Qualitative Methods: The Basics

MET512NFB Qualitative Methods: The Basics

  • Evaluation


    Course grading (A-F) is based on the following assessments, weighted as indicated:

    1)Class participation and contribution 25% (week I & II)

    2)Course paper presentation 25% (week I & II)

    3)Final course paper 50%

  • Prerequisites


  • Topics


     Part I (first week): Designing and collecting qualitative research

    Familiarize participants with different types of qualitative research

    Start developing own qualitative research project/paper

    Learn about designing qualitative studies

    Doing field work/Collecting data - developing a toolkit of data collection methods

    • Interviewing 
    • Observations
    • Documents
    • Diaries
    • Visual Means (Collages, Photography, Autodriving)
    • Videography
    • Netnography

    Ethical issues during data collection 

    Interacting with informants

    Preparing data for analysis: Managing, organizing and transcribing data

    At the end of week I students shall present a proposal for a qualitative research paper.

    Between week I and week II students are expected to collect some qualitative data for

    their course paper.

    Part II (second week) : Interpreting and analyzing qualitative data

    • Coding practices and first-order analysis
    • Analyzing variance and processes
    • Analyzing and interpreting social interaction
    • The art of theorizing and theory development
    • Writing up and presenting qualitative data
    • How to establish and meet validity criteria in qualitative research
    • Publishing qualitative research and making a theoretical contribution
  • Literature


    The literature consists of four books + a reading package and online materials to conduct a `real-time´ learning experience that blends theory, analysis, interpretation and collegial interaction.

    1. Belk, R, Fischer, E. and Kozinets, R (2013), "Getting started: How to Begin a Qualitative Research Process" in Qualitative Consumer and Marketing Research, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, Chapter 2
    2. Cresswell, John, W. 2013. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, Choosing Among Five Approaches. Sage Publications.
    3. McCracken, Grant (1988), The Long Interview, Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
    4. Jorgensen, Danny (1989), Participant Observation, Newbury Park, CA, Sage.
    5. Punch, Maurice (1986), The Politics and Ethics of Fieldwork, Newbury Park, Sage.

    The articles (reading package) will be available on the course homepage on It's learning. NHH uses it's learning as the online teaching platform. Lecture notes, announcements, resources, and other related material will be posted on It's Learning. Each student has the responsibility to regularly check and download material from It's Learning.

     Recommended literature:

    Symon, G. & Cassell, C. (2012) Qualitative Organizational Research: Core Methods and Current Challenges, Sage Publications.
    Recommended articles will be posted on It's Learning.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Requirements for course approval

    In order to complete this course successfully, students must meet the following minimum criteria:

    • Do the readings and come to class prepared and with an open mind
    • Participate in class discussions
    • Work hard on the in-class and out-of-class assignments
    • Be responsive to feedback from instructors and other course participants
    • Make two presentations of their own work
    • Submit final course paper on time
    • Take responsibility for bringing their Learning to the Next Level

    Participants are expected to develop an empirical paper (approx. 20 pages) which analyzes and interprets qualitative data (preferably the students own data set).

    • First outline of paper due at end of week I
    • Presentation of paper draft final day of class week II (15 min)
    • Final paper: Due on September 1, 2014
  • Semester


  • Teaching language

    Teaching language

  • Teaching


    The course requires registration. Deadline: April 15. Maximum number of participants: 15

    Term: Spring 2014, dates: Week I: May 12-16 Week II: June 16-20 (Mon-Fri).

    The classes will be highly interactive, hands-on and discussion-oriented. This requires extensive student involvement and careful preparations prior to class. Participants will not only read about and talk about qualitative methods, but will also be expected to DO qualitative research.

    - An international team of active qualitative researchers from various fields (strategy, management, and marketing) will lead the course. The researchers bring in differential research experience from business contexts such as public health organizations, international corporations, entrepreneurial businesses, and consumer behavior.

    - Highly interactive, hands-on and discussion-oriented class that depends upon active student involvement. Assigned readings should be read prior to attending class.


    - Professors and participants will introduce topics and develop ideas together.

    - In-class discussions require active participation by all students.

    - Exercises in class will be based on student projects and student involvement.

    - A Facebook group will be used to establish contact and a discussion forum before, during, and after the course.

  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    This course introduces students to qualitative methods in the social sciences. These methods cover a wide range of approaches that are based on a variety of ontological and epistemological foundations. All imply the collection and analysis of empirical materials expressed in terms other than numbers. In general, enthusiasm for these approaches is based on the fact that they build on human beings´ natural modes of learning by allowing the researcher to observe, listen, exchane, take advantage og natural experiments and interpret in order to better understand phenomena through direct contact with the world. However, while everyday knowledge may remain tacit, scientific research aims to produce explicit knowledge or interpretations. For these to be credible, it becomes necessary to systematize the collection and analysis of information. This course aims to develop a toolkit for qualitative research which enables participants to learn the elements of choosing appropriate data collection strategies, organize data for analysis, and analyze data that will allow them to undertake rigorous and high-quality qualitative research.

    More specifically, the course aims at the following learning outcomes:

    1. The participants should know about the range of qualitative methods available. At the end of the course, participants should have developed an appreciation for different epistemological and methodological perspectives on qualitative research and be able to make appropriate methodological and analytical choices.
    2. The participants should be able to consider a range of criteria to evaluate the quality of research and tactics to ensure that this quality is achieved.
    3. The students should be able to set up qualitative research designs and chose appropriate methods to answer their research questions. Part of the course will take the form of a workshop in which participants will develop or present their current project and discuss it with colleagues.
    4. The students should be able chose appropriate strategies for analyzing and presenting qualitative data At the end of the course, participants shall present a first draft of a research paper using qualitative research methods.
    5. We expect participants to raise questions and discuss issues that are relevant to their theses and thereby develop their own research projects.
  • Computer tools

    Computer tools

    Ability to use the world-wide-web, library databases, word processing, e-mail, some knowledge in organizing data.;

    Social media.;

    Instructors will set up a "Linked-In" (or Facebook) group for participants to get to know each other and submit the above two pieces of information.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading Scale



ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Course responsible

Ingeborg Kleppe, Dept of Strategy and Management, NHH &

Inger Stensaker, Dept of strategy and Management, NHH &

International Scholars (visiting):

Cele Otnes , Professor in Business Adm. & Advertising, College of Business, University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign, USA &

Julia Balogun, Professor of Strategic Management, School of Management, Univ. of Bath Bth, UK &

Eileen Fischer, Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada