Qualitative Methodologies, Data Collection and Analytic Approaches

This is an introductory course designed for the individual with limited or no previous experience with qualitative techniques of data collection and analysis.

Level 1 - runs over 5 days
Emeritus Professor Carol Grbich is a Social Epidemiologist from Flinders University, South Australia.  Her previous appointments were in the School of Behavioural Health Sciences at Latrobe University and in the School of Education at Monash University. She is an experienced researcher and teacher of qualitative research and is the author of 7 qualitative textbooks including; Qualitative Research in Health: An introduction (Allen and Unwin and Sage International, 1999); New Approaches in Social Research (London Sage publications, 2004) and Qualitative Data Analysis (London Sage Publications, 2013). She was the foundation Editor of one of the two International Journals whose focus is on mixed research methods and is the recipient of over $80 million in research grants.
Course dates: Monday 18 January 2016 - Friday 22 January 2016
Course status: Course completed (no new applicants)
Week 1
About this course: 

The aim of the course is to give you accessible and comprehensive coverage of the current state of qualitative research, especially with regard to theoretical underpinnings, methodologies and techniques of both data collection and analysis. The course will combine lectures and practical 'workshops'.  Time will also be set aside during the breaks for participants to discuss their own research. 

The target audience for this course is those who would like to become more familiar with qualitative research techniques, from postgraduate university students and staff to researchers in government and private organisations.


Course syllabus: 

Topics scheduled are:

Day 1
Introductory session. Outline of the course and identification of participants’ research interests and expectations. Framing. Theoretical underpinnings from positivism through post modernism to performative research. Types of qualitative methodologies. Issues of qualitative design: sampling; triangulation; validity and reliability and ethics.


Day 2
Interviewing. Casual and formal techniques of faceto face interviewing (access, rapport, recording, and types of questions). Data storage: transcribing interviews, preliminary data analysis, recursive techniques of data collection. Workshop on face to face interviewing. Group interviews.


Day 3
Focus groups and participant observation techniques. Workshop on running a focus group. Participant observation - usage, ethical issues and procedures involved. Workshop on participant observation and writing up observation sessions. Preliminary data analysis on interviewing and observation data.


Day 4
Data analysis: types of analysis during and after data collection. Workshop on thematic analysis and developing a coding system. Content analysis techniques and issues. Workshops on content and discourse analysis (cultural rather than linguistic).


Day 5
Computer management tools for qualitative data. Writing up data for different types of research: thesis, articles, and reports. Techniques of data presentation and display. Criteria for assessing good qualitative research.


Course format: 

This course will take place in a classroom. No equipment is required.


While most ACSPRI courses finish just before 3pm on the Friday, this course typically finishes around lunchtime. Time is generally made up during lunch breaks throughout the week (one-on-one consultation).

Recommended Background: 

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Recommended Texts: 

Other reading:

  • Grbich, C., Qualitative Data Analysis  London:  Sage International, 2013.
  • Grbich, C. New Approaches in Social Research. London: Sage Publications 2004
  • Denzin, N., and Y. Lincoln, Handbooks of Qualitative Research, California: Sage,. various versions, various years of publication.
  • Minichiello, V., R. Aroni, E. Timewell, and L. Alexander, In-Depth Interviewing: Researching People, (2nd ed), Melbourne: Longman Cheshire, 2008.
Course fees
Non Member: 
Full time student Member: 

Q: Do I have to have had any qualitative or quantative research experience to do this course?
A: No, this is an introductory course and no prior knowledge is required


Q: Has the name of this course changed?
A: This course was previously known as Introduction to Qualitative Research Techniques

Participant feedback: 

Carol was fabulous at using lecturer & class activities to explore concepts & reinforce content. The balance was great & effective for learning. (Spring 2015)


It has provided me with an understanding of how to move through a qualitative research quest. (Spring 2015)


Our facilitator, Prof Carol GRBICH was fabulous. Her teaching method was a great mix and she got all attendees involved in discussions. Most of all, she was a great listener and did not rush her students when discussions were happening. (Summer 2015)


Has given a much clearer understanding of the initial steps involved in researching as well as methods that can be employed for different types of analysis (Summer 2015)


Excellent course as it is pitched towards all levels of experience especially beginners (Summer 2015)


Nice balance between theory and applications. Enjoyed practicing the interviews and analysing text based and visual data examples.(Summer 2015)


Very useful on 2 levels. post - grad PHD study and work related uses. Great comprehensive introduction to qualitative methods! (Summer 2015)


Practical activites (interviewing, focus groups) most useful part of course. (Winter 2015)


It focuses on the actual skills for Qual research and we had a lot practice and discussion on it. (Winter 2015)


Both good overview of technique, specific practice of focus groups. (Winter 2015)


Awareness and understanding of many different Qual methods. Explained very clearly. (Winter 2014)

Summer Program 2016

The instructor's bound, book length course notes will serve as the course text.