Professional/Short course Qualitative Health Research

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
8 consecutive weeks
Course Director
Dr Stuart McClean

15 credit level 7 module

Page last updated 12 October 2023


This 15 credit Qualitative Health Research module examines qualitative approaches to health and well-being research. It focuses on the key features of qualitative research methodologies and methods, and provides an important theoretical and conceptual grounding in qualitative research. Undertaking this module will be key preparation for completing a qualitative research project and for critiquing qualitative studies.

On successful completion of this level 7 (Masters level) module, you will be able to:

  • identify the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative methods for health and well-being research.
  • explore qualitative research traditions and methodologies, and understand how and when to use them.
  • use the main methods used in qualitative research for generating data, and carry out qualitative data analysis in primary research and in qualitative synthesis.
  • show how qualitative research is presented in the form of research papers and other publications.



The module syllabus will typically include:

  • Definition, nomenclature, epistemology: what is qualitative research; traditions of qualitative research; diverse methodological approaches (grounded theory; ethnography; phenomenology; narrative inquiry); the place of qualitative research in health research and evidence-based healthcare.
  • Current methodological debates: the value of qualitative research; ethics; sampling; reflexivity; quality criteria: validity, reliability and rigour; critical appraisal.
  • Methods for qualitative data collection (QDC): interviewing; observation and field notes; focus groups and group facilitation; online qualitative approaches.
  • Methods for qualitative data analysis (QDA): basic principles; transcribing; field notes; data management; coding; inductive and deductive analysis; approaches to data analysis (thematic content analysis; framework approach; narrative analysis; discourse); qualitative approaches to evidence synthesis.


A 3,000 word written assignment.

This assessment requires you to complete a written assignment in two parts. The first part requires them to produce an analysis of how qualitative approaches and methods are utilised in health and wellbeing research. The second part requires you to interpret and critically appraise published qualitative research showing understanding of how qualitative methodologies are applied to research problems.


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