How do I…

plan and design my Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) research study?

Do you want to…?

Feel resolute about developing an effective plan for your project

Gain confidence in your knowledge of the next steps to develop a rigorous design for your IPA research

Feel more certain about the fundamentals of your study, such as:


Formulating your research question


Selecting your data collection method(s)


Defining your sample

If so, read on…

There are two separate aspects covered on this page:

Firstly, PLANNING your IPA study, and then DESIGNING your IPA study

While these are different tasks, they are nonetheless intimately connected

Planning your project properly and mapping out the details to a good level of meticulousness is undoubtedly a good idea

Why is making a well-defined plan for my IPA study a good idea?

Because it should allow your research to unfold much more smoothly through the execution and write-up phase

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The value of a plan

I cannot overemphasize the value of taking your time over the planning and proposal phase of your project. Time well spent at this early stage of your research journey will minimise the need to significantly modify or rework your plan while in the throes of conducting the study itself

Finding yourself at the end of a blind alley in your research journey can be extremely demoralising, not to mention difficult and stressful, and a well-researched plan can help minimise the risk of going off on an unintentional wild goose chase

But, hold it lightly…

Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that ‘the best-laid plans of mice and men’ and all that, as rarely does the course of a research study run smoothly!

Thus, while I passionately advocate developing a solid plan and timetable for your project, I also resolutely urge you to hold those plans lightly and adopt a flexible approach with frequent review and re-scheduling! Read more about this here

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IPA research design

Another area that garners a multitude of queries from students is that of research design for an IPA. I am developing a workshop focusing on this aspect of an IPA and I expect it to be available from late 2022

In the meantime, however, do browse the articles on this page and sign up to the mailing list so that you can access my *FREE* IPA Study Survival Guide which includes a handy Road Map and Checklist for all phases of executing an IPA study – there are plenty of tips and tricks in there to support you in the meantime

The [workshop] joining instructions and supporting materials were considered to an inch of their life – seriously helpful in these days of information overload!


Advanced IPA Data Analsis, July 2021

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What else can I do?

Get hold of a copy of the IPA Study Survival Guide by joining the mailing list

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Review articles that examine aspects of planning and designing your Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) research study, plus the answers to frequently asked questions in this area

If you have a topic area you would like me to cover, please join the mailing list and reply to your welcome email to make a request. Alternatively, use the contact page if you prefer