Qualitative research seeks to understand how people perceive and interact with the world around them. Qualitative researchers are thus driven to understand particular phenomena based on “discourse, actions and documents, and how and why individuals interpret and ascribe meaning to what they say and do, and to other aspects of the world (including other people) they encounter” (TCPS2; emphasis added). While there is no prerequisite, the instructor assumes that students will have had an introduction to qualitative research methods during their undergraduate training or applied professional experience and have some degree of theoretical literacy in this line of inquiry. The course is designed to develop these skills in terms of the nature and scope of qualitative research methods in the social and health sciences with respect to modes of data collection and analyses, giving them theoretical and practical foundations to build on.
Successful students will be able to explore, understand, compare, and apply a myriad of qualitative research methods for data collection and analysis that are available to social and health scientists.
- Explore the diversity of qualitative approaches to understanding particular phenomenon;
- Practice a wide range of qualitative data collection techniques;
- Identify issues with thinking quantitatively in qualitative inquiry;
- Consider ethical issues in research from procedural and relational perspectives;
- Interrogate personal positionality in research and explore researcher reflexivity;
- Analyze and evaluate quality in qualitative analysis; and
- Identify and explain findings from qualitative data in qualitative inquiry.
- To advance theoretical literacy and methodological competency in the craft of qualitative inquiry.
- To develop an understanding of why qualitative methods are the best tools for certain research questions.
- To consider power dynamics, relationality, temporality, and knowledge/space/place/time concerning the ethical process of research involving human participants.
- To actively engage with a number of different qualitative methods of data collection and analysis.
- To understand the importance of rigour in qualitative analysis and how to achieve it.
- To develop critical analytic skills concerning the quality of qualitative data collection and analysis.
- To acquire introductory abilities in analyzing qualitative data and writing qualitatively.
This is a graduate-level seminar and, from a pedagogical perspective, one that has been committed to offering students as much experiential learning opportunities as possible. However, as the class size grows, this becomes more challenging! But we’ll figure it out together. J You can expect weekly discussions based on assigned readings as being the focus of at least half of our time together, while the remainder of our time together will involve active engagement in the ‘how to’ of qualitative data collection and analysis activities. During the course and given the nature of qualitative inquiry, please be advised that I may ask you to speak about your personal experiences (e.g., home life, social life, student life, etc.). When this happens, students must decide to what extent they feel comfortable with sharing. Respect for each other and confidentiality regarding classroom activities is critical. Student safety and comfort are my primary concern.