Short courses


Research in Action: Qualitative Approach (Health and Disability)

  • 30 hours
  • 2 weeks (3 days per week)


This short course aims to develop your skills in designing and conducting qualitative research to investigate community health in UK or international contexts. It covers both theory and practice.

You'll learn when and how to use appropriate qualitative research methods to explore aspects of community health in high, middle or low-income contexts. This will enable you to enhance the quality and credibility of your qualitative studies.

You'll experience all the stages involved in carrying out qualitative research, while considering theoretical dilemmas and choices to be made during the process.

This course is run by UCL's Institute for Global Health (IGH).

Course content

This practical-oriented course will cover the general principles of qualitative research and when it's appropriate to use different research methods (e.g. interviews, focus groups, observations, participatory methods, visualisations). It will also review the theory underpinning these methods.

You'll learn about the whole process of carrying out a qualitative study through parallel theoretical and practical sessions and by undertaking a small piece of real research in groups.

You're encouraged to develop research protocols and projects with an emphasis on action research approaches.

The course will guide you through: 

  • developing a qualitative research protocol
  • formulating research questions
  • sampling
  • ethics
  • choosing data collection methods
  • thematic analysis
  • interpretation
  • disseminating qualitative research findings in different formats for a variety of audiences

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for professionals working for UK and international NGOs and community organisations, public and private sector organisations (e.g. health, education, social policy) and universities.

Teaching, structure and assessment

This course is taught on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays over two weeks.

It involves lectures, seminars, workshops, self-study, tutorials and group work.

You'll develop your own research protocol and work with others on a group research project.

As a short course student you won't be formally assessed, but you're expected to fully participate in group work. You'll receive a certificate of attendance on completion of the course.

This course can also be taken as a taster course, allowing you to earn UCL credits.

The taster course is assessed by a group project and presentation (40%) and a 2,000 word protocol (60%).

Find out more about the difference between short and taster courses on the IGH website.

Learning outcomes 

On completing this course you'll be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of the value and application of qualitative research theory and practical approaches in health, development and or social research contexts
  • design, plan and carry out a qualitative study
  • develop qualitative research questions, collect data using a range of qualitative methods, and organise, analyse, interpret and present qualitative data appropriately
  • understand key ethical issues and processes, including ethical information and consent process, ethical practice in the field, subjectivity, reflexivity and bias
  • evaluate a range of innovative qualitative data collection and analysis methods and their interpretation
  • critically evaluate qualitative research papers

Entry requirements 

For the short course you'll need:

  • professional work experience in a relevant area and/or a first or second-class honours degree in a relevant subject
  • a good standard of English proficiency

Cost and concessions

The fees for the short course are:

  • Home/EU - £850
  • Overseas - £1,200
  • Overseas low-middle income countries - £750
  • IGH staff - free 
  • other UCL staff - £400
  • IGH/UCL alumni - £650

The fees for the taster course are:

  • Home/EU - £950
  • Overseas - £1,300
  • Overseas low-middle income countries - £850
  • IGH staff - £100
  • other UCL staff - £500
  • IGH/UCL alumni - £750
Learner reviews

"Overall the module was excellent. The quality of teaching was impressive and I really enjoyed it. I think the structure of the module is great because it blends the theoretical learning with the practical group work and so by the end of the module, I felt I had really gained very practical skills." [MSc student 2015]

"I enjoyed every single session we did as it was so practical and relevant and the module organisers taught us with enthusiasm, got us to think and even the critical analysis session turned out to be excellent." [MSc student 2015]

Course information last modified: 12 Feb 2020, 09:33