Applying a project management approach to survey research projects that use qualitative methods

Mandy Sha, Jennifer Hunter Childs


A systematic approach to manage project processes is often a necessity on large and complex quantitative surveys (Weeks 2011; Piskurich 2012). However, the use of a project management approach is not well documented on survey research projects that use qualitative methods. This is possibly because qualitative research studies often do not involve a large sample and vary in the degree of structure. While less common than for quantitative studies, large and complex qualitative research studies are commissioned to provide an in-depth, ethnographic picture of topics that are not well understood by only looking at the “numbers.” Our efforts to apply and integrate a project management approach on a large qualitative research study (276 qualitative interviews; large team of interviewers and recruiters; complex recruitment and processes) offer an opportunity to estimate the impact of these efforts on the success of the study and on data quality. We also provide recommendations on project management for future qualitative research studies.


project management; Census coverage; qualitative research; PMP®

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