In this article, we present a project that explored the application of an established qualitative methodology to a novel source of data: microblog postings on the social media platform Twitter, also known as tweets. In particular, we adapted Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR; Hill, Thompson, & Williams, 1997) for use in this analysis. The coinciding aim of the project was to study the cultural impasses that seemed to characterize U.S. society surrounding the 2016 presidential election. Publicly available tweets bearing the hashtag #2A were selected for examination; this hashtag indicated the user’s intention to direct the posting to the attention of Twitter users in the context of the Second Amendment, which refers to citizens’ right to bear arms. The article describes the process by which CQR was modified for this use, profiles the exploratory findings, and present suggestions for subsequent similar research undertakings.


Social Media, Twitter, Consensual Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Laura Smith is a professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Laila Abdel-Salam and Randolph Scott-McLaughlin are doctoral candidates in that program. Molly Coyne, Courtney McVicar, and Divya Robin are graduates of the Teachers College Ed.M. Program in Psychological Counseling. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Laura Smith at ls2396@tc.columbia.edu.


We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our research team members, especially coordinator Ranjana Srinivasan, to the completion of this study. The latter four co-authors contributed equally to the manuscript, and are listed in alphabetical order.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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