Accessibility statement

Qualitative Health Research - HEA00155M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sarah Blower
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

This course will enable you to design and conduct your own qualitative research with confidence. You will gain knowledge and practical skills in qualitative research design: developing qualitative research questions, selecting appropriate qualitative methodologies, data collection techniques, qualitative data analysis and reflexivity. You will also develop an understanding of how to assess rigour and credibility in qualitative research.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

This module explores the role of qualitative research methodologies in health services research, and considers the different types of research questions that can be addressed using the range of qualitative methods available. The module offers a framework in which to assess quality in research design and conduct, and how this is applied to qualitative research. A mix of theoretical and practical debate is a particular feature of the course and all aspects of research design are discussed.

The more formal aims of the course are to:

  • Familiarise students with the philosophical origins of qualitative research
  • Enable students to understand the value and purpose of different qualitative approaches and assess their appropriateness for answering different types of research questions
  • Provide students with the knowledge and skills to design, conduct and appraise qualitative research
  • Introduce students to a broad range of qualitative methods, including different and emerging approaches in the use of qualitative methodologies
  • Teach students the importance of adopting ethical, robust, transparent and rigorous methodological strategies in a way that encourages reflexive reconciliation

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and debate the epistemological and ontological assumptions informing qualitative methodologies

  2. Define the types of research questions that can be appropriately addressed using qualitative methodology

  3. Systematically apply knowledge of how to design a qualitative study and the factors that need to be considered for this

  4. Explore the range of qualitative techniques for collecting and analysing data and know the circumstances under which they are likely to be successful

  5. Critically evaluate the conduct and quality of qualitative research

  6. Judges the role of qualitative research methods in trials and mixed methods research

Module content

  • Theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research
  • Qualitative research design
  • Qualitative data collection techniques e.g. Interviews and focus groups
  • Qualitative data analysis
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Reflexivity
  • Quality and rigour


Task Length % of module mark
Qualitative research protocol
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Qualitative research protocol
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback for the summative assessment is provided on the standard proforma, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

Braun V, Clarke, V. Successful Qualitative Research : a Practical Guide for Beginners. SAGE Publications; 2013.

Creswell JW. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design : Choosing Among Five Approaches . Fourth edition. International Student Edition. (Poth CN, ed.). SAGE Publications; 2017.

Ritchie J, Lewis J, McNaughton C, Ormston R, (eds). Qualitative Research Practice: a Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. SAGE Publications; 2014.

Tolley EE, Ulin PR, Mack N, Robinson ET, Succop SM. Qualitative Methods in Public Health: a Field Guide for Applied Research. 2nd ed. Wiley; 2016.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.