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Postgraduate | ACU-HLSC646-2023

Qualitative Research Methods

Study method

100% online


100% online

Entry requirements

Part of a degree


13 weeks

Start dates

  • 27 Feb 2023

FEE-HELP available

About this subject

What you'll learn

On successful completion of Qualitative Research Methods, students should be able to:

  1. Align the role of the researcher with a selected qualitative research approach (GA1, GA2, GA3);
  2. Apply knowledge of ethical risks in design, planning and conduct of qualitative research (GA4, GA9);
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in selected qualitative research methods of data collection, presentation, analysis, interpretation and communication (GA4, GA9);
  4. Apply knowledge and skills in qualitative data management (GA10).
    • Theoretical and paradigmatic frameworks in qualitative research
    • - Interpretive
    • - Critical
    • - Postmodern
    • Designing qualitative research
    • Qualitative research methodologies (Students may focus on one of the following)
    • - ethnography
    • - grounded theory
    • - phenomenology
    • - action research
    • - case study
    • - historical and archival research
    • - Integration studies (systematic reviews)
    • Trustworthiness in qualitative research
    • - Validity
    • - Credibility
    • - Sensitivity
    • = Reflexivity
    • Ethical and legal risks
    • Data collection methods
    • - Interviews
    • - Focus groups
    • - Participant observation
    • Reflective journaling
    • - Narrative /Storytelling
    • - Text
    • - Visual, non-textual data
    • Data analysis methods
    • Dissemination of results
    • Data management
  • The broad aim of this subject is to provide students with a strong research foundation for those who elect to undertake the research stream at Master’s degree level.  This subject is necessary for students to be able to execute knowledge and skills in order to plan and execute a substantial research-based project, capstone experience and/or piece of scholarship that responds to an administrative, leadership, educational or clinical challenge in health care.

    The subject meets the course objectives of preparing students to analyse and synthesise complex information and to use decision-making skills to respond to emerging challenges within a dynamic health environment. Specifically this subject aims to develop students’ abilities to use qualitative research methods in the context of ethical, person centred health related research. A variety of research approaches will be explored. Research questions, research design and research methods for qualitative data collection and analysis will be examined with a view to developing and conducting rigorous qualitative research. 

    The aim of this subject is to develop student’s knowledge and skill in relation to qualitative research methods so as to prepare them to undertake a scholarly research-based project.

  • In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit three graded assessment tasks. In addition, students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across all assessments. The assessment strategy used allows for the progressive development of knowledge and skills in relation to qualitative research methods so that students can demonstrate their preparedness to undertake a scholarly research-based project using a qualitative research approach. In order to develop their preparedness to undertake a scholarly research-based project, students need to develop a firm understanding of important aspects of qualitative research methodology, such as data collection and data analysis. The first assessment task allows students to study and demonstrate their knowledge of these aspects of methodology and to consider whether to continue with this data collection and/or data analysis method in their research proposal. The second assessment task involves the submission of posts made on the electronic discussion forum. The discussion forum allows students to demonstrate their initial understanding of important aspects of qualitative research methodology and to extend their knowledge via discussion with the lecturer and peers. The final assessment task involves the development of a research proposal using qualitative research methodology. This enables students to demonstrate an understanding of the various elements of a research proposal and their knowledge of qualitative research methodology with respect to these elements.

    • Essay: Data Collection /Analysis - Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of an aspect of qualitative research design. (25%)
    • Discussion Forum - Enables students to collaborate with peers and engage with the lecturer, in an online environment, to extend their knowledge of challenging issues and processes relevant to qualitative research methods (25%)
    • Expanded Methods Section of Research Proposal - Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of various elements of a research proposal and qualitative research methodology, and methods. (50%)
  • For textbook details check your university's handbook, website or learning management system (LMS).

  • Established in 1991 after amalgamating four eastern Australian Catholic tertiary institutes, Australian Catholic University now has seven campuses, from Brisbane to Melbourne and welcomes students of all beliefs. Specialising in arts, business, education, health sciences, law, theology and philosophy, ACU encourages its students to think critically and ethically and bring change to their communities and offer this online through Open Universities Australia.

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Entry requirements

To enrol in this subject, you must be admitted into a degree.

Prior study

You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:

one of


Pre-requisites: HLSC640 Interpreting Health Research OR HLSC641 Introductin to Health Science Research

Additional requirements

No additional requirements