Advanced Qualitative Health Research (PUBH5500)


This course offers an advanced overview of qualitative research. It is designed for people new to qualitative research and those who want an advanced-level introduction to bring together their on-the-job learning with established principles. We will give you a new way of thinking critically about research and researching, and give you the skills and confidence to begin evaluating and doing qualitative research for yourself.

Workshop One addresses: What is qualitative research? How is it different from quantitative research? What is its history? What research questions can it answer? How can I search for qualitative literature? How do I design a qualitative study? What are the different (and best) ways to generate data?

Workshop One learning activities: You will get practical experience and skills through carrying out an observation, participating in a focus group and conducting an interview.

Workshop Two addresses: How do you analyse qualitative data? Is methodology different to method? What are ontology and epistemology? What is reflexivity (and aren't qualitative researchers biased)? What are the ethical issues? How are methodologies and theories used in qualitative research? What is good quality qualitative research? Can I generalise qualitative findings?

Workshop Two learning activities: You will get practical experience and skills through analysing your own interview data, arguing for qualitative research in health, and appraising the quality of published literature.

Teaching staff: Dr Julie Mooney-Somers leads the course with experienced industry practitioners teaching into the program. In previous years guest lecturers have included:

  • Associate Professor Stacy Carter on the history of qualitative research
  • Dr Peter Sainsbury on the place of qualitative research in health provision (Director, Population Health, Division of Population Health, Sydney Local Health District)
  • Associate Professor Ian Kerridge on research ethics
  • Dr Rowena Forsyth on observation as a data collection method

You’ll also hear from active qualitative researchers working in research institutions and in the non-governmental section via the popular 'Meet the Researcher' sessions.


The course is designed to provide you the experience and skills you need to begin evaluating and doing qualitative research for yourself.

Learning outcomes:

  • Describe the characteristics and value of qualitative research
  • Understand and apply the principles underlying qualitative study design
  • Understand and apply qualitative data collection principles
  • Evaluate your data collection skills
  • Understand ethical issue in qualitative research
  • Justify research practice decisions in relation to these principles
  • Understand qualitative data analysis principles
  • Analyse qualitative data at an introductory level
  • Understand the principles underlying qualitative research practice
  • Evaluate the use of methodology in published research literature
  • Evaluate the quality and contribution to knowledge of published qualitative literature
  • Argue for the value and usefulness of qualitative research

Instructional Format

The course comprises two three-day workshops (9am -5pm) run approximately three weeks apart. Workshops are usually run Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.


Workshop 1: 18, 19 and 21 March 2016
Workshop 2: 15, 17 and 18 April 2016


Workshops are held at the Camperdown campus, University of Sydney.

Application Deadline

31 January 2016; late applications may be accepted.

Course Fee

Professional development students: $2,000
Short course (non-award) students: $2,625

Enrolment options


Option 2: FORMAL ENROLMENT AND CREDIT (‘non-award’)

➣ Simple enrolment

➣ Short course fee applies

➣ No assessments

➣ No credit towards a University of Sydney degree

➣ Certificate of completion but no academic transcript


➣ Comprehensive enrolment

➣ Fee charged at pro-rata rate of relevant degree fee

➣ Assessment tasks must be completed

➣ Can apply for credit towards relevant U of Sydney degree

➣ Academic transcript



Enquiries can be directed to the teaching administrator, .