qualitative, method, disasters, Katrina, coding, team


This paper commences with candid warnings about the difficulties of publishing and funding qualitative research along with a brief discussion regarding why these difficulties persist. The paper then provides a methodological tour of the qualitative portion of the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study (LHAS), a mixed-method study of psychological health, coping, and adjustment during the immediate and longer term aftermath of the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Next, I provide a proven, pragmatic guide to navigate through a qualitative research project from development to completion. A guide for doing solo qualitative (“monk/nun in a cell”) work is provided (Table 1) but the article focuses on the Four-Phase, Team-Based (or “Quad-Squad”) Method. This method, originally designed for solo researchers, has been adapted for team-based application (including the extensive utilization of undergraduate and graduate students). The method is presented as a pragmatic and productive approach to publishing more valid, reliable, and rigorous qualitative research.

Original Publication Citation

Marks, L. (2015). A pragmatic, step-by-step guide for qualitative methods: Capturing the disaster and long-term recovery stories of Katrina and Rita. Current Psychology, 34, 494-505.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Current Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor