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Abstract

Many of the qualitative research methods developed in the social sciences are well suited to explore research questions pertinent for the systemic field, and make a good fit with systemic thinking. In this paper I briefly outline the value of qualitative research for systemic psychotherapies. I explore some parallel developments in the field of qualitative research and systemic therapy which can inform each other. Three qualitative methodologies, a grounded theory approach, discourse analysis and narrative analysis, particularly useful for the research of subjective experience and meaning, are briefly outlined. To compare and contrast these methodologies, I discuss their application to a pilot study concerning the experiences of living life in more than one language. I demonstrate how each research methodology can highlight different aspects of qualitative research material and address different research questions. The challenge of how these methodologies may be further developed for systemic research is posed.