This course presents the fundamentals of qualitative research methods. It covers the classic sources of qualitative data: interviews, focus groups, participant observation and documentary research. It also discusses the challenges and opportunities of new media including visual images and internet research. The two most widely used methods of analysis are covered: thematic analysis and discourse analysis. In addition, topics including quality indicators, research design, research tools, ethics, writing up and disseminating research are also addressed.
The format of the course is a combination of lectures and seminars, with an emphasis on participatory and practical learning. Lectures are interactive and introduce the key conceptual issues of each method, as well as giving practical guidance. Lectures also incorporate critical discussion of sample papers from the peer-reviewed literature, developing students’ skills in critically evaluating reports of qualitative research. Seminars provide hands-on experience of the core methods.
Topics covered include:
- Qualitative research design
- Formulating qualitative research questions
- Selecting & evaluating documents
- Participant observation
- Focus groups
- Visual & digital/online data
- Analysing visual data
- Thematic analysis
- Identifying & organising themes
- Discourse analysis
- Software and other research tools
- Writing up qualitative research
- Evaluating and disseminating qualitative research