Introduction to Qualitative Research

July 11-22, 2022

Part of the Summer Institute in Innovative Methodologies

This course aims to provide a strong foundation for researchers and research consumers with limited prior exposure to the rich underpinnings of qualitative research by exploring the theory and practice of qualitative research. Participants will learn basic qualitative theory, history and traditions of qualitative research as well as possible approaches/methodologies available. They will develop an awareness of the ethical issues involved in qualitative research and their relationship to research design and issues of subjectivity/role/access. They will also learn key data collection techniques and how to engage in different methods of data collection. Participants will develop their analytical aptitude by learning common coding strategies, how to design a qualitative research database, and practicing analytic processes and interpretation of findings.

This summer course engages students in a unique approach combining practice and theory in an iterative manner. This involves first plunging into fieldwork by conducting qualitative research (!), then learning about the theoretical underpinnings, and next returning to the field to engage in practice informed by theory. Concretely, this will allow students to get their feet wet from the outset, trying out qualitative methods including observation, individual interviews, focus group discussions, and data analysis. We will relate what is learnt in the field to the underlying theories and principles of the qualitative approach before returning to engage in fieldwork yet again, which will help demonstrate how to combine practice and theory.

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