Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Qualitative Research (PUHR11033)
|School||Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences
||College||College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course provides an introduction to qualitative research methods. Underlying approaches will be examined and then different methods will be looked at in more detail. Practical components will be incorporated into the sessions and visiting lecturers who are actively involved in qualitative research will talk about their research experience. Students will be expected to carry out one in-depth interview, participate in class exercises and discussions and do background reading on the topics. Students will also learn how to analyse qualitative data, what some of the challenges of mixing methods are and how to appraise published qualitative research.
Qualitative research is concerned with developing explanations of the social world. It can help us to understand how people experience different aspects of that social world and how they respond to it i.e. what they feel, think and do.
Understanding experiences and behaviour in a way that is embedded in social reality is essential to public health practice. People are the subject of public health and qualitative research aims to better understand people as individuals who are situated in and influenced by their social context.
In this course we will learn about the different perspective on health and people that is provided by the ideas and approaches of qualitative research. We will explore the philosophical and sociological ideas that underpin the variety of ways in which qualitative research is practiced.
We will learn about the qualitative research process, including practicing data generation using individual interviews, focus groups and observational methods. In this part of the course you will develop your own qualitative research questions, with support from a tutor, and use what you have learned to develop your own study design to present in your assessment.
We will then move on to explore the initial stages of qualitative data analysis.
At the core of all these activities will be a focus on how rigour is conceptualised and practiced in qualitative research to generate useful knowledge about the social world. Central to this is considering and accounting for the role of the researcher in qualitative research.
As we learn about all the different aspects of qualitative research we will keep in mind the ideas and activities involved in quantitative research approaches and consider how and why they are different. In learning about how to do rigorous qualitative research we will reflect on the quality of published qualitative research that might be used in public health practice which you will do as part of your assessment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||3500 word assignment
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Describe the different perspective on public health issues provided by qualitative research methods compared to quantitative approaches
- Discuss the key characteristics and commitments of qualitative research and contrast these to the ideas that underpin quantitative approaches
- Apply the principles of rigorous qualitative research design and qualitative data analysis to critically appraise published qualitative research
- Compare the appropriateness of individual interviews, observational methods and focus groups/group interviews for the generation of meaningful qualitative data for different types of research questions
- Develop and practice skills in reflexivity
|Course organiser||Dr Neneh Rowa-Dewar
Tel: (0131 6)50 9249
|Course secretary||Mr Stuart Mallen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3227