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The Qualitative Research Lab (QRL) offers consultation and support for qualitative social scientific research at Augusta University.

The QRL is housed in the CSSR and operates as a Core research facility for the Augusta University research community. The director and affiliates assist faculty, graduate students, and administrators in the development and implementation of qualitative research, from the initial design of research protocols to implementation of protocols to data analysis. Common services include consultation on research design, conducting interviews, focus groups, ethnographic field-work and participant observation and data analysis. When applicable, the QRL, in conjunction with the CSSR, will organize and facilitate workshops on general qualitative research techniques.

Our Services
  • Consultation or research design
  • Conducting Focus Groups
  • Creating Interview Guides
  • Interviewing Participants
  • Data Analysis
  • Grant Development (where appropriate) 
  • Hosting Workshops and Trainings
Qualitative Research Working Group

The QRL will support and facilitate a working group designed to provide community and collaboration for qualitative researchers looking for peer-led support and guidance. While the goals and activities of the working group will be guided by group members, benefits of the group may include writing/editing support, theoretical and methodological guidance, and project collaboration. 

Workshops and Trainings

The QRL will host workshops and trainings through the CSSR for the Augusta University community. In addition to scheduled campus events, academic departments and administrative offices may request specialized training designed to fit their specific research needs.


As a Core facility the consultation fee is $120 per hour for faculty/staff/affiliates of Augusta University ($200 per hour for all others). An initial hour consultation meeting to discuss the project and scope of work is provided free of charge to all Augusta University investigators.

Grant Preparation support is offered to Augusta University researchers free of charge, provided that the QRL faculty affiliate is a co-investigator in the proposal with a funding request for significant percent effort.

After the initial consultation, a cost estimate is provided. Where meaningful intellectual contributions to research design, data analysis, and/or manuscript preparation will occur, possibilities for co-authorship on consequent publications and presentations for the QRL consultant will be negotiated at the initial consult and agreed to by the Faculty/PI, the QRL consultant, and the QRL Director.

Inquiries and Requests

If you are interested in using the services of the QRL or have a project you would like to discuss with the QRL, please fill out our QRL Request form to initiate a conversation!

* If you already have an iLab account you can request services directly through iLab.

Contact Us


Summerville Campus

Allgood Hall

Office N217

Dr. Melissa Powell-Williams

Dr. Dustin Avent-Holt

Collaborations & Projects

CONVERGE: Addressing Wicked Health System Challenges: A New Framework for International Collaboration

The Qualitative Research lab has collaborated with Provost Neil MacKinnon and his research team to help understand, identify, and describe the factors that influence engagement and progress in international rural health issues through the CONVERGE symposium. This collaboration includes conducting interviews and focus groups with leaderships and participants in the symposium. Findings for this work are currently under review for publication and will be presented at the 2023 American Public Health Association and 2023 Georgia Public Health Association annual conferences.

Pediatric Pathways Program (PPP)

The QRL is collaborating with Dr. April Hartman to develop a training program for middle school and medical school students with the goal of developing the skills needed to get an accurate history of mental and/or behavioral health concerns, asking about substance use, and addressing social determinants of health in a way that is culturally sensitive and compassionate. QRL affiliate Dr. Darla Linville will conduct focus groups with middle school and medical school students regarding their experiences with the PPP program in order to improve its efficacy. Dr. Melanie O’Meara  and theater students are heading the training efforts using a theater model. The pilot program takes place June 2023 on the Summerville Campus and includes faculty from across the campuses.

Influence of Social Media on Anesthesiology Residency Decisions

Dr. Angela Bratton has collaborated with Dr. Caryl Bailey, Assistant Professor Anesthesiology, and students Amelia Vu and Andy Nguyen in their research on recruitment barriers in the field of anesthesiology. Their work is to be presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting in San Francisco and will be submitted for publication.  

Foster Care Transition into Higher Education

The QRL has teamed with Dr. Stacie Pettit and her research team focusing on understanding educational experiences of children raised in foster care. This collaboration includes training and conducting analysis of focus groups.

Lab Director


Dr. Melisssa Powell-Williams

Professor, Sociology, Dept of Social Sciences
Center for Bioethics and Health Policy
Director, Qualitative Research Lab
Center for Social Science Research

Dr. Powell-Williams is an expert in the areas of identity, social movements, and victimization.
Her research experience includes: Interviews, Focus Groups, Narrative Analysis, Qualitative Content Analysis, Participant Observation, Mixed Methods, Constructionism, Grounded Theory, and Critical Theory


Dr. Melissa Powell-Williams

QRL Events & News

Tips and Strategies for Qualitative Researchers Navigating the IRB

Panelists: Dr. Steven Page, Dr. Julie Zadinsky, Dr. Erin Smith, and Dr. Candace Griffith
Moderator: Dr. Rhia Moreno

Learn How to Incorporate NVivo into Your Research

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Powell-Williams

Two children on stage

Augusta University, MCG team up with local students to build better relationships with pediatric patients

For two weeks this summer, April Hartman, MD, the division chief of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, and Melanie Kitchens O’Meara, PhD, an associate professor of performance studies in the Department of Art and Design, worked with members of Theatre AUG and local middle school students to teach them dramatic acting skills in order to become pediatric standardized patients for mock appointments with medical students.

two people standing

Need help with your social sciences research? Augusta University’s new Qualitative Research Lab is now open

The Qualitative Research Lab, which opened this month in the Center for Social Science Research at Augusta University, offers consultation and support for qualitative social scientific research.

Two students walking in front of a building

Augusta University alumnus will give lecture on social issues

“These kind of lectures are important for the university. They bring faculty together to think through important research, but also bring the broader AU and Augusta community into conversation with each other on issues we as a society are facing.”

Lady A press pic

Lady A, newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, establishes scholarship at AU

Lady A has been invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. The group, which has Augusta ties, also established a scholarship at Augusta University through their Lady Aid Fund.