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Developing typologies in qualitative research: The use of ideal-type analysis

Stapley, E., O'Keeffe, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-6713-2898 & Midgley, N. (2022). Developing typologies in qualitative research: The use of ideal-type analysis. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 21, article number 1609406922. doi: 10.1177/16094069221100633


The tradition of developing typologies has been prominent in the field of psychology for decades. A typology is formed by grouping cases or participants into types on the basis of their common features. Despite the prominence of typologies in psychological research, methodological guidance on the process of developing a typology, particularly as a qualitative method for analysing data, is scarce. Ideal-type analysis is a relatively new addition to the family of qualitative research methods, which offers a systematic, rigorous method for constructing typologies from qualitative data. In our approach to ideal-type analysis, the methodology consists of seven steps: becoming familiarised with the dataset; writing the case reconstructions; conducting the ideal types; identifying the optimal cases; forming the ideal-type descriptions; checking credibility; making comparisons. We hope that this article will help researchers to consider whether using ideal-type analysis may be a suitable approach for their own studies.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: ideal-type analysis; qualitative methods; cross-case analysis; typologies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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