Advanced Qualitative Methods in Knowledge Society Research Codi:  63.501    :  5
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Aquest és el pla docent de l'assignatura per al segon semestre del curs 2022-2023. Podeu consultar si l'assignatura s'ofereix aquest semestre a l'espai del campus Més UOC / La universitat / Plans d'estudis). Un cop comenci la docència, heu de consultar-lo a l'aula. El pla docent pot estar subjecte a canvis.


The goal of the course is to support students practice key qualitative methods while gaining exposure to how diverse theoretical lenses make use of these methods in their doctoral theses. Specifically, students are encouraged to apply the feedback and recommendations provided by the course instructor and the learning resources to their own research projects, in order to improve the basic aspects of their methodology.

The course is structured in study modules - according to the different aspects of qualitative research methods that will be dealt upon during the semester. First, the course starts with an all-encompassing methodological approach to doing research in social and human sciences (module 1). Furthermore, qualitative research designs are examined. Students will expand their understanding of a research framework in the context of qualitative research by analyzing and evaluating research questions in qualitative studies. They will also analyze the interrelated elements of a research study making the connection among theory, problem, purpose and, now, qualitative research questions and design. Next, the key qualitative data collection techniques are studied (module 2), which involves in-depth analysis and research. Qualitative data collection methods are mainly focused on gaining insights, reasoning, and motivations; hence they go deeper in terms of research (module 3). Module 4 focuses on the procedures of analysis of qualitative data. Data analysis in qualitative research is defined as the process of systematically searching and arranging the interview transcripts, observation notes, or other non-textual materials that the qualitative researcher accumulates in order to increase the understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. During the semester, students will have the opportunity to read and discuss different learning resources related to qualitative methods, from articles published in peer-reviewed journal to research methods handbooks and book chapters. The course offers students the possibility to work on their research proposal and the data they may have collected for their doctoral thesis. Feedback will be given on the methodological approach section, too, including research paradigm, design, ontological and epistemological assumptions (module 5).

In a nutshell, the course covers the following main aspects:

  • Fundamentals of conducting qualitative research
  • Qualitative research designs
  • Data collection in qualitative research
  • Data analysis in qualitative research
  • Evaluating validity, quality and reliability of data
  • The methodology section of a doctoral thesis


The course within the program of studies

This is an optional course which is recommended to all doctoral students who need some additional support with reflecting upon the methodological framework of their thesis. The course is designed to help doctoral students improve their methodological skills for doing qualitative research - especially regarding the development of their own research projects (making methodological decisions, collecting and analyzing data and presenting their results in a consistent and rigorous way.


Professional fields in which it is recommended

This course is useful for all doctoral students in Social Sciences at the Open University of Catalonia whose thesis has a qualitative research elements (either qualitative or mixed-methods studies).


Previous Knowledge

This course assumes that students have some basic notions on qualitative methods, thus the emphasis (beyond going over each single technique discussing whichever aspects are thought to be necessary in dialogue with the students) will be set upon the development of a general methodological approach to qualitative research in the social sciences; only understanding what we do, what we can do, and we seek to do in our researches, we can use techniques of data gathering and analyzing without losing a certain creative perspective that makes us masters of our own research.


Information before starting this course

Please consult with your thesis supervisor the expectations you have from this course, desired outcomes and ambitions in relation to qualitative research design. The course instructor will provide you with personalized feedback addressing your individual learning needs for the development of your doctoral thesis.


Course objectives

The course will contribute to the development of students' 

  • Knowledge of the most relevant qualitative methods
  • Ability to apply research methods from traditional social sciences qualitative research to their disciplines
  • Ability to use new ICT-based methods to study different phenomena and for overall empirical research
  • Ability to ponder the feasibility and reliability, the strengths and weaknesses of different qualitative methods
  • Knowledge of the ethical considerations of qualitative research
  • Ability to analyze qualitative data and draw conclusions


Starting date:

28 September 2022

End date:

6 February 2023



An all-encompassing methodological approach to doing research in social and human sciences

In this phase of your studies, the existing research in your field may seem immense, if not overwhelming.

In this module, you familiarize yourself with various frameworks and theories, to gain an understanding of the role of the qualitative research in social and human sciences. As you consider the role of theory in research you will explore the connection between philosophical orientations and the epistemological and ontological assumptions of theory.



Qualitative research designs

There are many tools and techniques available to shape a qualitative approach to research, some dependent on circumstances. In this module, you will expand your understanding of a research framework in the context of qualitative research by analyzing and evaluating research questions in qualitative studies. You will also continue to analyze the interrelated elements of a research study making the connection among theory, problem, purpose and, now, qualitative research questions and design. In addition, you will reflect on the criteria for evaluating the quality of qualitative research designs and you will consider the relationship between quality criteria and discipline standards.



Data collection in qualitative research

In this module, you will evaluate the strengths and limitations of sampling methods and data collection methods, and you will consider their ethical implications. You will also be given some guidelines for the process of data collection, through examples from published research. There is a variety of sampling methods and various data collection methods being used in qualitative research and you will be able to focus on those which are closer to your own research project



Data analysis in qualitative research

Compared to quantitative data, which captures more structured information, qualitative data is unstructured and has more depth. The analysis of such data can help you answer your research questions, formulate hypotheses and build understanding on your research topic.

While qualitative data doesn't require statistics and mathematical knowledge, its analysis isn't easier. In many short scale qualitative studies the data is analyzed manually.

NVivo is a widely used computer assisted qualitative data analysis software package which provides a potentially useful tool for the management and analysis of qualitative research data. During this module you will have the opportunity to use this tool for the analysis of data you may have collected for your own research project.



The methodology section of your doctoral thesis

In this module you will have the opportunity to go through all the sections of the methodology chapter of your doctoral thesis. From the research paradigm, research design, research questions, data collection instruments, data analysis, and ethical considerations, to name a few. After reflecting on the most important elements to consider for this chapter, you will have the option to get personalized feedback on your own work, which can be shared with your thesis supervisor with who you will take the final methodological decisions



El procés d'avaluació es fonamenta en el treball personal de l'estudiant i pressuposa l'autenticitat de l'autoria i l'originalitat dels exercicis realitzats.

La manca d'autenticitat en l'autoria o d'originalitat de les proves d'avaluació; la còpia o el plagi; l'intent fraudulent d'obtenir un resultat acadèmic millor; la col·laboració, l'encobriment o l'afavoriment de la còpia, o la utilització de material o dispositius no autoritzats durant l'avaluació, entre d'altres, són conductes irregulars que poden tenir conseqüències acadèmiques i disciplinàries greus.

D'una banda, si es detecta alguna d'aquestes conductes irregulars, pot comportar el suspens (D/0) en les activitats avaluables que es defineixin en el pla docent - incloses les proves finals - o en la qualificació final de l'assignatura, sigui perquè s'han utilitzat materials o dispositius no autoritzats durant les proves, com ara xarxes socials o cercadors d'informació a internet, perquè s'han copiat fragments de text d'una font externa (internet, apunts, llibres, articles, treballs o proves d'altres estudiants, etc.) sense la citació corresponent, o perquè s'ha practicat qualsevol altra conducta irregular.

De l'altra, i d'acord amb les normatives acadèmiques, les conductes irregulars en l'avaluació, a més de comportar el suspens de l'assignatura, poden donar lloc a la incoació d'un procediment disciplinari i a l'aplicació, si escau, de la sanció que correspongui.

La UOC es reserva la potestat de sol·licitar a l'estudiant que s'identifiqui o que acrediti l'autoria del seu treball al llarg de tot el procés d'avaluació pels mitjans que estableixi la Universitat (síncrons o asíncrons). A aquests efectes, la UOC pot exigir a l'estudiant l'ús d'un micròfon, una càmera o altres eines durant l'avaluació i que s'asseguri que funcionen correctament.

La verificació dels coneixements per garantir l'autoria de la prova no implicarà en cap cas una segona avaluació.


Aquesta assignatura només es pot superar a partir de l'avaluació contínua (AC). La nota final d'avaluació contínua esdevé la nota final de l'assignatura. La fórmula d'acreditació de l'assignatura és la següent: AC.