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TM5524 - Qualitative Research Methods forTropical Health Practitioners

[Offered in even-numbered years]

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: Sch Public Health,Trop Medicine&Rehabilitation Sc

The subject will introduce students to the uses and conduct of social science health research applicable in tropical communities. There will be a strong emphasis on qualitative research using practical examples of local tropical research. This approach will demonstrate those social science methodologies applicable for the socio-cultural research required in tropical settings, including cross-cultural studies and grounded theory. The main topics covered will include: the nature and purposes of qualitative research, planning and design, ethical issues, sampling, methods of data collection (including in-depth interviews, focus groups, observation and documentary analysis), analysing qualitative data, the use of computers for qualitative analysis, writing research reports and assessing qualitative research reports. Practical work will be part of the one week mini-block program. Social science oriented qualitative research methods will be presented both as a set of research methods in their own right and as methods to be combined with social science quantitative methods. Our approach to this subject is that research methods employed should be governed by the nature and demands of the inquiry.

Learning Outcomes

  • understand the contexts and purposes for which qualitative social science research is particularly well suited within tropical communities, either on its own or as a complement to quantitative research;
  • become familiar with the main approaches to qualitative research design that best serve the needs of tropical communities;
  • understand the principles of qualitative sampling;
  • have gained introductory experience in some main forms of qualitative data collection with particular emphasis on those methods most applicable to tropical community settings;
  • understand the principles of qualitative data analysis;
  • be able to write qualitative research reports;
  • be able to critically assess qualitative research reports.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to appraise information critically;
  • The ability to use independent judgment to synthesise information to make intellectual and/or creative advances;
  • The ability to place their research in a broader (preferably international)theoretical, practical and policy context.;
  • The ability to think laterally and be original;
  • The ability to conceptualise problems;
  • The ability to conceptualise and evaluate a range of potential solutions to relevant problems;
  • The ability to encompass and use methods and conceptual advances in areas of knowledge cognate to their central area(s) of expertise;
  • The ability to evaluate and extrapolate from the outcomes of their research;
  • The ability to plan, conduct and manage research in their discipline;
  • The ability to conduct their research in an ethical manner;
  • The ability to communicate the methodology, results and implications of their research in a manner appropriate to different purposes and audiences;
  • The ability to make constructive contributions to project teams or collegial activities;
  • The potential to resolve conflicts.


Townsville, Study Period 1, Limited
Census Date 22-Mar-2012
Face to face teaching 28-May-2012 to 01-Jun-2012
Coordinator: Ms Julie Parison
Lecturers: Ms Julie Parison, <Person not found>.
Assessment: assignments (50%); first written assignment to be delivered at beginning of block (20%); second written assignment due on the monday after the completion of block (30%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.