The aim of this course is to get students acquainted with the choices and procedures that are commonly used in qualitative research and to develop hands-on experience with qualitative research methods. At the end of the course the students:
1. have brief knowledge of the historical development and traditions in qualitative research;
2. can describe the common features of qualitative research and use the right terminology;
3. can conduct a small-scale research project;
4. can write a qualitative research report;
5. are informed about critical appraisal checklists for reviewing qualitative research;
6. can report a scientific research project orally.
Relation between assessment and objective
This course involves multiple types of testing:
1. In the assignment students have to apply the methodological knowledge acquired during the course to their own topics (objective 2, 3). They have to demonstrate their knowledge about methodological choices involved in a qualitative research endeavor and decide which methods can be best used in their own specific projects. Additionally, their ability to use the right terminology when reporting the methodological decisions made will also be assessed (objective 4, 5).
2. In the presentation it is tested whether students can orally present the findings of a qualitative research project and adequately answer questions about their work (objective 6).
3. During the class meetings, students would be asked to work on various short presentations and activities about the theory part of the course. These presentations and activities would be used to ascertain their knowledge about qualitative research methods and its history (objective 1, 2). Whether knowledge claims based on qualitative research and the criteria to judge the quality of a research project are understood will also be tested through these presentations (objective 4, 5).
4. And lastly there will be a practical exam at the end of the course to test if students can put their skills into practice (objective 3). Certain skills, such as data collection and use of NVivo will be put to the test in this exam.
Note: Students who cannot comply with the entrance requirements mentioned below will be asked to provide further information on their eligibility. The course coordinator will decide on their eligibility.|
The course is an introduction to qualitative research methods with a practical orientation. Qualitative studies are sometimes misunderstood to be purely descriptive reports because of their focus on describing and understanding people’s perspectives or views. However, the role of qualitative research extends beyond description alone, to even theory building and explanation. Qualitative methods do so using flexible, participant-focused data collection methods like interviews, participant observation, photo elicitation etc.. Since the primary data of qualitative researchers are in the form of documents or texts, it cannot be analyzed using formal, statistical methods. Instead, qualitative data analysis techniques are more suitable. Through this course, students gain hands-on experience in conducting data collection, computer-assisted data-analysis as well as reporting on findings. They will do so in the context of their own small scale research projects.
The following topics are focused upon among others: research questions, research design, ethics, data collection, data analysis, and quality of the research project. Through the seminars and computer lab sessions, skills such as formulating a research question for a qualitative study, generating a topic list for conducting interviews, structured and systematic data-analysis, and reporting are practiced and discussed. With the help of work group meetings, students conduct a small scale research project in groups of three to four students. Topic choice is guided by yearly themes. In the final meeting all students orally present their project report and findings.