Qualitative Methods

Course content

This course provides you with general skills in qualitative methods and thereby puts you in a good position for getting the full benefit of thematic courses, report writing, thesis work, and a post-graduate career. It is a good choice if you are interested in methodology, if you are interested in collecting your own data, and/or if you are just interested in working with people, projects, and environment/development. 

 

In the course, we will, first, discuss what "knowledge" is, what "data" is, and what qualitative versus quantitative and mixed methods are.  Hopefully, you will become convinced that 1) qualitative and quantitative methods are not necessarily opposites, 2) that the choice of method should depend on the type of knowledge you want to pursue given available resources and context, and that 3) qualitative methods are indispensable if you want to understand anything about people-nature relationships.

 

Second, and this is the main part of the course, we will look into theoretical and practical aspects of different specific methods and research designs. This includes when and how to apply the different methods, the pros and cons of each method and of combining them, and how to ensure the quality of data. We will look at how to construct and carry out a questionnaire survey, how to carry out semi structured interviews, focus group interviews, participatory rural appraisal, participatory observation, and case study designs. Finally, the course will provide you with some knowledge about and tools for analysing qualitative data and data resulting from small scale questionnaire surveys. 

 

There will be plenty of exercises during classes. The lectures and exercises draw mainly, but not only, on examples from natural resource management in tropical countries. 

 

More or less in parallel to the classes, you will work with other students on a  group project. This includes practical data collection in the neigbourhood, and reporting on process and results. Critical reflections on your own choice of methods, and implications to the quality of your data form part of the report. The topic for data collection and reports will be relevant in a Danish context, and varies from year to year. 

Education

MSc Programme in Environment and Development
 

Learning outcome

The main aim of the course is to obtain essential skills in relation to conducting qualitative research, including in tropical countries. The students will demonstrate that they have obtained these skills through their contributions to group project reports and through oral exams.

The objective is that, at the end of the course, the students can demonstrate that they have

Knowledge:
1.Can describe the research methods, theoretical aspects of these methods, and other aspects of data collection, which have been introduced during the course, readings, and classes

Skills:
2. Can formulate a research question and/or a research problem, and can define and make the key concepts operational for an empirical enquiry in the field.
3. Can identify and choose research methods suitable for answering a particular research question/problem given a particular empirical context
4. Can argue convincingly for their choice of methods referring to theory as well as to the given empirical context.
5. Can apply the research methods and concepts introduced in the course
6. Can analyse data and draw conclusions in relation to a given research question/problem and reflect critically on own choice of methods and quality of data.

Competences
7. Through the project work, the students will demonstrate that they can work in a team under time pressure

Lectures, group project with practical exercises, case descriptions, theoretical exercises

See Absalon for a list of course literature.

Useful as introduction: Mikkelsen,B. 2005. Methods for Development Work and Research. A New Guide for Practitioners, SAGE

This course is open to all students who want to improve their skills, competences and knowledge about qualitative data collection methods in agricultural development and natural resource management. Examples will often be taken from a tropical country context, but you can benefit from the course also if you have other interests.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

The course is identical to LFKK10258U Qualitative Methods in Agricultural Development.

Oral
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
The exam will include a discussion of the project report (exam registration requirements) and questions that relate to the rest of the curriculum. No time for preparation.

The 20 minutes of examination include assessment.

Weight: Oral exam counts for 100% of final mark.
Aid
Only certain aids allowed

The student can bring the approved project report and max one A4 page of loosely written notes prepared at home. 

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

To obtain the grade 12 the student must fullfil the Learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 22
  • Preparation
  • 70
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Guidance
  • 3
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206