Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Understanding Qualitative Research Methods

Lead: Dr Julia Bailey

This session introduces students to philosophical debates around qualitative research so that students understand the basis upon which qualitative methodology is selected as a research approach.  Contrasts are drawn with quantitative approaches and the place of qualitative research in health and medicine is discussed and considered.  Part of the session involves critiquing a published paper of a qualitative study, which enables students to reflect on a completed study to consider not only on the methodological approach and selection of methods, but also practical aspects such as sampling, what counts as data, the position of the researcher, data analysis, and application of findings. 

Learning Objectives

  • To understand some of the philosophical debates that inform qualitative research
  • To be able to describe the principles of qualitative research design
  • To know when qualitative research designs are appropriate
  • To have an overview of the dilemmas and debates associated with qualitative research design 


" A good foundation of qualitative research especially from discussion of readings

 MRes Student

" [The format] was interactive, informal and very good

Academic GP