This article describes the use of an experiential classroom exercise using the card game Set® to introduce concepts related to qualitative approaches to research design and analysis, particularly those based in an interpretive framework. The multiple components of the game, which centers on visual pattern recognition, parallel the “organic” complexity of ethnographic investigation and demonstrate how strong interpretations can be supported with qualitative evidence. The first author adapted the exercise, originally developed by the second author for teaching undergraduate anthropology students, for use in workshops teaching qualitative research to mid - career professionals working on health - related projects in Bolivia. In the process the first author discovered that the game was also useful in team - building in a workshop setting, providing a base of shared experience to which participants could refer as they grappled with the intellectual and emotional issues that arose while designing their own research projects and discovering the system and rigor of qualitative data analysis. An unanticipated finding was the exercise’s usefulness in demonstrating the distinction between and complementarity of inductive and deductive approaches in qualitative research.


Qualitative Research, Qualitative Data Analysis, Experiential Learning, Simulation Exercise, Teaching

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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