EDUC 7020 - Qualitative Approaches to Research

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

This course provides students with an introduction to a range of qualitative research methods and clarifies these in relation to qualitative methodologies, theoretical perspectives and philosophical debates. The course also addresses data analysis and complex questions of validity and reliability in qualitative approaches.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 7020
    Course Qualitative Approaches to Research
    Coordinating Unit School of Education
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 36 hours per Semester
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge EDUC 7065
    Assessment Essay ? short answer response to questions, Individual oral presentation, Qualitative literature review
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Steven Stolz

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this course students will have:

    1 Knowledge and understanding of qualitative approaches to research.
    2 An understanding of the relationship between qualitative research, methodology, methods, and theory.
    3 An understanding of qualitative research processes.
    4 A critical understanding of the benefits and challenges of qualitative research.
    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.

    1, 2

    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.

    3, 4

    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.

    1, 2

    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.


    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 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital 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
    Bogden, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2017). Qualitative Research for Education: An Introduction to Theories and Methods (5th edn.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

    Creswell, J. W., & Guetterman, T. C. (2019). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (6th edn.). New York, NY: Pearson.

    Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (4th edn.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Hammersley, M. (2013). What is Qualitative Research? London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    Hennink, M., Hutter, I., & Bailey, A. (2020). Qualitative Research Methods (2nd edn.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Holley, K., & Harris, M. (2019). The Qualitative Dissertation in Education: A Guide for Integrating Research and Practice. New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.

    Kridel, C. (Ed.). (1998). Writing Educational Biography: Explorations in Qualitative Research. New York, NY & London, UK: Garland Publishing.

    Ling Pan, M. (2016). Preparing Literature Reviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (5th edn.). New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.

    Luttrell, W. (Ed.). (2010). Qualitative Educational Research: Readings in Reflexive Methodology and Transformative Practice. New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.

    Mason, J. (2018). Qualitative Researching (3rd edn.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    O’Reilly, M., & Kiyimba, N. (2015). Advanced Qualitative Research: A Guide to Using Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Pring, R. (2015). Philosophy of Educational Research (3rd edn). London, UK: Bloomsbury.

    Quay, J., Bleazby, J., Stolz, S., Toscano, M., & Webster, S. (Eds.). (2018). Theory and Philosophy in Education Research: Methodological Dialogues. New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.

    Ravitch, S. M., & Mittenfelner Carl, N. (2021). Qualitative Research: Bridging the conceptual, Theoretical, & Methodological (2nd edn.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Swaminathan, R., & Mulvihill, T. (2017). Critical Approaches to Questions in Qualitative Research. New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.
    Recommended Resources
    Atkin, L., & Wallace, S. (2012). Qualitative Research in Education. London: Sage.

    Atkinson, P., & Hammersley, M. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in Practice (3rd ed.). London and New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

    Berg, B. L., & Lune, H. (2012). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2007). Qualitative Research for Education: An Introduction to Theories and Methods (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Brinkmann, S., & Kvale, S. (2015). InterViews : Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

    Bryman, A. (2016). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research Methods in Education (7th ed.). Oxon and New York: Routledge.

    Corbin, J. M., & Strauss, A. L. (2015). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

    Elliott, A. (2014). Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction (2nd ed.). Oxon and New York: Routledge.

    Flick, U. (Ed.). (2014). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. London: Sage Publications.

    Glesne, C. (2016). Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Grbich, C. (2013). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Introduction (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.

    Hammersley, M. (2013). What is Qualitative Research? London and New York: Bloomsburry.

    Hollis, M. (1994). The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Inglis, D., & Thorpe, C. (2012). An Invitation to Social Theory. Malden: Polity Press.

    Liamputtong, P. (2013). Qualitative Research Methods (4th ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    May, T. (2011). Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process (4th ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

    O'Donoghue, T. (2006). Planning Your Qualitative Research Project: An Introduction to Interpretivist Research in Education. Oxon and New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

    Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

    Payne, G., & Payne, J. (2004). Key Concepts in Social Research. London: Sage Publications.

    Punch, K. F. (2009). Introduction to Research Methods in Education. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

    Rose, G. (2012). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. London: Sage Publications.

    Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

    Walter, M. (Ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
    Online Learning
    Beyond the list of references provided, useful resources about qualitative research are available in academic journals. There are various journals dedicated to qualitative research. Most journal articles are available directly via the university library search engine:

    Most notably these journals include:


    Qualitative Research

    Qualitative Inquiry

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    On campus

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

    There is a weekly two-hour seminar and students are expected to attend all sessions.

    The course is constructed as a graduate-level seminar program. Students are expected to make a substantial contribution to class discussion, and everyone is expected to prepare for class by undertaking appropriate preliminary readings and other activities. 

    Students are strongly encouraged to utilise the collaborative facilities available through MyUni to assist each other to explore this important and interesting subject.

    The collaborative and communication skills developed through regular and active participation in discussions are essential skills in educational research and professional practice.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Welcome and introduction to EDUC7020
    A detailed overview of EDUC7020 (inclusive of assessment tasks)
    What is qualitative research?
    • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch1 from Hammersley (2013, pp. 1-20) titled, “Defining qualitative research”
    • Ch 2 from Hennink et al (2020, pp. 8-28) titled, “The nature of qualitative research”
    • Introduction from Luttrell (2010, pp. 1-17) titled, “The promise of qualitative research in education”
    Week 2 Qualitative research design

    • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 3 from Hennink et al (2020, pp. 30-49) titled, “The design cycle”

    Week 3
    Ethical issues in qualitative research

    • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 5 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Ethical issues in qualitative research” from pp. 70-91. 
    Week 4 Sampling and participant recruitment • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 6 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Sampling and participant recruitment” from pp. 92-115.
    Week 5 What is a (qualitative) literature review? • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 4 from Holley & Harris (2019) titled, “Literature Review” from pp. 69-88.
    Week 6 In-depth interviews • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 7 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “In-depth interviews” from pp. 116-137.
    Week 7 Focus group discussions • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 8 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Focus group discussions” from pp. 138-169.
    Week 8 Observations • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 9 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Observations” from pp. 170-207.
    Week 9 Data preparation and developing codes
    Textual data analysis
    • Ch 10 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Data preparation and developing codes” from pp. 208-235.
    • Ch 11 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Textual data analysis” from pp. 236-267.
    Week 10 Academic writing of qualitative research
    Peer teaching: mapping diverse pathways
    Alternative approaches to qualitative research
    • Ch 13 from Hennink et al (2020) titled, “Academic writing of qualitative research” from pp. 292-320.
    • Ch 3 from Swaminathan & Mulvihill (2017) titled, “Mapping diverse pathways” from pp. 77-93.
    • Ch 4 from Creswell & Poth (2018) titled, “Five Qualitative approaches to inquiry” from pp. 65-110.
    Week 11
    The practice of reflexivity in qualitative research
    Reflexive writing exercise
    Writing workshop (qualitative literature reviews)
    • Online learning resources – MyUni.
    • Ch 29 from Luttrell (2010) titled, “Reflexive writing exercises” from pp. 469-480.
    • Ch 30 from Luttrell (2010) titled, “Summary of kinds of responses” from pp. 481-484.
    • Ch 31 from Luttrell (2010) titled, “’Joining in’ and ‘knowing the I’: on becoming reflexive scholars” from pp. 485-490.
    • “Checklist of Guidelines” from Ling Pan (2016) from pp. 125-132.
    • “Model Literature Reviews” from Ling Pan (2016) titled, “Qualitative Literature Reviews” from pp. 133-137; 139-142; 143-145.
    Week 12 Writing workshop (qualitative literature reviews)
    • Online learning resources – MyUni.

  • 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 Task Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Assessment task #1:
    Essay – short answer response to questions

    week #6 30 1, 2, 3 & 4
    Assessment task #2, part A:
    Recorded individual oral presentation

    week #9 20 1, 2, 3 & 4
    Assessment task #2, part B:
    Qualitative literature review

    week #12 50 1, 2, 3 & 4
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment task #1:
    Essay – short answer response to questions
    (word guide range: approx. 1,800 words)

    Using the lecture program, tutorials/workshops, prescribed readings for this course, and your own research, answer 2 questions as a short answer response.
    Assessment task #2, part A:
    Recorded individual oral presentation
    (Time limit: approximately 5-8 minutes depending on the time available)

    Select one (1) topic of research that you are interested in. Use the research topic selected and record your individual oral presentation (approximately 5–8 minutes) for the purposes of this assessment task.
    Assessment task #2, part B:
    Qualitative literature review
    (word guide range: approx. 3, 000 words)

    Using your selected topic from assessment task #2, part A, write a qualitative literature review using approximately 30 to 45 pieces of literature from reputable and acceptable sources.
    Assignment Submission will be via MyUni
    Assignment Submission dates will be made available via MyUni.
    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.

  • 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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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