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Qualitative Research Theory and Methods

East Baltimore
3rd term
International Health
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  9:00 - 10:20am
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Caitlin Kennedy

This course prepares students to conduct independent qualitative research. It focuses on skill competencies for developing, implementing, and critiquing qualitative data collection methods in domestic and international settings. It is designed to be taken sequentially with 224.691 (Qualitative Data Analysis) and, for those interested in gaining practical skills in actually conducting qualitative research, with 224.697-99 (Qualitative Practicum series).

Introduces practical skills for conducting qualitative research in domestic and international settings. Provides an overview of theoretical foundations of qualitative research and different methodologies for qualitative inquiry, including programmatic qualitative research, grounded theory, ethnography, phenomenology, narrative analysis, and case studies. Enables students to develop, interpret, and evaluate three common qualitative data collection methods: in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observation. Emphasizes understanding the basic principles and techniques critical for conduct, including question formation, tool design, sampling, data generation, ethics, and quality. Assesses the use of qualitative methods in the published health literature.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Identify epistemological differences between qualitative and quantitative research paradigms
  2. Examine various methodologies for qualitative inquiry, including ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, narrative analysis, and case studies
  3. Formulate appropriate qualitative research questions and study designs
  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 ethical adaptations necessary when conducting research in other cultural and linguistic settings
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 30% Discussion Board
  • 30% Quizzes
  • 40% Exam(s)

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

Students in the MSPH and PHD in Social and Behavioral Interventions do not need consent to register. Students from all other degree programs must request permission to register, or register in the online (.81) version. This course does not offer a fieldwork component. Students interested in managing and analyzing qualitative data are encouraged to take the sequel course: 224.691.01 Qualitative Data Analysis