Qualitative resources

Over time, I’ve gotten a few requests for qualitative research assistance. I am by no means an expert! What I don’t know could probably fill an entire book (and, fortunately, there are textbooks out there). Regardless, I thought I’d collect my thoughts together in one place, just for reference and anyone who’s interested.

Data collection

When I was first beginning qualitative research, I found this video series to be a useful overview: Yale Public Health’s YouTube.

Analytic approaches

There are many qualitative research methods. For example, there are traditional methods of qualitative analyses (such as interviewing and observing in the field), computer-assisted text analysis (for example, using programs to help mine and parse words), and quantitative and econometric analyses (which can be algorithmic and even more computer-based). Ultimately, the approach you use should always be driven by your research question.

The rest of this post will assume that you are personally trying to extract themes/coding from text data.

For most applications, I would recommend beginning with content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005), which has a very practical implementation style. The thematic analysis approach (Braun & Clarke, 2012) is also one that we’ve used in previous studies.

Most people are familiar with grounded theory when they first begin looking into qualitative research (review by Heath & Cowley here). While grounded theory is very powerful for understanding and developing theories, it is usually “overkill” for the types of projects I encounter. There are now different camps on grounded theory (e.g., Strauss and Corbin vs. Glaser) and it can be a more nuanced, abstract and time-intensive process than other methods.

No matter your approach, I would advise a few things:

  1. If you are an academic, review several qualitative articles in your target journals to see how methods and findings are reported. Standards and norms vary between fields.
  2. There are many ways to cut the cake, so to speak. The most important thing is to clearly identify, and intentionally apply, the exact approach you choose. Document carefully the steps that you are following in your process.


In the past, I have conducted analyses by hand and used spreadsheets to help (don’t underestimate the power of Excel!). However, most days now I use qualitative data analysis software. While not necessary, they can be very powerful. I know researchers who have used nVivo and other programs, but I’ve always used Atlas.TI. This was not a conscious preference; I just “grew up” on it and still like it. Atlas.TI offers student pricing for those who can send in proof of enrollment. They have different packages available to clients based on industry, including education.


Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. American Psychological Association.

Heath, H., & Cowley, S. (2004). Developing a grounded theory approach: a comparison of Glaser and Strauss. International Journal of Nursing Studies41(2), 141-150.

Hsieh, H. F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative health research15(9), 1277-1288.


Affiliation evolution

You may have noticed a title change.

As of August 2022, I am no longer an Assistant Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at City University of New York, Baruch College.

I am now an Assistant Professor of Management in the Marilyn Davies College of Business at the University of Houston – Downtown.

As some of you may know, shortly after accepting my position at Baruch in December 2020, two things happened: the pandemic hit and I met my now-husband (conveniently, also an academic). Because of these twin comets, I remained living in Houston while commuting to NYC regularly. We were in the unenviable position of having a two-body problem. Fortunately, when the University of Houston – Downtown’s management program reached out to me, they presented a rare opportunity to balance my work and life priorities.

It is not lost on me how lucky I am to move from one dream job to another. I can continue to work with a minority-serving institution, teaching and doing the work that I love, in a supportive environment. I am thrilled that I can also be in the same place as my partner and (very importantly) dog. I wish the same good fortune for all aspiring professors and faculty on the job market.

Dr. Dinh.

You may have noticed that (a) I haven’t updated my professional blog in some time, and (b) that I am now posting from a new site affiliation.

I am now a Ph.D. and Assistant Professor of Psychology.

I am imminently starting a tenure-track position at the City University of New York, Baruch College. The past year on the job market and dissertating has been a whirlwind of an experience. I could not have asked for a better outcome. I am so excited to be joining a supportive academic community that shares my goals, values, and ethos.

At the same time, my incredibly lucky timing is not lost upon me. I accepted the position in December (and kept it quiet for months, scared of jinxing it). I hadn’t known that a global pandemic, sociocultural strife, and an economic recession would soon befall us. I am very grateful to be where I am, and hope to use my good fortune to help others during these unpredictable times.

Small Group Research

My co-authors and I are thrilled to announce we have a forthcoming article in Small Group Research! We conducted a systematic review, coding 1,818 articles on healthcare teamwork. Our findings helped characterized how multiple disciplines are studying teamwork processes within medicine. You may find the article here.


Dinh, J. V., Traylor, A. M., Kilcullen, M. P., Perez, J. A., Schweissing, E. J., Venkatesh, A., Salas, E. (2019). Cross-disciplinary care: A systematic review on teamwork processes in healthcare. Small Group Research. doi:10.1177/1046496419872002

The Journal of Graduate Medical Education

Our brief report has just been published by The Journal of Graduate Medical Education, the official publication of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Our study used archival data from the National Resident Match Program (NRMP) to demonstrate trends in new generations of physicians. Specifically, it shows that applicants to residency are increasingly valuing diversity. I am especially excited about this work as it helps quantify the worth of diversity in medicine. The article is available at this link.


Dinh, J. V., & Salas, E. (2019, June). Prioritization of diversity during residency matching: Trends for a new workforce. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 11, 319-323.

SIOP 2019

SIOP is always a great place to reconnect with fellow IO psychologists and cross-pollinate research ideas. This year, I presented three posters on topics:

  • A mixed-methods study on the differences between demographic groups in patient trust and satisfaction,
  • A meta-analysis on cultural training effectiveness, and
  • A two-study project examining factors related to volunteerism after Hurricane Harvey.

One of the true conference highlights was cheering on my friends and colleagues at Rice, who were recognized for their outstanding work: Denise Reyes, Christy Nittrouer, and Evan Mulfinger!

NSF GRFP mentorship 2019

It’s been three years since I started coaching and mentoring Graduate Research Fellowship Program applicants through Rice University’s Center for Written, Oral, & Visual Communication. This year, I am thrilled to announce that several students with whom I worked have been recognized by the National Science Foundation! It’s been an honor to be a small part of their journeys.

Congratulations to new GRFP Fellows Katie Brown (first year in Bioengineering), Constantinos Chamzas (first year in Robotics and Computer Vision), Gebhard Keny (second year in Cultural Anthropology), and Felix Wu (graduating Psychology undergraduate), and honorably mentioned students Izzy Bilotta (first year in Industrial/Organizational Psychology) and Hana Jaafari (second year in Biophysics)!

The Southern Management Association’s doctoral consortium

I recently returned from the Southern Management Association’s annual meeting, where I participated in a doctoral consortium. Alongside my labmate Allison Traylor, I was one of a few dozen graduate students who were selected and awarded a small stipend for this career development workshop. We packed our bags and headed to Allison’s home state of Kentucky.

Throughout a day of sessions, faculty members provided insight into a successful academic career in management. SMA offered different levels of consortia, depending on your progress in the doctoral program. I participated in the “late stage” version as a fourth year student, while Allison, in her second year, attended the “early stage” one. We really enjoyed the sessions, particularly the “Ask the Editors” panel (and not just because they mentioned the strong work of Rice’s faculty and alumni). I recommend this to fellow grad students interested in business schools, and will be seeking out similar developmental opportunities in the future!

People + Strategy

A view of George R. Brown Convention Center on the first full day following Harvey.

On August 27, 2017, I found myself driving through the dark and flooded streets of Houston. My significant other and I were on our way to volunteer at an emergency shelter. Once we arrived, we became two of hundreds of people — not only those seeking refuge from Hurricane Harvey, but also fellow community members rushing in to help. It made me wonder how organizational psychology could assist volunteer efforts in times of need.

A little more than a year later, these passing thoughts yielded a publication: a review of leadership practices that can help during crises. You can find “Steering Through the Storm” at People + Strategy, the professional journal of the Society for Human Resources Management’s Executive Network, HR People + Strategy. Rice News wrote a press release, which you can view at this link.

This personal experience and professional work has sparked an interest in humanitarian research, particularly as it relates to crisis management and prosocial behavior. More to follow!


Dinh, J. V., & Salas, E. (2018, October). Steering through the storm: Leading organizations during crisis. People + Strategy, 41(4), 22-27.

NSF GRFP citation styles

As an NSF coach, one of the most frequently asked questions I received is, “How do I cite things?” Because there is no formal convention, students have a lot of leeway here. To this end, I always recommend using the most economic citation format — you want to maximize real estate for your actual statement writing. Below, I detail my method, which by no means is required or even necessarily recommended; you can and should explore options and norms in your field. This is just what worked for me.

In-text citations: I personally used superscript numbers in the body of my statement. I assigned a number to each reference as it occurred in the statement, starting with 1,2,3, etc.; if the same reference was cited later in the statement, I would label it with the same number that it had originally been given.

References section: Here, I decreased the font size from 12-point to 10-point. Note (September 2020): The NSF application now requires a font size of 11 or greater for the References section! Please adhere to these guidelines (and always read the most up-to-date solicitation) to make sure you don’t get disqualified for minor reasons.

I then plugged in only the essentials for each reference:

  • Author(s)’s information: last name; first and middle initials. If there were more than six authors, I only included the first author’s information and added “et al” afterward.
  • The abbreviated name of the journal, if it’s in a publication
  • The year of publication

My references section ended up looking like this:

References: 1. Beach, M. C. et al. Med. Care (2005). 2. Smedley, A. R., Stith. A., & Nelson, A. R. (The National Academies Press, 2003). 3. Hebl, M. R. & Xu, J. J. Int. Assoc. Study Obes. (2001). 4. Paasche-Orlow, M. (2004). 5. Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., Carrillo, J. E. & Ananeh-Firempong, O. Public Health Rep. (2003). 6. Salas, E., Tannenbaum, S. I., Kraiger, K. & Smith-Jentsch, K. A. Psychol. Sci. Public Interest (2012). 7. Corbin, J. & Strauss, A. (SAGE Publications, Inc, 2007). 8. Bhandari, M. et al. Acad. Med. J. Assoc. Am. Med. Coll. (2003). 9. Olguín Olguín, D. (MIT, 2007). 10. King, H. B. et al. (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US), 2008). 11. Weld, L. R. et al. Am. J. Med. Qual. (2015).

An obvious note: This may also mean forgoing the normal reference style within the field. In my case, the American Psychological Association (APA)’s format would have taken up substantially more space than this strategy. It seems reviewers understand the name of the game!