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Qualitative Research I: Theory and Methods

East Baltimore
3rd term
International Health
5 credits
Academic Year:
2014 - 2015
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  8:30 - 10:20am
Lab Times:
  • Thursday,  3:30 - 5:20pm (01)
  • Friday,  3:30 - 5:20pm (02)
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Larissa Jennings

224.689 Satisfactory completion of Qualitative Research Theory and Methods (224.690) is required for registration for Qualitative Data Analysis (224.691).


First of a two-term sequence (with 224.691), which introduces students to qualitative research and provide them with practical skills for conducting research in domestic and international settings. Provides an overview of theoretical foundations of qualitative research and different approaches to qualitative inquiry, including programmatic qualitative research, grounded theory, ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, and narrative and case study approaches. Covers how to formulate qualitative research questions and how to design a qualitative research study. Provides description and practice in different qualitative data collection methods, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observation. To develop qualitative research skills, the course includes a significant group project component where students design and conduct hands-on local fieldwork projects, which must go through school ethical review and approval.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify epistemological differences between qualitative and quantitative research paradigms
  2. Differentiate between various approaches to qualitative inquiry, including ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, and narrative and case study approaches
  3. Formulate appropriate qualitative research questions and design a qualitative research study
  4. Describe and use multiple methods for the collection of qualitative data, including interviews, focus groups, and observation
  5. Articulate the relative appropriateness of different types of data collection for a particular study
  6. Discuss issues related to data quality and strategies for improving data quality
  7. Describe adaptations necessary when conducting research in other cultural and linguistic settings
Methods of Assessment:

Student evaluation is based on group and individual assignments related to fieldwork projects. These include (1) research questions, interview guide, and consent form; (2) two in-depth interviews; (3) focus group or observation, and (4) one method of your choice (interview, focus group, observation).


Final grade applies to all terms

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

Required to take both 224.690 and 224.691; no grade given until both courses are completed. Letter grade only, no pass/fail allowed.