An RQDA-based constructivist methodology for qualitative research


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55 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Qualitative research suffers from “contestation” and a lack of “boilerplate” problems to assessing and presenting qualitative data, which have hampered its development and the broader acceptance of qualitative research. This paper aims to address this gap by marrying the constructivist methodology and RQDA, a relatively new open-source computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS)-based R extension and demonstrate how the software can increase the rigor, transparency and validity of qualitative research. 

Design/methodology/approach: This paper highlights the constructivist approach as an important paradigm in qualitative research and demonstrates how it can be operationalized and enhanced using RQDA. It provides a technical and methodological review of RQDA, along with its main strengths and weaknesses, in relation with two popular CAQDAS tools, ATLAS.ti and NVivo. Using samples of customer-generated e-complaints and e-praises in the electronics/computer sector, this paper demonstrates the development of a process model of customer e-complaint rhetoric. 

Findings: This study offers step-by-step instructions for installing and using RQDA for data coding, aggregation, plotting and theory building. It emphasizes the importance of techniques for sharing coding outputs among researchers and journal gatekeepers to better disseminate and share research findings. It also describes the authors’ use of RQDA in classrooms of undergraduates and graduate students. 

Research limitations/implications: This paper addresses the “contestation” and “boilerplate” gaps, offering practical, step-by-step instructions to operationalize and enhance the constructivist approach using the RQDA-based approach. This opens new opportunities for existing R users to “cross over” to analyzing textual data as well as for computer-savvy scholars, analysts and research students in academia and industry who wish to transition to CAQDAS-based qualitative research because RQDA is free and can leverage the strengths of the R computing platform. 

Originality/value: This study offers the first published review and demonstration of the RQDA-based constructivist methodology that provide the processes needed to enhance the rigor, transparency and validity of qualitative research. It demonstrates the systematic development of a data structure and a process model of customer e-complaint rhetoric using RQDA. Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-112
JournalQualitative Market Research
Issue number1
Early online dateJan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Chandra, Y., & Shang, L. (2017). An RQDA-based constructivist methodology for qualitative research. Qualitative Market Research, 20(1), 90-112.


  • Qualitative research
  • Constructivist
  • RQDA


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