ORIENTATION : Qualitative research is marked by phenomenal growth and development over
RESEARCH PURPOSE : This article aims to offer insight into the emerging qualitative methodologies
used in the fields of Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology and Human
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : The value of qualitative organisational research has been recognised
since the 1970s. Regardless of its perceived value, national and international trends show a
greater tendency for quantitative research.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD : This article investigates qualitative articles (n = 242)
published over two decades in the South African Journal of Industrial Psychology (SAJIP),
South African Journal of Psychology (SAJP), and the South African Journal of Human Resource
Management (SAJHRM). More specifically, a content analysis was conducted to highlight the
trends of paradigms, designs and analysis methods employed in the studies.
MAIN FINDINGS : Although there seems to be a slight increase in qualitative publications over
the years, qualitative studies show a lower volume than its counterparts. The SAJIP published
the least qualitative articles when compared to the SAJP and SAJHRM. There is a pattern of
preference for specific paradigms and methods in all the journals. Overall, all the journals carry a large number of articles that do not specifically state their paradigmatic alignment or
the designs they used, while some articles omits the methodology used in the studies altogether.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : The results indicate a clear need for increased exposure to
qualitative methodology, both by publishing more qualitative studies in local journals and by
providing formal training opportunities. A publication does not solely rely on authorship, but
also on a review process. Therefore certain adjustments in this process may lead to more and
better qualitative publications in future.
CONTRIBUTIO/VALUE-ADD : This article provides a critical analysis of the current trends and
developments in qualitative research conducted in Industrial and Organisational Psychology
(IOP) research in South Africa. The study identifies dominant methodologies in use, and
thereby identifies possible opportunities to expand the ‘methodological menu’ of IOP research.