Qualitative research aims to bring out and discover people's feelings by conducting interviews and analysing them later. In-depth interviews are carried out with small groups of people and researchers try and find themes in what the participants say. Researchers from Bristol and the University of Plymouth interviewed six adolescent girls about their depression. They found three main themes emerged: communication, 'hurt self', and difference. These themes were based on communication processes in the girls' families and with peers, issues relating to shifts in identity through adolescence and feelings of being damaged, distressed, and hurt. Attachment theory* was found to be particularly relevant and helpful in interpreting these themes.
Shaw, Samantha K., Dallos, Rudi and Shoebridge, Philip - Depression in female adolescents: an IPA analysis Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry April 2009, 14(2), 167-181
*For an explanation of attachment theory see