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Course plan

Course credits 4.5 HP + 3 Hp

Basic course information

Education level: Third cycle

Grade: Fail/Pass; U/G

Subject: Qualitative Research Methods

Swedish name: Kvalitativa forskningsmetoder

Entry requirements: This course is open for PhD students with a basic knowledge of social sciences research.

Course examiner: Miguel A. Martínez (Professor of Housing and Urban Sociology)

Course aims

At the end of the course you should be able to:

• Understand key concepts in the design of research projects with qualitative methods

• Master sufficient skills to gather data with qualitative methods

• Conduct analysis of qualitative data in scientific research

• Critically evaluate the use of qualitative approaches in scientific studies and reports

Course content

The course will present various qualitative methods and engage students in discussions over the premises and use of these methods. Students will learn how to use the different methods through practical applications.

Course activities

The portion of the course worth 4.5 HP consists of:

  • 5 lectures and 5 seminars, all in-real-life, in Uppsala.
  • an initial online presentation will introduce the course, assignments and schedule.
  • compulsory literature must be read prior to each lecture and seminar.
  • research exercises and assignments will be conducted independently, before the lectures and seminars, and must be submitted within the due deadlines.
  • active participation in the lectures and seminars is requested.

Every lecture will be followed by in-class discussion of the assigned readings and the corresponding focal questions. Research exercises will be shared electronically in advance and discussed during the seminars. 

For an additional 3 HP, students have the option to:

  • submit a methodological essay (see 2 options below) in advance and discussed in the final seminar.
  • satisfactorily complete this essay and participate in the last seminar.

In particular:

1. Lectures. Every lecture will be followed by in-class discussion of the assigned readings and the corresponding focal questions.

2. Seminars. Five seminars are scheduled. Research exercises should be conducted before discussing them and the readings during the seminars. Read other group mates’ assignments before the seminar. Specific instructions for the assignments will be given in advance.

Any absence from the seminars should be justified. Otherwise, your mark will be lowered -if the make-up assignment is submitted; if not, no mark is given. 

3. Methodological Essay. Write a 3,000 to 5,000 words (not counting the references) analytical and reflective essay about qualitative methods. Option 1: Review one monograph (PhD dissertation, preferably) that has a substantial chapter on qualitative methods and might serve as a key reference for your PhD dissertation, in case you use qualitative methods; critically discuss methodological aspects (design, sampling, validity, implementation, effect on findings, etc.). Option 2: Develop a preliminary methodological chapter of your PhD dissertation based on qualitative methods; justify your methodological decisions, plans, arguments, etc.


Grades are based on the quality of the student’s performance: 1) Research exercises and participation in seminar discussions and lectures (for 4.5 HP); 2) Methodological essay and presentation in the final seminar (3 HP). In particular:

1) Assignments of 3 research exercises and performance in seminars #1 to #4 count up to 50 points: i.e. up to 16.6 points per (assignment + performance) x 3

2) The methodological essay counts up to 50 points (including both the written text and the performance in seminar #5)

Grading system: Fail (U) and Pass (G)



Assignment #1

(seminar #1)

Assignment #2

(seminar #2)

Assignment #3

(seminars #3 & #4)

Assignment #4

(seminar #5)


Up to 50

Up to 50

Pass (G)




If there are justified special reasons, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University´s disability coordinator.

Course Teacher(s)

Miguel A. Martínez  (Professor of Housing and Urban Sociology)


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