UCL Medical School


Qualitative Research Methods for Clinical and Professional Education

Module Overview

This module focuses on the theory and practice of qualitative research in research in medical and clinical education. It explores the various aspects of qualitative methodology, qualitative data collection techniques and methods of analysis, as appropriate to medical and clinical educational research. The module will include the following:

• Theoretical, philosophical and social science background to qualitative research (e.g. phenomenology; the epistemology and ontology of ‘insider research’ / practice-based research / ‘real world’ research), with a focus on medical and clinical educational research

• Qualitative methods and strategies for research in medical and clinical educational research e.g. case-studies, ethnography; interview-based research; documentary analysis

• Working with and analysing qualitative data in medical and clinical educational research e.g. approaches to coding and analyzing data; use of CAQDAS –especially NVivo


This module aims to introduce students to and critically explore the use and analysis of qualitative methods and data in medical education research.

Module Learning Outcomes

Participants will develop knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to:

  • Outline and critically assess the social scientific, philosophical and methodological underpinning of researching medical clinical education using qualitative approaches.
  • Discuss the use of qualitative techniques for application to medical and clinical education-based enquiry projects.
  • Evaluate the application of selected techniques of qualitative data collection in medical and clinical educational research.
  • Outline and critically assess approaches to qualitative data analysis in medical and clinical educational research.
  • Demonstrate the application of methodology and methods in support of a project enquiring into area of own professional practice

Mode of Delivery

This module will be delivered entirely through a Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). This approach combines educational methods that encourage self-directed learning, reflection on personal experience, critical thinking and access to extensive online resources. This will enable students to engage in collaborative learning and to be in regular contact with module tutors for a high level of academic support.

Participants will work through course materials and readings, undertake directed learning activities and participate in a two week asynchronous virtual seminar. This will build the foundations for their written assignments. Each teaching block will last 8 or 9 weeks comprising of:

• An online introduction providing the background learning objectives of the module
• Two to three week period of individual study with set texts for reading and structured learning activities
• Two week period of online interaction through an asynchronous virtual seminar held between small groups of students (5-15) and a tutor in an online forum
• Three week period of individual study to prepare their essay-style assignment.

This course will be facilitated by UCL teaching staff with regular opportunities to provide support and feedback on teaching delivery.

Participants will also complete a written piece of work that is based on one of the areas highlighted in the module that has significance in their own practice as a medical or clinical educator.

Teaching dates 2017/18

This module runs once a year (subject to a minimum of 10 students) in the following teaching block:

Teaching BlockStartEnd Assignment due dateClosing date for applications
Block 2Monday 8 January 2018Friday 2 March 2018Thursday 20 April 201830 October 2017

If you have any queries please contact uclms.postgraduate@ucl.ac.uk.

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