COMMERCE 7100 - Qualitative Methods (M)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

This course is designed for students to fulfil the following learning objectives; Understanding the characteristics, roles and importance of qualitative research; Achieve a working familiarity with a range of qualitative methods; Acquire skills in qualitative data collection and analysis methods, including use of NVivo; Develop the ability to select, justify and execute qualitative methods appropriate to central research questions. Topics covered in this course may include: Qualitative research features and approaches; Theoretical traditions in qualitative research; The interface between qualitative and quantitative research; Qualitative data collection; Qualitative data analysis; The theory and application of a range of qualitative methodologies which may include components such as field based case study, interview methods, historical method, ethnography, grounded theory, action research and hermeneutical method.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMMERCE 7100
    Course Qualitative Methods (M)
    Coordinating Unit Management
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 36 hours
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Exam/assignments/tests/tutorial work as prescribed at first lecture
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Sabine Schuhrer

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    By the end of this course students should be able to:
    1 Design a research approach that appropriately and ethically addresses a research objective within a consistent conceptual framework, incorporating a coherent and suitable set of methods for design, data gathering and data analysis.
    2 Understand how question design relates to survey, focus group and interview question creation; design and evaluate questions for semi-structured interviews and focus groups; then conduct (and record / transcribe) interviews and focus groups in a professional and ethical manner.
    3 Select and use appropriate techniques, methods and tools for management of rich and complex research data and information; apply different methods and orders of analysis to rich, complex, qualitative data; and realistically evaluate the results.
    4 Use appropriate sophisticated software (Nvivo11 Pro) to support data management and facilitate data analysis.
    5 Present the results of qualitative research in a professional academic manner in both oral and written formats.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    4, 5

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • P. Erikson and A. Kovalainen, Qualitative Methods in Business Research, 2nd Edition, 2016, Sage Publication
    • Selected readings as provided on Canvas
    Recommended Resources
    Erikson, P. and A. Kovalainen (2016) Qualitative Methods in Business Research, 2nd ed. Sage: London.

    **strongly recommended**

    ** King, Nigel & Horrocks, Christine (2010) Interviews in Qualitative Research. Sage, London.**
    ** Gill, J & Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers 4th Ed. Sage: London. **
    ** Neuman, W. Lawrence (2010) Social Research Methods: Qualitative & Quantitative Approaches (7th Ed) Allyn & Bacon (6th ed 2005)**

    Depending upon personal preferences and methodological inclinations:
    • Checkland, Peter & Holwell, Sue. 1997 Information, Systems and Information Systems: Making Sense of the Field. Wiley.
    • Cresswell, John W. (2007) Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: choosing among five approaches. 2nd ed. Sage: London.
    • Crotty, M (1998) The foundations of social research: meaning and perspective in the research process. Sage: London.
    • Flick, Uwe (2006) An introduction to qualitative research. 3rd ed. Sage: London.
    • Silverman, David (2005) Doing Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. Sage: London.
    Online Learning
    This course is a combined offering for Honours, MBR, MPhil & PhD students and candidates. Consequently, difficulties are often encountered in enrolling in / accessing MyUni.

    Note: An enrollment into MyUni takes 24 hours to take effect, so - the sooner the better!
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course is designed to contribute to the overall output of a thesis at the end of the year (ie: as much as possible, all assignments and activities should become a part of your research, your thesis, and journal papers you will write*)**.

    This means that participation in face-to-face classes is vital. Participation in all activities is crucial and developing a community of practice is not only important now, but will ideally start to build a network of collegial peers who will continue as a support network for life

    *Qualitative Methods is primarily designed for students undertaking qualitative or hybrid research. Students who plan to use quantitative methods in their thesis but are required to take this Qualitative Methods course need to communicate with the LiC so some negotiation of applicability can be arranged.

    **Important note: In coursework, using material from one course in another is considered "self-plagiarism" and is unethical and unacceptable practice. In Higher Degree by Research (HDR) work, an important part of professional practice is peer review and building on works to produce more works (with appropriate referencing). It is acceptable and advisable practice to use the work produced in this course in your thesis (&/or proposal) and any journal articles you write about your research. However, it is NOT acceptable to use material produced in this course to submit  as an assessment activity in any other course during your Honours / MBR / MPhil or PhD program.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This course has a 3 hour per week face-to-face component. In addition, you are expected to spend significant additional time (as per note below) on preparation, reading and assignments each week.  

    Note: The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours (for a three-unit course) or 13 hours (for a four-unit course) of private study outside of your regular classes.

    Auditing Students

    Being permitted to audit a course is a privilege, and you are expected to honour the workload, reading, preparatory and participatory requirements to the same degree as enrolled students.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Specific Course Requirements
    Participation in both face-to-face and online activities is critical and therefore is required.

    Any need to deviate from any of the stated expectations must be negotiated with the Lecturer-in-Charge.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Weighting Due date Learning Outcomes
    In-class presentation 15% TBA 2, 3, 5
    In-class participation 15% ongoing 1-5
    NVivo asignment 10% TBA 3, 4
    Final essay (draft methodology chapter) 60% TBA 1-5
    Total 100%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The assessments are designed to support your journey of becoming an independent researcher. As such, you are now guided to become more independent and take ownership for your own work.  Keep in mind that you are training to be a researcher: this means that you need to be able to present, explain and defend your work among your peers, both junior and senior. 

    The assesment activities all contribute to your actual research project (or your peers') and/or to your future career strengths,whether your future career is as an academic or in the business professional world).

    To pass this course, all assessments need to be submitted on time and a score of min 50% for the final essay and the overall course  is required.

    Assessment Detail
    Student Presentation:
    Each week, starting from week 5, students are required to prepare a presentation. Each student is required to prepare one presentation for the semester. The topics are allocated at the start of the semester.

    Students will receive marks for participation, except for week 1 and 12. Participation marks will be awarded on the quality of the participation, including coming prepared (having done the readings on the topic before attending the lecture) and active participation during each week’s session.

    Draft methods chapter:
    The final assessment of this course is a draft methods chapter of approximately 3 500 words. For students whose thesis is not qualitative, an assessment will be negotiated separately.

    Submission data is detailed in the Assessment Detail section.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Because of the combined student body nature of this course, grades are published privately either by email or through MyUni. Therefore, final results for this course will NOT be made available through Access Adelaide (, except for MBR students.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Although SELTs are not often conducted in Higher Degree Research courses, this course is continually refined (as well as being conducted on emergent design principles) in response to student feedback. SELTs will be conducted, anyway, but further independent feedback is requested and welcomed.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.