Pathways toward qualitative research: The lived experience of counseling psychology graduates

Main Article Content

Chomphunut Srichannil


Qualitative research has currently become prominent in various fields, including that of counseling psychology. In recent years, qualitative research training has been offered in some counseling psychology graduate programs in Thailand and some existing studies have suggested that there is a link between qualitative research training offered and the number of qualitative research theses conducted. However, there is a paucity of research that specifically investigates counseling psychology graduates’ motivations of undertaking qualitative research, as such, it is not yet clear what actually influences the choice of undertaking a qualitative research thesis. Thus, one of the aim of this study was to address such knowledge gap. Five graduates of counseling psychology who completed a qualitative research thesis took part in semi-structured interviews and the interview transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Two superordinate themes in relation to motivations of undertaking qualitative research were identified. The first superordinate theme, ‘The influence of past research training environment’, demonstrated how participants’ previous research training background played a significant part in shaping their prior attitudes toward qualitative research. The second superordinate theme, ‘The significant role of qualitative research training’, detailed how qualitative research training served as a catalyst for the route toward qualitative thesis research. The results highlighted the need for qualitative research training to be a core element in research training in counseling psychology, not only for enhancing students’ interest and competence in qualitative research, but also for promoting methodological diversity and advancing psychological knowledge.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Articles


Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50(2): 179-211. [Online URL:] accessed on June 28, 2019.

American Psychological Association (2015). Commission on Accreditation: Implementing Regulations. [Online URL:] accessed on January 7, 2019.

Astramovich, R. L., Okech, J. E. A. and Hoskins, W. J. (2004). Counsellor educators' perceptions of their doctoral coursework in research methods. Guidance and Counselling 19(3): 124-131.

Brinkmann, S. (2015). Perils and potentials in qualitative psychology. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 49(2): 162-173. [Online URL:] accessed on January 10, 2019.

British Psychological Society. (2016). Standards for the Accreditation of Undergraduate, Conversion and Integrated Masters Programmes in Psychology. [Online URL:] accessed on January 7, 2019.

Eagly, A. H. and Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College.

Eagly, A. H. and Chaiken, S. (2007). The advantages of an inclusive definition of attitude. Social Cognition 25: 582-602. [Online URL:] accessed on February 19, 2020.

Flynn, S. V., Chasek, C. L., Harper, I. F., Murphy, K. M. and Jorgensen, M. F. (2012). A qualitative inquiry of the counseling dissertation process. Counselor Education and Supervision 51(4): 242-255. [Online URL:] accessed on January 15, 2019.

Gelso, C. J., Baumann, E. C., Chui, H. T. and Savela, A. E. (2013). The making of a scientist-psychotherapist: The research training environment and the psychotherapist. Psychotherapy 50(2): 139-149. [Online URL:] accessed on March 14, 2019.

Gunawan, J. (2016). Understanding culture in higher education in Thailand. Education for Health 29(2): 160-161. [Online URL:] accessed on November 25, 2020.

Jorgensen, M. F. and Duncan, K. (2015). A phenomenological investigation of master's-level counselor research identity development stages. The Professional Counselor 5(3): 327-340. [Online URL:] accessed on February 19, 2019.

Knox, S., Burkard, A. W., Janecek, J., Pruitt, N. T., Fuller, S. L. and Hill, C. E. (2011). Positive and problematic dissertation experiences: The faculty perspective. Counselling Psychology Quarterly 24(1): 55-69. [Online URL:] accessed on March 10, 2019.

Letourneau, J. L. H. (2015). Infusing qualitative research experiences into core counseling curriculum courses. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling 37(4): 375-389. [Online URL:] accessed on March 10, 2019.

Levitt, H. M. (2015). Qualitative psychotherapy research: The journey so far and future directions. Psychotherapy 52(1): 31-37. [Online URL:] accessed on January 15, 2019.

McLeod, J. (2011). Qualitative Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: SAGE Publishing.

Mitchell, T., Friesen, M., Friesen, D. and Rose, R. (2007). Learning against the grain: Reflections on the challenges and revelations of studying qualitative research methods in an undergraduate psychology course. Qualitative Research in Psychology 4(3): 227-240. [Online URL:] accessed on January 11, 2019.

Morrow, S. L. (2007). Qualitative research in counseling psychology: Conceptual foundations. The Counseling Psychologist 35(2): 209-235. [Online URL:] accessed on January 5, 2019.

Okech, J. E. A., Astramovich, R. L., Johnson, M. M., Hoskins, W. J. and Rubel, D. J. (2006). Doctoral research training of counselor education faculty. Counselor Education and Supervision 46(2): 131-145. [Online URL:] accessed on March 14, 2019.

Ponterotto, J. G. (2002). Qualitative research methods: The fifth force in psychology. The Counseling Psychologist 30(3): 394-406. [Online URL:] accessed on January 5, 2019.

Ponterotto, J. G. (2005). Integrating qualitative research requirements into professional psychology training programs in North America: Rationale and curriculum model. Qualitative Research in Psychology 2: 97-116. [Online URL:] accessed on January 5, 2019.

Povee, K. and Roberts, L. D. (2014). Qualitative research in psychology: Attitudes of psychology students and academic staff. Australian Journal of Psychology 66(1): 28-37. [Online URL:] accessed on January 7, 2019.

Reisetter, M., Korcuska, J. S., Yexley, M., Bonds, D., Nikels, H. and McHenry, W. (2004). Counselor educators and qualitative research: Affirming a research identity. Counselor Education and Supervision 44(1): 2-16. [Online URL:] accessed on February 10, 2019.

Riley, S., Brooks, J., Goodman, S., Cahill, S., Branney, P., Treharne, G. J. and Sullivan, C. (2019). Celebrations amongst challenges: Considering the past, present and future of the Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMiP) Section of the British Psychology Society. Qualitative Research in Psychology 16(3): 464-482. [Online URL:] accessed on January 5, 2019.

Roberts, L. D. and Castell, E. (2016). “Having to shift everything we’ve learned to the side”: Expanding research methods taught in psychology to incorporate qualitative methods. Frontiers in Psychology 7: 688. [Online URL:] accessed on January 7, 2019.

Roberts, L. D. and Povee, K. (2014). A brief measure of attitudes towards qualitative research in psychology. Australian Journal of Psychology 66(4): 249-256. [Online URL:] accessed on January 7, 2019.

Rubin, J. D., Bell, S. and McClelland, S. I. (2018). Graduate education in qualitative methods in U.S. psychology: current trends and recommendations for the future. Qualitative Research in Psychology 15(1): 29-50. [Online URL:] accessed on February 19, 2019.

Smith, J. A. (2011). Evaluating the contribution of interpretative phenomenological analysis. Health Psychology Review 5(1): 9-27. [Online URL:] accessed on January 5, 2019.

Smith, J. A., Flowers, P. and Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research. London: SAGE Publishing.

Srichannil, C. (2020). Counseling graduates’ experience of undertaking qualitative research: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Education Burapha University 31(1): 183-199.

Wiggins, S., Gordon-Finlayson, A., Becker, S. and Sullivan, C. (2016). Qualitative undergraduate project supervision in psychology: current practices and support needs of supervisors across North East England and Scotland. Qualitative Research in Psychology 13(1): 1-19. [Online URL:] accessed on January 9, 2019.