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The University of Southampton

MEDI6229 Qualitative Methods for Public Health

Module Overview

Understanding qualitative research methods, and knowing how to interpret findings and conclusions from qualitative research is fundamental to being able to critique an evidence base. This module teaches you the underpinnings of qualitative research methods and how to apply these to research design. Key methods of data collection are explored, alongside prominent analytical techniques used when conducting qualitative research. You will develop the skills needed to critically appraise research when considering the results reported by others.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand the philosophical foundations of qualitative research and how methodological considerations influence the research process.
  • Understand when and how to use a variety of qualitative approaches to data collection, with an in-depth understanding of interviews and focus groups.
  • Understand when and how to use a variety of qualitative approaches to data analysis with a focus on thematic analysis.
  • Develop practical skills in conducting interview and focus group research, and in the utilisation of thematic analysis.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design effective qualitative studies and be able to understand and interpret interview talk.
  • Present research findings appropriately.
  • Critically appraise qualitative studies.
  • Design an effective qualitative proposal.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Be able to understand how to manage and analyse qualitative data.
  • Understand the ethical considerations that relate to different types of research.


• Introduction to qualitative methods • Planning focus groups and in-depth interviews • Data collection decisions in qualitative research • Data collection methods in qualitative research • Qualitative data analysis • Thematic analysis • Writing a qualitative proposal • Philosophy & principles of ethics in human research • Critical appraisal

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of methods will be used including lectures, active participatory methods, presentations by health researchers, e-learning/interactive tools for learning and self-assessment, guided reading, group study and individual study.

Independent Study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Holloway I. (2008). A-Z of qualitative research in nursing and healthcare. 

Bowling A. (2001). Research methods in health: Investigating health and health services. 

Silverman D. (2011). Interpreting Qualitative Data. 

Green J, Thorogood N. (2018). Qualitative Methods for Health Research. 

Braun and Clarke (2013). Successful Qualitative Research. 


Assessment Strategy

There will be two components to the assessment i) a formative multiple choice question (MCQ) examination, and ii) a written qualitative research strategy. The pass mark for the formative MCQ quiz is set at 90%. You must pass the online MCQ quiz by achieving the pass mark or more to pass the module. If you fail the MCQ quiz you are allowed to take it again until you pass. The pass mark for the written element module and module is 50%. If you have failed the module, you will have the opportunity to submit work at the next referral (re-sit) opportunity. On passing your referral, your final module mark will be capped at 50%.


Qualitative data collection and analysis exercise


MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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