Why use qualitative methods? What kinds of questions can qualitative methods help you answer? How do you actually do rigorous and reflective qualitative research in the real world? Written by a team of leading researchers associated with NatCen Social Research (the National Centre for Social Research) this textbook leads students and researchers through the entire process of qualitative research from beginning to end - moving through design, sampling, data collection, analysis and reporting. In this fully revised second edition you will find: a practical account of how to carry out qualitative research which recognises a range of current approaches and applications; a brand new chapter on ethics; a brand new chapter on observational research; updated advice on using software when analysing your qualitative data; and new case studies which illustrate issues you may encounter and how problems have been tackled by other researchers. This book is an ideal guide for students, practitioners and researchers faced with the challenges of doing qualitative research in both applied and academic settings in messy real-life contexts.