Qualitative Research Methods for Global Public Health with essay

Ph.D. -course

Course description

Course content

The overall aim of the course is to provide the students with an understanding of the basic assumptions underlying qualitative research and the practical application of qualitative research methods in global public health.

The course gives an introduction to the knowledge tradition in which qualitative research is embedded and to the concepts that are integral to qualitative research. It gives an overview of qualitative research designs and presents various qualitative research methods and approaches. Different approaches in coding and analysis of data obtained from qualitative research will be demonstrated and practiced in exercises.

The course includes both didactic and practice sessions in the classroom. Students will design a mini research project and will apply qualitative methods in a fieldwork research exercise.

The main topics covered

- Theoretical foundation of qualitative research methodology

- Characteristics of qualitative research, their strengths and limitations

- Research designs / Strategies of inquiry

- Data collection methods: In-depth interview, Focus Group Discussion and Participant observation

- How to design a qualitative research project

- How to develop interview / topic guides

- How to analyse qualitative data

- How to report findings

- Confidentiality issues and informed consent

- Rigour and trustworthiness in qualitative research

The schedule for the course can be found here: www.uib.no/en/course/INTH323E.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student is able to:
- Recognise the assumptions about knowledge generation (theory of science) underlying qualitative research and their implications for practical research
- Explain the general principles of qualitative research
- Describe the main qualitative research strategies
- Define a research question that needs a qualitative research approach
- Describe the main data collection methods (interviews, focus group discussions and observation) and the rationale for their use
- Restate the principles of qualitative content analysis
- Explain challenges of confidentiality and informed consent
- Discuss how to assess trustworthiness in qualitative research reports

The student is able to:
- Design a small scale qualitative research project
- Develop interview guides
- Conduct in-depth interviewing
- Transcripe interviews verbatim
- Apply the principles for coding and qualitative content analysis
- Appraise the strengths and limitations of qualitative research
- Apply the principles for appraising the trustworthiness of quality research
- Critically assess and discuss methodological challenges related to own qualitative or mixed methods research
- Apply theory of science perspectives on knowledge generation in the planning and analysis of own qualitative research

General competence
The student is able to:
- Apply the principles of qualitative research in the planning and implementation of rigorous qualitative or mixed methods research projects in global health
- Communicate results from qualitative research and master the language and terminology of the qualitative research tradition
- Evaluate the quality of qualitative research proposals and reports

Study period

Language of instruction
Good working knowledge of English (TOEFL score of at least 550 points paper-based or 213 points computer-based, or an equivalent approved test), basic knowledge of qualitative research methods.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Master level training in research
Basic knowledge of qualitative research methods
Compulsory Requirements

Attendance 80% compulsory in seminars and group work

Individual assignments: Exercises: Making a rich description, making an interview guide, practice interviewing.

Group assignment: Planning, conducting and reporting a mini qualitative research project

Form of assessment

1. Group report from the mini research exercise (weighted 40%) (20 minutes power point presentation in class and uploaded on Mitt UiB)

This assessment is used for evaluation of the group's knowledge and understanding of qualitative research, and how to apply this knowledge to design, carry out, analyse, report and appraise the research.

2. Individual report on own role and methodological challenges in the mini research exercise (weighted 20%).

This assessment is used for evaluation of the individual student's knowledge and understanding of the principles of qualitative research and how to appraise trustworthiness.

3. Individual essay on methodological challenges in the planned PhD qualitative or mixed methods research (weighted 40%)

Grading Scale: ECTS credits A-F (F = fail)

Who may participate
Students admitted to a PhD Programme may join this course
Supplementary course information

Teaching methods:

A combination of lectures, seminars, practice sessions and individual and group exercises.

Organisation of course:

Week 1:

- Daily lectures, discussions and practice sessions in the classroom

- Group work to define research question, develop tools for the mini research exercise and recruit informants

- Individual home exercises and readings

Week 2:

- Group work on data collection and transcription of interviews for the mini research exercise

- Lectures, discussion and practice sessions on analysis of data

- Group work on coding and analysis of data from mini research exercise

- Week 3 (3 days):

- Group work on analysis and write-up

- Group presentations of mini research exercise

Week 3 (2 days) and 4:

- Essay writing

Reading list
Includes the reading list INTH323E plus 10 extra articles on different qualitative research strategies and on epistemological perspectives. The complete list is attached as a separate document