Introduction to Qualitative Methods for Health Economics


This course is biennial, next expected to run in the 2021-22 short course programme.

Information on this page relates to the last run of the course and is for reference only. 

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list to be notified when bookings open. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We may need to make responsive changes to our courses at short notice in order to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Course dates

2 - 4 March 2020

Course duration

3 days (approximately 15 hours teaching time).
Registration will start at 9.15am on the first day, the course will finish by 4pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Professor Joanna Coast, Dr Sam Husbands, Dr Amanda Owen-Smith (course organisers) and others.

Course aims 

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the use of qualitative methods in health economics research. The usefulness of qualitative techniques in informing health economics research questions will be discussed and participants will receive guidance on core practical techniques around sampling, data collection and data analysis.

Course objectives

By the end of the course participants should be able to:

  1. Understand the nature of qualitative research and how it can be applied in health economics;
  2. Define the principal steps involved in designing a qualitative study, including ethical and governance considerations;
  3. Understand key concepts around sampling in qualitative research;
  4. Describe techniques of data collection including focus groups, observations, and 1:1 interviews;
  5. Outline the main approaches to qualitative data analysis and apply an analytic strategy to data for economic purposes;
  6. Identify some core techniques for publishing qualitative research in health economics.

Who the course is intended for

The course is intended for anyone aiming to integrate qualitative methods into health economics research. As this is an introductory course, there is no need for participants to have prior experience of qualitative research.

Course outline

The course contains lectures as well as more informal small group and practical sessions that provide a hands-on introduction to qualitative research, including practising techniques for 1:1 interviews and analysing data through an economics lens.     

Topics to be covered include:   

  1. Introduction to qualitative research and its use in health economics;
  2. Sampling and recruitment;
  3. Individual interviewing techniques (with practical work embedded);
  4. Focus groups;
  5. Eliciting data for economic purposes and the use of tasks;
  6. Data analysis;
  7. Data analysis for specific economic purposes;
  8. Observation techniques;
  9. An introduction to secondary data analysis;
  10. Planning a qualitative project and key considerations (ethics and research governance);
  11. Publication, presentation, and rigour (with practical).

Please note: The course will use NVivo 12 for demonstrations.

Recommended reading

Coast, J. (Ed.) (2017) Qualitative Methods for Health Economics. London: Rowman and Littlefield

A really good course- excellent teachers and a nice mix of practical and didactic teaching.

Course feedback, May 2019

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

Related short courses

Edit this page