Qualitative Methods: course review

Are qualitative methods as scientific as quantitative methods? This question was my first impression of the course since I did not have much experience in qualitative research. To answer the question, this course provided me basic knowledge and practical assignments.


The course leader was Helle Mölsted Alvesson but we also had some guest lectors. They gave us lectures about different data analysis methods in qualitative research and introduced their research project using those methods.

Course Themes

These were the main topic we have learned:

  • Characteristics of qualitative research
  • Qualitative data collection methods
  • Qualitative analysis methods
  • Quality measure in qualitative research

Each week, we were asked to work on different assignments both in a group and individually.

Course Schedule

This was a 5-week online course and, for the first time, the exam was also online! Lectures started at 9:00 am and self-study sessions were in the afternoon to work on assignments or core readings. Comparing to previous courses, I feel there was more self-study time which was great to schedule my own time.

Assignments and group work

  • Interview guide (group)
  • Interview transcript (individual)
  • Interview analysis (group or Individual)
  • Observation presentation (group)

We were asked to conduct an interview project as in a group. The first assignment was about setting research question and interview guide which including sampling strategy and interview topics. Our group decided to evaluate how COVID-19 has affected the mental health of international students at KI.

The second assignment was a transcription of our interviews. We worked on verbatim transcriptions and it took a much longer time than I expected. I had an hour interview and transcription took 2 days! If you will have the same assignment next year, I strongly recommend you not to start transcribing on the day of submission.

The third assignment was to analyze the transcriptions and present them in the class. At the moment, we have learned qualitative analysis methods and chose one of the methods either in a group or individually. The coding process and categorization were quite time-consuming, but our group worked very productively 😉

The last assignment was observation assignment. We had to chose a topic and went outside to observe people. These are some topics our classmates observed: how people keep social distance at the entrance of metro stations, How people wearing face masks and use hand sanitisers in pharmacies, what behaviors of parents can be seen in a park, etc.

My observation place


The exam was provided digitally for the first time in the program. The exam was divided into 2 parts. the first part represents the minimum requirements of the learning outcomes and we had to get 22/24 points. The second part determined the grade of pass or pass with distinction and the questions, therefore, gave us an opportunity to express more complex and advanced reasoning. Yup, they were tough😅 My recommendation is to review all the lecture materials and prepare to answer using your own words.


I hope this review helped you to get to know about our program. Feel free to contact me if you have any kind of questions! Arigato 🙂


Sakura Sakakibara - Public Health (Epidemiology)

Sakura Sakakibara - Public Health (Epidemiology)

Hej! I am Sakura, a nurse as well as a public health nurse from Japan. I am a master student of Public Health Epidemiology and also a new blogger at KI. I love watching formula races and hiking. I look forward to sharing my experience with you here!


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