Qualitative Research Methods (QLRM)

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2022014

Semester and Year Offered: 3rdSemester

Course Coordinator and Team: CC Anandini Dar & Shivani Nag

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)

Course Objectives/Description: 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: Introduction to methodological philosophies and qualitative research (4 hours)

UNIT II: Interpretivism and Ethnography (10 hours)

UNIT III: Observing families and Stakeholder Mapping (10 hours)

UNIT IV: Critical tradition and Case Study/ Grounded theory (10 hours)

UNIT V: Semi-structured Interviews and Analysis (10 hours)

Assessment Details with weights:

  1. Group Presentations 1: 20% (August)
  2. Report on the field: 30% (September)
  3. Group Presentations 2: 20% (October)
  4. Developing semi-structured interview schedule, transcription and analysis: 30% (November)


Reading list

  • Barker, John and Weller, Susan. (2003). “Is it fun?’ Developing children centered research methods.” The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 23 (1/2), 33-58.
  • Bernard, Russell H., 1995 : Research Methods in Anthropology, Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, Altamira Press.
  • Bryman, A., 1988: Quantity and Quality in Social Research, London: Unwin Hyman Berger PL., Luckmann, T., The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, London: Penguin, 1966
  • Burgess, R. G., (ed.) 1982, : Field Research: A Sourcebook and Field Manual, George Allen and Unwin: London
  • Charmaz, C. (2006) Constructing grounded theory. London: Sage.
  • Clark-Ibanez, M. (2004). “Framing the Social World with Photo-Elicitation Interviews,” American Behavior Scientists, 47: 12 (August), 1507-1527.
  • Clifford, J., and Marcus, G., (Eds.) 1986. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, Berkeley: University of California Press,
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. 6th Edition. NY: Routledge.
  • Creswell, J. W., 2003 : Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, (2nd).
  • Denzin, Norman K., et al (eds.) 2000 : Handbook of Qualitative Research, New Delhi: Sage (2nd) 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
  • Geertz, C. (1973). Thick description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture. In The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. New York: Basic Book, pp. 3–30.
  • Glaser, B. G., and Strauss, A.L., 1967 : The Discovery of Grounded Theory, Chicago: Aldine.
  • 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:
  • Golafshani, Nahid (2003). Understanding Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. The Qualitative Report, Vol 8 (4), 597-607. Available online:
  • Hadley, K. G. (2007). “Will the least-adult please stand up? Life as “older sister Katy” in a Taiwanese elementary school.” In A. L. Best (Ed.) Representing youth: Methodological issues in critical youth studies. NY: NYU Press, pp. 157-181.
  • Hammersley, M. (2013). What is qualitative research? London: Bloomsbury.
  • Howell, KE., An introduction to the Philosophy of Methodology, London: sage, 2013
  • Hughes, J., The Philosophy of Social Research, London: Longman, 1990
  • Kirk, J., and Miller, M. L., 1987 : Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research, New Delhi: Sage Publications
  • Mason, J. 2002. Qualitative researching. London: Sage. Miles, M. and Huberman, A. 1994. Qualitative data analysis. 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.
  • Nakkeeran, N., “Is sampling a misnomer in qualitative research” Sociological Bulletin, 65 (1), January - April 2016, pp. 40-49
  • Nakkeeran, N., “Qualitative Research Methodology: Epistemological Foundation and Research Procedures”, Indian Journal of Social Work 67/1&2:104-118, January-April 2006
  • Narayan, K. (1993). How native is "Native" Anthropologist? American Anthropologist, 95(3), 671-686.
  • Nespor, J. (1999). “The meanings of research: Kids as subjects and kids as inquirers” Qualitative Inquiry,4(3), 369-388.
  • Pring, Richard (2004). Philosophy of Educational Research. London: Continuum.
  • Punch, S. (2002). “Research with children: The same or different from research with adults?” Childhood,9(3), 321–341.
  • Rosaldo, Renato (1993). Culture and Truth: The remaking of Social Analysis. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Srivastava, P. (2008). School choice in India: Disadvantaged groups and low-fee private schools. In M. Forsey, S. Davies & G. Walford (Eds.), Globalization of school choice? Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. UK: Symposium Books. pp 185-208.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Westcott, H. & Littleton, K. S. (2005). “Exploring meaning in interviews with children.” In S. Greene & D. Hogan (Eds.) Researching children’s experiences (pp. 141-157). London: Sage.
  • Willig, Carla (2010). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology.New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill. Chapters 2: Qualitative Research Design, p. 15-33
  • *Some readings will also be introduced/ replaced in the first week of class.


Additional Readings:

  • Axline, V. (1964).Dibs in Search of Self. New York: Ballatine Books.
  • Barker, John and Weller, Susan. (2003). “Is it fun?’ Developing children centered research methods.” The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 23 (1/2), 33-58.
  • Bogdan, R. C., &Biklen, S. K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theories and methods (4th ed.). New York: Pearson.
  • Cahill, S. (1990). “Childhood and public life: Reaffirming biographical divisions.” Social Problems, 37(3), 390-402.
  • Chapter 4, part 16: pp. 349-368. Also, section on “Interviewing children”: pp. 374-376
  • Cohen, L. Manion, L.& Morrison, K. (2007).Research methods in education. Nicholson.
  • Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000). Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into practice, 39(3), 124-130.
  • Crowley, C., Harré, R., &Tagg, C. (2002). Qualitative research and computing: methodological issues and practices in using QSR NVivo and NUD^* IST. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 5(3), 193-197.
  • Dyson, A. H. (1990). Research in review. Symbol makers, symbol weavers: How children link play, pictures and print. Young Children, 45(2), 50-57.
  • Dyson, A. H. (2003). “‘Welcome to the Jam:’ Popular culture, school literacy, and the making of childhoods.” Harvard Educational Review, 73(3), 328-361.
  • Geertz, C. (1973). Thick description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture. In The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. New York: Basic Book, pp. 3–30.
  • Geneshi, C. & Dyson, A. H. (2009). Children, Language, and Literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (2009). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Transaction Publishers.
  • Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory.London: Weidenfeld and
  • Jones, M. (2007). Using Software to Analyse Qualitative Data. Journal of Qualitative Research, 1(1), 64-76.
  • Knapp, Nancy Flanagan. 1997. “Interviewing Joshua: On the Importance ofLeaving Room for Serendipity.” Qualitative Inquiry 3(3): 326-342.
  • LeCompte, M. D., & Goetz, J. P. (1982). Problems of reliability and validity in ethnographic research.Review of educational research, 52(1), 31.
  • Literat, I. (2013). “‘A pencil for your thoughts’: Participatory drawing as a visual research method with children and youth.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 12, 84-98.
  • Marshall, Catherin &Rossman, Gretchen, B. (2006) Designing qualitative research, 4th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Mitchell, L. M. (2006). “Child-centered? Thinking critically about children’s drawings as a visual research method.” Visual Anthropology Review, 22(1), 6-73.
  • Narayan, K. (1993). How native is "Native" Anthropologist? American Anthropologist, 95(3), 671-686.
  • Rubin, H & Rubin, I. (2012) Qualitative Interviewing: The art of hearing data. London: Sage.
  • Sharma, S. (1992). Social science research in India: A Review. Economic and Political Weekly, 27 (49/50), 2642-2646. Available at:
  • Shaver, T., Frances, V., & Barnett, L. (1993).Drawing – and – Dialogue.Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine: Education Research.
  • Singh,A. (2009). Theatre in Pedagogy: theatrical devices as ClassroomResources in International Journal Arts and Society, 4 (1), 251-271.
  • Thomson, P. (2008). (Ed.)Doing visual research with children and young people. London: Routledge.
  • Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies. NY: The Free Press.