QUAL5002: Qualitative Methodologies and Study Design



6 Credit Points

Offered: Intensive May 2013

Classes: Block mode (2x3 day workshops)

Assessment: 2x1000wd short answer (25%; 25%); 1x 4000wd assignment (50%)



Qualitative methodologies are historical traditions and systems for planning and justifying research methods. This intermediate unit assumes a basic understanding of qualitative research and focuses on qualitative methodologies. Qualitative methodologies are informed by theories from sociology, anthropology, philosophy and other disciplines. They shape the research questions, objectives, design and outcome of a qualitative study.

This course begins with general principles of qualitative methodology and study design. We examine a number of qualitative methodologies in detail, including:

  • Narrative inquiry
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Ethnography
  • Grounded theory
  • Creative methods
  • Qualitative synthesis
  • Case study


We consider their historical and theoretical roots, the research practices they encourage, and their current status. The final session considers how we can use methodologies as resources rather than recipes, maintaining both flexibility and coherence in our study designs.
Lectures are taught by expert practitioners. In 2012 these included:

Dr Rowena Forsyth; Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) & Northern Clinical School, Sydney Medical School:

  • Ethnography


Dr Cynthia Hunter; School of Public Health, University of Sydney:

  • Ethnography


Dr Paul Rhodes; Clinical Psychology Unit, University of Sydney

  • Narrative Inquiry Approaches


Dr Stacy Carter; Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM), University of Sydney:

  • Grounded Theory


Dr Spring Cooper Robbins; Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre, University of Sydney:

  • Mixed Methods


Dr Allison Tong; Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney:

  • Methodologies for Synthesising Qualitative Research


Dr Julie Mooney-Somers; Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM), University of Sydney

  • Community-Based Participatory Research and Creative Methods


More information about this Unit, including application information, is available here.