Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative research seeks to understand people’s lived experiences and to answer questions about meaning and perspective, including from the standpoint of the participants themselves. It is particularly effective in obtaining culturally specific information about the values, views, behaviours, and contexts of particular groups.

This live one-day online Zoom course provides participants with an introduction to the key principles and benefits of qualitative research which must be considered in a research design, and its use in evaluations. This includes the main methods and techniques employed in qualitative studies such as interviews, focus groups and observations. It outlines how to design an effective qualitative research question, research instruments, how to sample and recruit participants, and related ethical considerations. It also considers how to assess a qualitative research project’s quality and rigor.

The online course is delivered via a combination of presentations, discussions and practical activities. It is designed to equip participants to confidently design their own qualitative research inquiries in a range of settings.

Course content typically includes:

  • The principles of qualitative research and how it differs from quantitative
  • The types of questions which qualitative research addresses
  • Examples of qualitative methods: focus groups, interviews, observation and ethnography
  • Mixed methods: what qualitative research can add
  • Sampling and recruitment
  • The importance of reflexivity in qualitative research
  • Ethical considerations
  • Assessing the ‘quality’ of qualitative research