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Qualitative Research skills


Description of the course

The goal of this course is to help students develop research skills in qualitative methods, as well as the ability to critique and evaluate academic works employing such methods. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of Q methodology, which is a methodology to investigate shared viewpoints. We will set up a Q study together, and go through the whole process from formulating a research question, collecting and analyzing data, to writing up the results. As input to Q methodology, two other qualitative methods will be used and practiced with: document analysis and qualitative interviews.
The course consists of online learning modules (accessible via Brightspace), each of them consisting of a series of knowledge clips, readings (journal articles and book chapters), and short exercises that students are required to complete.

Learning objectives course

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify a research topic/problem and formulate a specific research question which could be answered via a qualitative research design

  • Design and carry out a Q methodology study, with attention for prevailing standards of research ethics and data management;

  • Identify for what purpose and how to use semi-structured interviews and document analysis

  • Effectively report and present the results of a qualitative research project.

Teaching methods/mode of instruction

  • Interactive lectures

  • Diagnostic quizzes

  • Assignments

  • Research paper

Type of assessment

All assignments are compulsory and need to be completed in order to pass the course. There are seven short assignments that are graded on a pass/fail basis. Your grade will be solely based on the assessment of your research paper (100% of your final grade). The research paper will follow the logic of a Q-study and will be performed by a group of students. The course needs to be completed with a grade of 5,5 or higher to pass the course.
For the completion of the research paper, all students should complete seven smaller scale assignments, and one final assignment (research paper).

Course load

The total course load is 168 hours:

  • Online modules: 76 hours

  • Online seminars and workshops: 14 hours

  • Written assignments: 78 hours

Course materials/reading list

Watts, S. & Stenner, P (2012). Doing Q methodological research: Theory, method and interpretation. London: Sage.

In addition, in Brightspace you will find course readings consisting of academic journal articles , websites and book chapters. These readings are integrated in the week units.


A Brightspace page for this course will be made available one week prior to the start of the course. On this website, you can find the online modules, readings and assignments. Brightspace will be used for course communication, the distribution of additional course information and for the submission of assignments.