Center for Public Health Sciences

PUB 8210: Qualitative Research (3 credits)

Qualitative research in the health sciences has been enjoying a renaissance in recent years as clinical practitioners and researchers have begun to appreciate how qualitative methods can address research questions of importance to patients, health care providers, and other stakeholders. Used properly, qualitative methods can bring considerable explanatory power to addressing gaps in knowledge that impact patient health and health care. Unfortunately, weaknesses and limitations in much published qualitative research in the clinical literature, especially its sole reliance on interview data  and thematic analysis, has reinforced the incorrect view that qualitative research is inherently ‘descriptive’ rather than explanatory. The present course reframes the qualitative and mixed methods as a pragmatic research enterprise that can generate powerful explanations of phenomena. The goals of the course are to help students understand the benefits and drawback of empiricist-oriented qualitative research, gain familiarity with the variety of approaches, and develop a research proposal for a qualitative or mixed methods study. The course will teach how to design and carry out qualitative research through practical, hands-on experience. As a final paper for the course, students will prepare a qualitative or mixed methods research proposal. 

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