Qualitative Research Methods

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Overview

In this course you will be introduced to the origin and philosophies behind the qualitative approach to empirical science. You will learn about data collection, description, analysis and interpretation in qualitative research. The qualitative approach often involves an iterative process. We will focus on the basic ingredients required for this process: data collection and analysis. A good qualitative analysis consists of a general strategy of analysis, clear analytic 'actions' and documentation of all the steps taken. An important analytical action is coding parts of the material. This forms the basis for the categorisation and interpretation of the data. In this course you will learn to use statistical software to perform the qualitative analysis. We will also discuss and compare different types of analysis and interpretation. The most important concepts in qualitative analysis will be discussed in light of these different types.

Syllabus

The qualitative approach to empirical science has its own origin story and is associated with a different philosophy of science than the quantitative approach. In this course you will learn about the qualitative way of thinking, but also about data collection, description, analysis and interpretation in qualitative research. You will gain hands on experience with interviewing and observation and practice analysis of this type of data using statistical software.

Week 1: Introduction • introduction to qualitative methods • philosophy of science • differences between qualitative versus quantitative approaches• mixed-methods• warm-up assignments (not graded)
Week 2: Qualitative traditions • history of qualitative methods • introduction to ethnography• research design in ethnography• quiz and small assignment (graded)
Week 3: Observation and field notes • access and role of the researcher• field notes• sampling • quiz and paper on week 1 & 2 (graded)
Week 4: Organization and analysis• recording data• organzing data • analysis of observational data• quiz and small assignment (graded)
Week 5: Interviewing• difference between structured and qualitative interview • interviewing versus observation• asking questions• quiz and paper on week 3 & 4 (graded)
Week 6: Data analysis• content analysis• analytical induction• grounded theory• quiz and small assignment (graded)
Week 7: Study week• time to ask your final questions• time to work on last paper
Week 8: Exam week• paper on week 5 & 6 (graded), final exam (graded) and course evaluation