ARCADE HSSR Project announces a short course in Practical approaches to qualitative research

The Division of Community Health in collaboration with the ARCADE HSSR Project announces a short course in Practical approaches to qualitative research to be held in from 24 February ├ö├ç├┤ 26 May 2014.  

Background: ARCADE-HSSR ( supports postgraduate research training for Health Systems Strengthening in Africa. Collaborating universities include Makerere University College of Health Sciences (Uganda), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), University of Malawi (Malawi), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Tanzania), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Institute of Development Studies (UK), and the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (Norway).

Dates: Sessions from 2014-02-24 to 2014-05-26       Language of instruction: English
Course delivery:  Blended learning               Recognition: 30 CPD points, 12 credits (SU)
Number of participants: 5 ├ö├ç├┤ 15                    Level: Appropriate for Doctoral students

Fees per course: 

  • R2750 ├ö├ç├┤ Stellenbosch University staff and students
  • R3300 ├ö├ç├┤ Students registered at other universities (non-partner universities)
  • R4400 ├ö├ç├┤ Other applicants
  • Students from Partner universities ├ö├ç├┤ contact your course leader for information on fees

Selection of students: Doctoral students from KI, SU and MU have priority. A personal motivation letter on why the student wants to take the course will be used to determine priority.
Entry Requirement: Health or Social science Research methods at a Masters level

Application Deadline: 27 January 2014

For questions about this course contact course coordinators in your country: 


The qualitative research methods course aims to equip the postgraduate student with an understanding of the scientific and philosophical basis of qualitative methodology, to design and conduct a simple qualitative project, and read and understand papers using the methodology with a critical and analytic perspective.

Method: The course will be conducted synchronously at Karolinska Institute and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). The course will be taught with a blended learning approach, which will combine self-study and face-to-face practical training sessions. Students from the three universities will be able to access self-study course materials and interact with each other through a common e-learning platform. Practical sessions will be conducted face-to-face by the course tutors at KI, MU and SU. Physical presence of the students is required to participate in theses session at one of the sites.

A theoretical and practical training will be provided in the three dominant qualitative data collection methods, including discussion of examples used in studies. There will be 12 sessions of practical training, each of 2 Ôö¼┬ó hours, which will require face-to-face meetings at each site. The 12 sessions can be done in 2 periods of 2 days each. These will include:  5 sessions in doing individual depth interviewing; 3 sessions in doing focus groups; 2 sessions on observation; and 2 sessions on analysis.

Intended learning outcomes: At the end of the course the student should be able to:
* Design a simple qualitative study including all scientific decisions
* Develop the instruments
* Do the fieldwork
* Analyse the data
* Write up the findings
* Critique other research, e.g. research proposals, manuscripts and published papers
* Explain at least one theory behind qualitative research

Course Content:
1 Background on qualitative methodology
2 Theory of qualitative research
3 Individual in-depth interviews
4 Qualitative interview process and techniques
5 Sampling in qualitative research
6 Preparing a discussion schedule
7 Ethical considerations
8 Writing a research proposal
9 Focus group interviewing
10 Observation as research
11 Conducting workshops
12 Alternative methods of data collection
13 Keeping journals of observations and your own experience
14 Transcribing and preparing for the formal analysis
15 Analysis of qualitative data
16 Production of papers and reports
17 Other approaches to interpretation: Phenomenology, narrative research, oral history
18 Integration of qualitative methods in broader research
19 Qualitative research in evaluation
20 Critical review of literature
21 Your own on-going development as a qualitative researcher

Examination: Four assignments are to be done during the course. The first three assignments will take the students through a full mini research project. The first assignment will be to write a mini proposal, the second to do two individual depth interviews and transcribe these and the third to write a brief report. The final assignment will be to write a critical review of a published qualitative paper. These will collectively constitute 60% of the course mark. Students will be expected to participate in online discussions. Attached to each lecture there will be between 3 and 6 questions. Students can respond to these questions or generate their own points for discussion. The quality and intellectual content of these contributions will be evaluated over the duration of the course. This will constitute 10% of the course mark. In addition the students will be asked to keep a journal that will be private and not up for evaluation in which they record their own experiences and insights as they learn about qualitative research. But the students will have to reflect on their entries into the journal for their final exam. There will be a written examination at the end of the course, which will be emailed to the students to be returned within 48 hours. This will constitute 30% of the course mark.

Compulsary sessions: Participation in practical sessions, on-line lectures and discussions is compulsory. Non-participation will result in additional assignments at the discretion of the course tutor.



Please use our online form to apply*:
TO APPLY click on the application form

You will need to enter personal information, and attach one 1-page A4 Word document:
A one-page CV (no larger than 100KB) with details of your academic background and current employment (if relevant).

The deadline for sending applications is 5pm on Monday 27 January 2014. Please note that applications received after that deadline will not be considered.

*If you are unable to access the form, please contact Rika Preiser at