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HSCI 483 Applied Qualitative Methods for Health Research

HSCI 483 Applied Qualitative Methods for Health Research

 Winter 2024 (Blended)
 Year 4 Optional Course
 9-10 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course

Qualitative methodologies/methods provide an opportunity for researchers to explore diverse perspectives on, and experiences of health care systems. In this course students will explore multiple qualitative methodologies and methods that are used to collect and analyze non-numeric behaviours, experiences, and/or perspectives. This course provides students with an opportunity enhance and apply prior qualitative research skills. In this course, students will design and initiate a qualitative research project on a topical health and health care issues. Students will discuss positionality, ethical considerations, subjectivities, and power relationships associated with the conduct of research involving humans and ways of navigating them.

Minimum 3rd year (level 3) standing and HSCI 383/3.0.

This course will be delivered both in person and online.

  1. Compare methodological approaches to qualitative health research to align appropriate methodologies and methods to research questions.
  2. Explain ethical principles, power dynamics and relationality in qualitative inquiry to inform reflexivity and positionality in their own research.
  3. Apply qualitative research methodologies in practice to recognize benefits and limitations of various approaches.
  4. Utilize qualitative data analysis software to analyze qualitative data and apply methods of triangulation.
  5. Present proposals and findings of qualitative research.

Assessment 1: Participation (20%)

Active participation in class is taken seriously in this course. From week 3 onwards, students will be required to write weekly brief reflections (maximum 300 words), which will be part of their participation grade (10 total reflections). Each completed reflection will be worth 1.5% of the final grade (the rest of this grade will be based on in class participation as determined by the instructor). Students who are unable to attend class will be required to do the readings and submit their reflections before the end of the week to earn the participation mark. Students will be offered the opportunity to share their own experiences regarding the nature of qualitative inquiry they are undertaking. Students are free to decide the extent to which they feel comfortable sharing their experiences; contributions to this aspect will not be graded. Respect for each other is critical in this course.

Assessment 2: Research Proposal and presentation (20%; 2 x 10%)

Students will be assigned to groups to explore a health-issue reflecting on various qualitative methodologies and using specific methods. The health topic will be decided in class following discussion, and then each group will be given the opportunity to select from a list of specific qualitative approaches, after an order-of-selection is generated by lottery. In this proposal groups will state their research question, describe the theoretical underpinnings of their qualitative methodology/method, and outline how they will collect and analyze their data. An opportunity for a formative (non-graded) presentation will occur prior to the date for the graded assessment. Students will present their proposals (max. 15 minutes) and take questions from the class.  This will enable the incorporation of feedback prior to submitting the written version. The proposal will be a maximum of 1500 words in 12-point font and double-spaced. The presentation and submitted proposal will be worth 10% each. The format/expectations/rubric for these presentations will be provided on the course page.

Assessment 3:  Presentation on research findings (30%)

An opportunity for a formative (non-graded) presentation will occur prior to the date for the graded assessment.  In week 9 the group will present the findings of their research to date (maximum 15 minutes). This presentation will be worth 20% of the final grade and will focus on data collection, data analysis, rigour, and results. The format/expectations/rubric for these presentations will be provided on the course page.

Assessment 4:  Final project (30%)

Students will end the course with the submission of a term paper (about 6-9 pages, double spaced). The final term paper will be submitted individually and will build on the group project they worked on throughout the term. Thus, while the submitted methodology and methods sections will be the same amongst students in the same group, students will be expected to write their own introduction, results and discussion of their research findings; incorporating the feedback they received on their final presentation. The format/expectations/rubric for this project will be provided on the course page.

The required textbook for consideration is:

Judith Green and Nicki Thorogood (2014). Qualitative Methods for Health Research (4th Edition). London: Sage.