Available in 2018

Course handbook


Introduces students to qualitative health research methods. The course develops students' skills in qualitative research design, appraising qualitative research and conducting interpretive analysis.

Availability2018 Course Timetables

WebLearn GradSchool

  • Trimester 1 - 2018
  • Semester 2 - 2018

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Understand the theoretical foundations of some of the major approaches to qualitative research

2. Understand the nature and scope of qualitative research as it applies to health;

3. Understand the ethical issues involved in qualitative research

4. Understand issues of rigour in qualitative research

5. Be able to identify appropriate contexts and questions for qualitative research in health;

6. Be able to select appropriate methods of qualitative data collection and analysis

7. Be able to critically appraise reports of qualitative research;

8. Have undertaken and reported an interpretive analysis of qualitative data


The subject is written as distance learning modules with weekly on-line discussion groups moderated by tutors.

The course content ranges from discussing the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research, to comparing the different methodological approaches, to hands-on experience analysing qualitative data.

Along the way the course covers issues such as:

  • The ethical implications of qualitative research;
  • The validity of qualitative research findings;
  • Critically appraising qualitative research;
  • The strengths and limitations of the various means of data collection: participant/non-participant, observation, interviewing, Focus Group Discussions; unobtrusive methods (such as analysing texts)
  • Choosing one from the various approaches to data analysis, for example: grounded theorising; discourse analysis.
  • The application of different methods of theory-building in qualitative data analysis;
  • Testing and confirming findings in qualitative research;
  • Triangulation and other means to strengthening validity of qualitative research;
  • Writing a qualitative research report.

The course gives students the opportunity for hands-on experience with interpretive analysis i.e. coding and categorising qualitative data.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written Assessment 1

Written Assignment: Written Assessment 2

Written Assignment: Written Assessment 3

Contact hours

WebLearn GradSchool

Online Activity

Online 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term