To give an overview of the most important qualitative data collection and data analysis methods in social sciences, of their application in the student’s specialisation field and the basic capabilities for facilitating a research inquiry and compiling a research report.
Brief description of the course
The course consists of lectures (about 40% of auditory meetings) and seminars (about 60% of auditory meetings).
Specifics of the qualitative approach compared to the quantitative approach. Overview of the various epistemological perspectives and qualitative methodologies. The role of the researcher and ethical issues. Qualitative research questions.
Data collection methods. Sampling techniques used in qualitative research. Interviews: types of interviews, compiling interview questions and preparation for the interview, conducting the interview, transcribing. Secondary sources (media texts, documents): kinds of data, evaluating the quality of data, collecting data. Introduction to observation methods: types of observation, conduct, documentation.
Data analysis. Qualitative and quantitative content analysis: usage and applications, types, method specific questions, coding (open and focused), analyzing the coded data. Using software in qualitative analysis: NVIVO and its alternatives. Introduction to discourse analysis: usage and applications, types, method specific questions, conducting the analysis. Triangulation.
Writing up. Functions of writing, describing the methods used, presenting results, formatting the report.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- knows data collection and analysis methods such as the interview, media monitoring, document analysis, qualitative and quantitative content analysis, discourse analysis;
- can compile a good quality sample for conducting a qualitative inquiry. The student understands the scope of generalisation of the qualitative inquiry and knows which research problems can be solved by qualitative inquiry;
- is capable of applying at least one data collection method and one data analysis method on the level necessary to write a bachelor’s thesis;
- can write a report on about a qualitative research project;
- knows the foundational philosophy of qualitative methodology and knows the ethical principles related to conducting a qualitative inquiry.