Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The unit aims to increase students' knowledge and skill in aspects of qualitative research methods appropriate to honours research. A variety of qualitative research approaches will be explored. Research questions, research design and research methods for qualitative data collection and analysis will be examined with a view to developing and conducting rigorous qualitative research studies.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Design, present and justify a rigorous qualitative research project (GA4, GA9) 

LO2 - Apply knowledge of ethical issues in design, planning and conduct of qualitative research (GA1, GA2, GA3) 

LO3 - Align the role of the researcher with a selected qualitative research approach (GA1, GA2, GA3) 

LO4 - Demonstrate knowledge and skills in selected qualitative research methods of data collection, presentation, analysis, interpretation and communication (GA4, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:  

  • Introduction to ontology and epistemology in qualitative research 
  • Introduction to research paradigms 
  • Overview of different qualitative methodologies  
  • Sampling  

Sample sizes  

  • Purposive sampling  

Snowball sampling  

Theoretical sampling 

  • Data collection methods  

Interviewing participants  

Focus groups  

Participant observation  

  • Data analysis methods 

Interpretive data analysis methods 

Critical data analysis methods 

Data analysis in grounded theory studies 

Thematic analysis 

  • Building rigour into qualitative data analysis 
  • Ethical issues in qualitative research 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered fully online to provide flexibility and self pacing options to students. This unit runs in intensive mode over the first six weeks of the teaching semester, allowing students to complete the unit mid-semester and commence work on their research study in a timely manner.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.  

The unit assessment provides opportunities for students to explore methodologies and analyses appropriate to their project. Students will produce academic work that aligns with their chosen project and will contribute to their thesis, receiving feedback that facilitates improved writing skills.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Discussion Forums  

This assessment task requires the students to respond to a qualitative research methods topic related to ethics on LEO and engage in discussion with their fellow students and the lecturer. 


LO2, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4,GA9

Assessment Task 1 

This assessment task requires students to choose a qualitative data collection and data analysis method and demonstrate their understanding of them.



GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA9

Assessment Task 2 

This assessment task requires students to write the first draft of their methodology chapter.


LO1, LO2,  


GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA9

Representative texts and references

Grbich, C. (2013). Chapter One: Introduction. In Qualitative data analysis: An introduction (2nd ed., ppp.1-38). Singapore: Sage.  

Anfara, V., & Mertz, N. (2015). Theoretical frameworks in qualitative research (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage. 

Berg, B., & Lune, H. (2017). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (9th ed.). Harlow, Pearson.  

Berger. R. (2015). Now I see it, now I don’t: Researcher’s position and reflexivity in qualitative research.  Qualitative Research, 15(2), 219-234. 

Hesse-Biber, S. (2017). The practice of qualitative research: Engaging students in the research process (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.   

Mann, S. (2016). The research interview: Reflective practice and reflexivity in research processes. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Morse, J. (2015). Critical analysis of strategies for determining rigor in qualitative inquiry. Qualitative Health Research, 25(9), 212-222. 

Silverman, D. (2013). Doing qualitative research (4th ed.). Singapore: Sage. 

Silverman, D. (2014). Interpreting qualitative data. Singapore: Sage. 

Yin, R. (2015). Qualitative research from start to finish, (2nd Ed.) New York: Guilford Publications. 

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