This course is an introductory course to qualitative research, and is mandatory for first year PhD students in Social Work. The course will introduce some core issues in conducting qualitative research, with a focus on grounded theory approaches. Elements of community-based, participatory action research (CBR/CBPR), arts-based research and indigenous research approaches will also be interwoven into the curriculum. Pros and cons of each methodology are considered, and basic techniques of data collection and analysis introduced, including interviews, observation, and coding. Selected other topics may include epistemological issues, researcher positionality, ethics, trustworthiness, use of computer programs (NVivo), and working with community members/advisory boards.
The course is constructed to ensure a cohesive progression across theoretical and methodological approaches. The first assignment is a hands-on experience on conducting and analyzing a research interview, and the final assignment is to develop a methodologically and ethically sound qualitative proposal (assignments may reflect a grounded theory, CBR/CBPR, arts-based or indigenous approach).
The course has two required components; the morning session mainly has lectures, discussions, and activities, and the afternoon session (led by a graduate student instructor) has hands-on experiential exercises including computer sessions. There are two spaces reserved in this seminar course for doctoral students from CQ (Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research) participating programs. For social work students, this course builds on and supports the social work Ph.D. level epistemology (SWK 6302H), quantitative methods (SWK 6308H) and theory (SWK 6005H) courses. Thus, non-social work students may wish to read additional materials to familiarize themselves with social work in consultation with the instructors.