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NUR8040 Qualitative Research Methods

Semester 1, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Nursing and Midwifery

Contents on this page


Examiner: Lisa Beccaria
Moderator: Nicholas Ralph


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MSCR or MMHN or MNRS or MOHH or PDEV or BPSH or MNSG or (BSCI with Psychology major 13815)

Other requisites

Students need to completeHSC8050 (or equivalent) as a pre-requisite or co-requisite


Qualitative research has gained international recognition in its contribution to better understanding in the health professions since the late twentieth century and research and research literacy underpin the work of professionals in health. Qualitative inquiry focuses on providing a deeper understanding of the human element in relation to studying a specific research question.
The use of qualitative approaches and methods enables the researcher to explore the topic with the research participants to make sense of the person?s actions and narratives and the way these impact on the person, in context, using data collection in a variety of ways. Qualitative research assists researchers to understand the social and psychosocial elements that influence the world of the individual. It provides contrasting and complementary perspectives to findings based on quantitative research methods when change to health care is under consideration.
This course introduces postgraduate students to the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research, major qualitative research methodologies and methods of data collection and analysis with a focus on interpretive, critical and post-modern research methods.


This course builds on the research knowledge and skills introduced in HSC8050 Research Methods in the Human Sciences. It develops the student's ability to make use of qualitative research strategies contributing to the foundational knowledge of research literacy for professionals working in the areas of health and human services.

In this course students will critically examine the contribution of qualitative research to health and human service practice; the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research, and develop skills and application of the purposes, designs and processes of qualitative research. Student will critically evaluate the comparison with and co-contribution to empirical research methods.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. identify and critically examine relevant examples of qualitative research for health services (Assignment 1)
  2. recognise the differences between qualitative methodologies used in health related research. (Assignments 1 & 2)
  3. appraise the contribution of qualitative research to health care practice, policy and service. (Assignments 1 & 2)
  4. apply the principles of qualitative research strategies and methods in health focused research topics. (Assignment 2)
  5. design qualitative research projects at a conceptual level including the development of research questions, data collection strategies and interpretive analysis approaches. (Assignment 2)
  6. demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing. (Assignments 1 & 2)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Module 1 Qualitative Research Methodology - introduction to: the philosophical foundations for qualitative research; the broad area of qualitative research design; the qualitative research process; and research ethics. The contribution of qualitative research in practice, policy and service. 20.00
2. Module 2.1 The paradigms for qualitative research: Developing a qualitative research question; interpretive methodologies, critical methodologies, post-modern methodologies; triangulation and mixed methods.
Module 2.2 The Skills of the Qualitative Researcher - critically examining and managing personal values `biases', researcher honesty, sensitivity and non-judgmental acceptance, recording qualitative data, developing qualitative research skills, participant observation, individual interviewing, focus-group interviews, praxis and action research, phenomenological research, grounded theory research.
3. Module 3 Analysing Qualitative Data - critically examining and selecting an appropriate method to analyse data, analysing text-based research data, the use of computers in qualitative analysis, writing a qualitative research report. 30.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Holloway, I. & Wheeler S 2010, Qualitative research in nursing and healthcare, 3rd edn, Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex.
  • Liamputtong, P 2012, Qualitative research methods, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Barbour, R.S 2008, Introducing qualitative research: A student's guide to the craft of doing qualitative research [electronic resource], Sage, Los Angeles.
  • Berg, B.L., & Lune, H 2012, Qualitative research methods for the social sciences: Collection, organization, and analysis strategies, 8th edn, Pearson, Boston.
  • Denzin, NK & Lincoln, YS 2011, The sage handbook of qualitative research, 4th edn, Sage Publications, Los Angeles.
  • Findlay, L., & Ballinger, C 2006, Qualitative research for allied health professionals: Challenging choices, John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex.
  • Flick, E 2009, An introduction to qualitative research, 4th edn, Sage, London.
  • King, N. & Horrocks, C 2010, Interviews in qualitative research, Sage, Los Angeles.
  • Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J 2007, Handbook for synthesizing qualitative research, Springer, New York.
  • Streubert, H. J. & Carpenter, D. R 2011, Qualitative research in Nursing:Advancing the humanistic imperative, 5th edn, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  • Taylor, B & Francis K 2013, Qualitative research in the health sciences, Routledge, New York.
  • Willig, C., & Stainton-Rogers, W 2008, The SAGE handbook of qualitative research in psychology, Sage, Los Angeles.
  • Sage Reference Online Handbook Collection (accessed through USQ databases).
  • Sage Research Methods Online (accessed through USQ databases).

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 60.00
Private Study 100.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
WRITTEN ASSIGN 1 100 40 27 Apr 2015
QUAL RESEARCH ASSIGN 100 60 11 Jun 2015

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete an assessment item satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for that assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  3. APA (6th ed) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA (6th ed) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA (6th ed) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //