, application of methods, and production of findings in studies that had adopted qualitative analytical pluralism. Following comprehensive database searches, ten articles were included in the analysis. Epistemological and ontological considerations, the influence of decisions made in the practical application of pluralism, and approaches to interpreting findings produced from multiple analyses are discussed, and implications for future research are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-201
Number of pages20
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date19 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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