Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

Course dates

26 February - 2 March 2018.

Course duration

5 days (approximately 24 hours of teaching).
Registration will start at 9.15am on the first day, the course will finish by 3.30pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Dr Lucy Biddle, Professor Helen Lambert (course organisers) and others.

Course aims

To give an overview and introduction to the major qualitative research methods based in the social sciences as used in health services, public health and other health-related research.    

Course objectives

By the end of the course, attendees should be able to:  

  • appreciate the importance of qualitative research methods in the study of health, illness, and health services and systems;
  • understand how to identify when a research topic requires qualitative research methods, and be able to select the most appropriate methods to answer the particular research question;
  • develop the skills required to conduct in-depth interviews, facilitate focus groups, and undertake observation and/or ethnographic research;
  • begin to analyse qualitative data and develop theory;
  • know how to employ qualitative research methods alongside other methods in health research.

Who the course is intended for

The course is open to anyone who would like to understand the use of these methods or begin to learn how to use them.    

Attendees do not need to have any previous background in or knowledge of qualitative research methods, although some experience of or ideas for a health-related research project using qualitative approaches would make the course more relevant.    

Course outline

This course is intended to give an overview and hands-on introduction to qualitative research methods, as used in the social sciences and in health-related research. Methods introduced include individual interviews, focus groups and participant observation, as well as research design, ethical issues, data analysis, mixing qualitative and quantitative methods and writing up findings for publication. The course contains lectures as well as more informal small group and practical sessions that provide a hands-on introduction to conducting interviews, focus groups, observations and computer-assisted data analysis. There is an emphasis on learning through practical tasks and participation.    

Day 1 introduces Qualitative Research and Interviewing techniques. 
Day 2 covers Study Design (including qualitative sampling) and Focus Groups.
Day 3 focuses on Ethnographic and Observational Methods.
Day 4 covers Data Analysis (including coding, thematic analysis and computer-assisted qualitative data analysis).
Day 5 considers Mixing and Integrating Methods, Writing up research findings for publication, and scoping Project Designs in a Structured Workshop.  


Bookings for this course have now closed.

The course was excellent. Great content and great tutors. The best bit was having the opportunity to practice the techniques, e.g. Focus groups, coding excercise, so the teaching made sense on a practical level and wasn't just theory. I really feel able to start doing a qualitative project now (with supervision!).

Course feedback, February 2017

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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