This paper reports on the first stage of a meta-study conducted by the authors on primary research published during the last thirty years that focused on discovering the experiences of students learning qualitative research. The authors carried out a meta-analysis of the findings of students’ experiences learning qualitative research included in twenty-five published articles. Using constructivist grounded theory to analyze the experience of those seeking to learn qualitative research, including factors that appear to support or interfere with their learning experiences, the authors identified three key dimensions of qualitative research students’ learning experiences—affective, cognitive, and experiential. Based on this analysis, the authors developed a grounded theory of qualitative research education. This theory suggests that students’ learning experiences will be enhanced through the implementation of an inductive approach to qualitative research education that incorporates experiential learning early in the learning experience. This paper reports these findings, presents this grounded theory of inductive qualitative research education, and discusses the implications of the findings of this meta-analysis for those teaching and researching qualitative research.


Qualitative Research, Student Experience, Learning, Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, Constructivist Grounded Theory

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