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Qualitative Methods in Global Public Health




Admissions requirements

Students are recommended to take Medical Anthropology (200-level) before starting this course. If you did not take Medical Anthropology please contact the instructor prior to the course.


In this course students are given an introduction into research methods used in Global Public Health with a focus on qualitative methods. We will focus on what binds different disciplines that make up Global Public Health. Social sciences and Anthropology in particular are framed as disciplines that through their methods provide the information needed to ask the right questions in survey research.

The sessions include case-studies where methodological designs in epidemiology and social sciences are analyzed. Differences between epidemiology and social sciences are elucidated by reflecting on the ways in which ideas about measurement and what counts as evidence is defined and studied in these two disciplines. Students learn how to use qualitative research methods and conduct data-analysis by conducting a mini-research using qualitative data-collection techniques and developing a research design. Students also learn how to critically comment on the validity of scientific arguments in social science articles by analysis of the methodology used. Students will also learn the basics of conducting a systematic literature review in which they can employ their acquired analytical skills. Teaching methods include critical analysis of social science articles, in-class practicals to acquire skills, a research practical, a presentation of research findings.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will:

  • have learned how to conduct a systematic literature review in global public health using different qualitative research methods.

  • compare and contrast quantitative and qualitative methods in global public health

  • be able to compare methods sections and the presentation of evidence in scientific articles.

  • have acquired the necessary research skills to conduct a small-scale qualitative study, using observation, interviewing and focus-group discussions and to analyze these data.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The two-hour twice weekly session will be run as a seminar, with blended learning elements, consisting of introductory -partly online lectures – methodological discussions and practical workshops. You are expected to attend every class session, to carefully read the articles, and to hand in your assignments on the specified deadlines.


Assessment 1: In-class participation
Weight: 12,5%
Learning aim: Interactive engagement with course material, measured through attendance, and being able to apply the readings in assignments

Assessment 2: Journal Club
Weight: 15% (2 in total, amounting to 30 % total) (deadline week 2, 3)
Learning aim: Students can describe the main thesis statement of an article, and critically reflect on the methodology used and the evidence this methodology produced in relation to the thesis statement. They can contrast public health methodologies and anthropological methodologies and describe the value of a particular methodological approach for a particular research question

Assessment 3: Mini-research
Consisting of two parts:

  • Group presentation of mini-research. This presentation will be individually graded and will provide a proof of the ability of students to conduct qualitative data-analysis.
    Weight: 17,5 % (deadline week 7)

  • Research Report, including introduction, situation analysis, methodology, findings, conclusion, reflection on process, and all research files (transcribed interviews/observations/elective methods, methodological guides and analysis)

Weight: 40% (deadline week 8, but interim assignments, ungraded, due in week 4,5,6)
Learning aim: Students can work in teams to complete a mini-research project in which they individually acquire skills in three qualitative research methods: observation, interviews and a facultative method (FGD, Life-History, Visual, Source-analysis, documentary analysis, e-research). Students also acquire basic qualitative data-analysis skills.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list



This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Josien de Klerk


The focus of this course is on qualitative research methods. Workload outside of class is extensive, due to the home-assignments that are part of the mini-research. Students are expected to have this time available. Reading time for this course is limited however.