INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS Syllabus
Course Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
- Conceptualize a research problem that can be addressed using qualitative methodologies
- Frame specific research questions
- Select research methods appropriate for the problem identified
- Describe sampling principles and design a sampling plan for a qualitative study
- Develop interview and focus group guides
- Identify key issues to address in designing a qualitative research study
This is a 3 day, 3 credit foundational course in qualitative research design and methods.
The course is for students who are interested in learning how to design a qualitative research study and/or how to use a variety of qualitative research methods in the clinical and health sciences.
This is an introductory level course. It is a practical, hands-on course. Students will have time to apply the material presented in class in daily workshopping sessions. The course may be particularly helpful to students who are planning a qualitative research study, but all students interested in learning the basics of how to design and conduct qualitative research will find the course useful. No previous experience with qualitative research is necessary.
The course may be particularly helpful to students who are planning a qualitative research study, but all students interested in learning the basics of how to design and conduct qualitative research will find the course useful. No previous experience with qualitative research is necessary.
Methods of Assessment
Participation in course sessions and workshops, two short assignments, and one final project.
There are no required texts for this course. There are recommended readings for each day of the course. All journal articles have been uploaded to the CoursePlus site; however there are recommended books that have not been uploaded that students might benefit from consulting. Students are encouraged to read these texts before, during, and after the course. The readings may be particularly helpful for completing the final assignment.
Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.
Academic Ethics Code
Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.
Assignment Descriptions and Guidelines
Assignment Number One:
Today in class we focused on the initial steps in the process of developing a qualitative research proposal. For this first assignment, please complete the following 3 tasks.
- Briefly describe a public health or clinical services problem. Please do not include more than 5 references in your description.
- Articulate 1 research question that will inform the problem previously described.
- Describe the methods you will use to answer your research question, including:
- the type of data you will collect (please include interview and/or focus group data);
- the source(s) of those data; and
- a sampling plan for collecting those data from the source(s).
Your assignment should be written in narrative form, reference source material where appropriate, and draw from the materials presented in class and in the readings. Your completed assignment should be approximately 1 single-spaced page in length.
Please upload your completed assignment to the Courseplus website before 9:00AM on June 20th.
Assignment Number Two:
Class today introduced some of the considerations that should be taken into account when preparing to collect qualitative data. For this assignment, please complete the following 2 tasks.
- Using the problem, research question, and methods presented for the first assignment develop either an interview guide or a focus group guide to accomplish your proposed research.
- Identify a challenge that you anticipate in managing the interview or focus group and describe how you will take steps to manage that challenge.
Your interview or focus group guide should be formatted consistent with the examples presented in class. For the second task, please write your response in narrative form. Task 2 should be 1 or 2 paragraphs in length.
Please upload your completed assignment to the Courseplus website before 9:00AM on June 21th.
For your final assignment you will develop a research proposal that will incorporate and expand upon Assignments 1 and 2, and include the following sections.
- Background and Significance
- Overview of the Problem
- Specific Aims and Research Questions
- Potential Impact of the Proposed Research
- Study Design
- Data Collection
- Sampling Plan
- Strengths and Limitations of Proposed Design
- Dissemination Plan
- Timeline and Deliverables
- Human Subjects
Your assignment should be written in narrative form, reference source material where appropriate, and draw from the materials presented in class and in the readings. Additional materials related to your public health or clinical services problem addressed by your proposed research will be needed. Your completed assignment should be approximately 6 single-spaced pages in length and include an appendix with your interview or focus group guide.
The Final Assignment is due on August 1 before midnight. Please upload your completed final assignment to the Courseplus website.
The course will include lectures, discussion, and time for practice and/or demonstration of research methods. In each day of the course we will also include workshops where students can apply what they've learned in the class to a project they are working on or would like to design.
Grades in this course are based on the following:
Assignment Number One: 20%
Assignment Number Two: 20%
Final Assignment: 40%
Class Participation (Lecture Sessions): 10%
Class Participation (Workshops): 10%
Recommended reading, Day 1:
Coyne, I. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling; merging or clear boundaries? Journal of Advanced Nursing Research, 26(3), 623-630.
Cresswell, J.W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage Publications.
Marshall, M. (1996). Sampling for qualitative research. Family Practice, 13(6), 522-526.
Morse, J. (1998). What's wrong with random selection? Qualitative Health Research, 8(6), 733-735.
Ragin, C., Nagel, J., and White,P. (2004) General guidance for developing qualitative research projects. National Science Foundation. http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04219/nsf04219.pdf
Recommended reading, Day 2:
Gubrium, J.F., Holstein, J.A., Marvasti, A.B. and McKinney, K.D. (2012). The SAGE handbook of interview research: The complexity of the craft. Sage Publications.
Kvale, S. and Brinkman, S. (2008). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. Sage Publications.
Morgan, D.L. (1996). Focus groups as qualitative research (second edition). Sage Publications.
Rubin, H.J. and Rubin, I.S. (2011). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. Sage Publications.
Recommended reading, Day 3:
Creswell, J., Klassen, A., Plano Clark, V., and Smith, K. (2011). Best practices for mixed methods research in the health sciences. Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, National Institutes of Health.
Davies, D. and Dodd, J. (2002). Qualitative research and the question of rigor. Qualitative Health Research, 12(2), 279-289.
Morse, J. (1999). Qualitative generalizability. Qualitative Health Research, 9, 5-6.
Sandelowski, M. (1993). Rigor or rigor mortis: The problem of rigor in qualitative research revisited. Advances in Nursing Science, 16(2), 1-8.
Sparkes, A. (2004). Myth #94: Qualitative health researchers will agree about validity. Qualitative Health Research, 11(4), 538-552.
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