Using Qualitative Longitudinal Interviews to Track the Career Intentions and Identity Development of PhD students

We will be discussing the benefits and challenges that large-scale qualitative longitudinal research faces.

Simon Williams, Research Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.

This seminar will discuss some of the benefits and challenges facing large-scale qualitative longitudinal qualitative research (QLR), drawing on my experience of two ongoing research projects – the National Longitudinal Study of Young Life Scientists and the Academy for Future Science Faculty. In these projects, we are following the career intentions and identity development of a diverse group of PhD students in the biomedical sciences from across the United States. Such a longitudinal approach is enabling us to explore whether, and more importantly how and why, students’ early career intentions are, or are not, realized.

I also discuss some of the challenges we, as a research team, have encountered as a result of the large, complex data set that often accompanies QLR. Finally, I discuss some of the strategies for data collection and analysis that these projects are employing.