SOWK6185 (Elective)

Qualitative research methods

This course is designed for students with an interest in understanding all aspects of social life and social relations especially those who will undertake a dissertation study. Starting with the question what is reality, the course begins with an introduction to different perspectives on approaching reality, followed by an assessment of the general strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research in comparison with other conventions such as quantitative surveys. The lectures will focus on introducing the general process of ethnographic research and the variety of methods for data collection and analysis including ethnography, grounded theory, observation, interviewing, focus groups and narrative analysis, etc. Various cases will be used to demonstrate how qualitative research helps make meaningful policy and social work practice. Seminars will be organized around practical methodological issues with the objective of helping students proceed with their own research projects. Hands-on experience of a range of research techniques will also be provided.