University of Technology Sydney

090014 Fundamentals of Qualitative Research

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Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 3 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides a practical introduction to qualitative research in health. Students build skills and knowledge concerning the role and application of qualitative research in health and the relationship between qualitative research questions, theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, data collection and analysis. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning by developing a proposal for a qualitative study and, with the approval of the subject coordinator, undertake fieldwork, analyse data and report the subsequent findings.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Justify the selection of a theoretical position, qualitative data collection tool/s and a method of analyzing data for a proposed study that is aligned with an appropriate research question
B. Identify a theoretical position in qualitative health research
C. Discuss practical and ethical issues in relation to non-probability sampling and participant recruitment, particularly in the context of research with vulnerable populations
D. Demonstrate data analysis according to a selected approach
E. Demonstrate rigor, trustworthiness and critical reflexivity
F. Apply quality reporting criteria for qualitative research

Teaching and learning strategies

This blended-learning subject is taught in three face-to-face workshops (3 hours each) and through weekly active online learning distributed over a period of six weeks. There is an expectation that students attend all workshops to get the most out of the subject. Online activities and tutorial-style face-to-face workshops give students the opportunity to prepare workshop activities, gain knowledge using a range of material including case studies and apply their knowledge in real-world exercises and role-plays. During workshops students will engage in group activities to discuss, analyse, and develop ideas to address contemporary public health issues using qualitative research methods and theory.

Online activities will provide students with relevant material to deepen their understanding of qualitative research concepts and theories. Assessments are designed to complement the learning by providing students with the opportunity to practically apply theories and track their understanding of qualitative research methodology relevant to public health. Students will receive feedback from teaching staff and peers in workshops, and in online discussion and activities and on assessment tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Theoretical perspectives in qualitative health research
  • Planning and designing a qualitative health study
  • Designing and conducting qualitative data collection methods
  • Accessing vulnerable, marginalized and underserved populations & gathering data on sensitive issues
  • Key concepts in qualitative research: rigour, reflexivity and transferability
  • Analysing qualitative data
  • Appraising qualitative research reporting


Assessment task 1: Research Proposal


This assessment enables students to develop a proposal for qualitative research.

Weight: 40%

Maximum 1,000 words excluding references

Assessment task 2: Fieldwork Report


This assessment allows students to undertake fieldwork, analyse data and report the subsequent findings.

Weight: 60%

1,500 words excluding references

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at: or Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve Your Academic and English Language Skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

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