Qualitative Research Methods (QLRM)

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSES2022014

Semester and Year Offered: 3rdSemester

Course Coordinator and Team: Shivani Nag (C)

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Students must have taken all the courses of Semester 1 and Semester 2 in M.A. (Education) and M.A. Education (Early Childhood Care and Education)

Aim:Qualitative research focuses on an in-depth exploration of a social phenomenon. Given the nature of the field—not limited by rigidly defined variables, it allows for an examination of complex questions that could open up new areas of research. The strength of qualitative research lies in bringing out insiders’ meanings, capturing processes and bringing out the contexts in which events happen. They add meaning to otherwise de-contextualised data and enhance transferability across contexts. It also enables researchers to deal with value laden questions which could help to address issues of equity and social justice in educational contexts.

Objectives of this course is:

  1. To provide an understanding of the theoretical basis of qualitative research
  2. To highlight the scope of using qualitative research in the fields of education and ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’
  3. To equip the participants with knowledge and skill of using qualitative data collection methods
  4. To familiarise the students with analysis of qualitative data

Course Learning Outcomes:

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

  1. demonstrate skills of reading qualitative research in education
  2. acquire skills of designing and conducting qualitative research
  3. identify, plan, anddemonstrate use of various methods employed in qualitative research
  4. execute analysis of data emerging from qualitative data and present analysis in academic writing.

Brief description of course / main modules:

Theoretical basis and nature of qualitative research; Scope and significance of qualitative research in education and child-centered topics of inquiry; Attempting a typology of qualitative research; Data-Method-Methodology distinctions; Methods of data collection; Types of data; Study designs in qualitative research; Ensuring rigor in qualitative research – reflexivity, transparency & credibility; Analysis in qualitative research; Issues around ethics in qualitative research; Understand difference in conducting research with children versus adults; Writing qualitative research.

UNIT I: Doing qualitative research

  • What is qualitative research
  • Brief review of methodological philosophies
  • Ethics and rigour in qualitative research - concerns around positionality, subjectivity-objectivity, reflexivity, informed consent, confidentiality of participants, sharing of data, authorship, plagiarism, de-briefing, triangulation, importance of frameworks, etc

UNIT II: Methodologies in Qualitative Research

  • Case Study
  • Ethnography
  • Action Research
  • Grounded theory

UNIT III: Methods of data collection in Qualitative Research

  • semi structured interviews
  • Participant Observations
  • Questionnaires

In this unit, we will work together on how to develop tools, what goes into developing tools, need to engage with theoretical and research literature, issues around- social desirability, leading/directional questions, arrangement of questions, questions on personal traumas (how and when is it fine to explore them), how do we use these tools, ethics of data collection- (recording, noting), what does it mean to be a participant observer, capturing verbatim vs summarising, and more

UNIT IV: Data Analysis - content analysis and thematic analysis of qualitative data with focus on observations and interviews.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • An assignment based on reading a research paper and responding to questions on methodological philosophies and methodologies: 35%
  • Developing tools of data collection- semi-structured questionnaire/ observation checklist/ open ended questionnaire and using the tool for data collection: 35%
  • Final submission based on data collection/presentation/analysis - 30%

Reading list

  • Hammersley, M. (2013). What is qualitative research? London: Bloomsbury.
  • Guba, Egon and Yvonna S. Lincoln. 1994. “Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research.” Pp. 105-117 in Denzin and Lincoln (ed.). Hand Book of Qualitative Research. Sage Publications. Available online:
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. 6th Edition. NY: Routledge.
  • Charmaz, C. (2006) Constructing grounded theory. London: Sage.
  • Creswell, J. W., 2003 : Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, (2nd).
  • Denzin, Norman K., et al (eds.) 2018: Handbook of Qualitative Research, New Delhi: Sage (5th edition)
  • Golafshani, Nahid (2003). Understanding Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. The Qualitative Report, Vol 8 (4), 597-607. Available online:
  • Smith, J. A. (2005). Semi-structured interviewing and qualitative analysis. In J. Smith, R. Harre, & L. Langenhove, Rethinking Methods in Psychology. London: Sage, p. 9-26.
  • Emerson, R. M., Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. L. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chic
  • Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. 1990. Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedure and techniques, Newsburry Park, CA: Sage
  • Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies. NY: The Free Press.
  • Willig, Carla (2010). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill. Chapters 2: Qualitative Research Design, p. 15-33
  • Burgess, R. G., (ed.) 1982, : Field Research: A Sourcebook and Field Manual, George Allen and Unwin: London
  • Nakkeeran, N., “Qualitative Research Methodology: Epistemological Foundation and Research Procedures”, Indian Journal of Social Work 67/1&2:104-118, January-April 2006
  • Rosaldo, Renato (1993). Culture and Truth: The remaking of Social Analysis. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • England, K. (1994). Getting personal: Reflexivity, positionality, and feminist research. Professional Geographer, 46(1), 80-89.
  • Flick, U. 2009. An introduction to qualitative research. London: Sage
  • Maxwell, J. A. (1996) Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach. Applied Social Research Methods Series. Vol. 41. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Chapter 1: Model for Qualitative Research Design. Pp. 1-13.
  • Pring, Richard (2004). Philosophy of Educational Research. London: Continuum.
  • Emerson, R.M.; Fretz, R.I.; & Shaw, L. L. (2001). Participant Observation and Field notes. In P. Atkinson, A Coffey, S. Delamont, J. Lofland, & L. Lofland (Eds) Handbook of Ethnography. London: Sage Publications.