Spring 2022 - HSCI 803 G100

Qualitative Research Methods (3)

Class Number: 6347

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 9011, Burnaby



Methodologies and strategic research design for advancing knowledge and understanding in the health sciences. Problem definition, sampling, data collection, analysis, proposal writing, and ethical issues are addressed. Provides experiential and intellectual grounding in interviews, focus groups, and ethnography.


This course will examine qualitative research methods for advancing knowledge and understanding in the health sciences. We will explore qualitative research design principles and techniques. The course will provide experiential and intellectual grounding in several qualitative data collection techniques. We will also examine the use of qualitative research to study the social determinants of health, and particular health issues.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the logic, purpose, strengths, and weaknesses of a variety of qualitative research approaches for advancing knowledge and understanding in the health sciences;
  • Describe the use of qualitative research for a variety of determinants of health;
  • Demonstrate introductory skills in qualitative research design including:
Development of research questions, attention to ethical conduct for research involving humans, and choosing appropriate sampling strategies, sample sizes, data collection techniques and instruments, and analysis plans;

Demonstrate introductory skills in a variety of research data collection techniques including:
  • Participant observation,
  • Individual, in-depth, semi-structured interviews, and
  • Focus groups


  • Class & tutorial participation 15%
  • Literature Review Assignment 25%
  • Interview assignment 35%
  • Final research proposal 25%


Class & Tutorial Participation (worth 15% of your final grade)

All students are expected to participate fully, as class and tutorial attendance is an important part of this participation grade. Marks toward this participation component of your grade will be earned through attending class sessions, tutorials, as well as completing participation tasks, exercises, and activities throughout the course. You will receive 1 point toward this component of your mark for each session you attend (e.g., +1 for each session or task) and each task you complete will be worth multiple marks. It is anticipated that most students will earn the full 15% for this component of your mark, as they will attend each session and complete each task.

Literature Review Assignment

Will provide an opportunity for you to find and examine qualitative research studies (focused on a topic of your choice), to summarize key findings and gaps in knowledge evident in the literature. This assignment is worth 25% of your final grade.

Interview Assignment

Requires you to conduct a short individual, semi-structured, in-depth interview and transcribe a portion of the interview, as well as conduct a brief analysis of the interview content. The interview guide will be developed through group work, and you will interview a classmate or fellow MPH student. This assignment is worth 35% of your final grade.

Final Research Proposal (worth 25% of your final grade)

You will summarize your learning over the semester by creating a description of a proposed Research Study, on a topic of your choice, using qualitative research methods. This assignment will involve group work with others interested in similar topics, and the deliverable will be in the form of a short research proposal.




  • Green, J., Thorogood, N. (2018). Qualitative methods for health research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • A detailed list of weekly readings will be distributed through Canvas, and additional readings will be found online or distributed through Canvas.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.