The Analysis of Qualitative Data With Peer Researchers: An Example From a Participatory Health Research Project

  • Ina Schaefer Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin
  • Gesine Bär Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin
  • the Contributors of the Research Project ElfE
Keywords: qualitative data analysis, grounded theory methodology, participatory health research, peer research


Even as experience in participatory research is increasing in German-speaking countries, participatory data analysis is still relatively new. In the context of the project ElfE—Parents Asking Parents, part of the PartKommPlus—Research Consortium for Healthy Communities, we describe the application of a participatory data analysis in which we use grounded theory methodology (GTM). GTM is compatible with participatory approaches to research: Even peer researchers without formal training in the social sciences can actively participate, due to the focus on concrete data and the process-oriented coding procedure. Other components of GTM present a challenge for participatory research.

The focus of ElfE was addressing issues of health equity for families with preschool children. In two communities, parents were recruited as peer researchers. The entire research process was developed and implemented in a participatory manner in research workshops. The research resulted in developing core messages for community members, practitioners, and parents. In this article, we describe a participatory analysis of qualitative data. We demonstrate that GTM can support the further development of participatory research. The use of GTM in participatory analysis requires limiting the data collection, proactively monitoring the analysis process, and defining the tasks conducted by academic researchers and peer researchers.


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Author Biographies

Ina Schaefer, Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

Ina SCHAEFER is a health scientist. She is currently employed as a research assistant at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. There, she conducts participative research with parents within the scope of the project ElfE – Parents Asking Parents.

Gesine Bär, Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

Prof. Dr. Gesine BÄR is a professor for participatory approaches in social and health sciences at the Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin. She directs the project ElfE and is also a speaker in the network PartNet – Participatory Health Research.

How to Cite
Schaefer, I., Bär, G., & Contributors of the Research Project ElfE, the. (2019). The Analysis of Qualitative Data With Peer Researchers: An Example From a Participatory Health Research Project. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(3).