Excerpt from course description

Doing qualitative research: Perspectives, traditions and craft


Qualitative studies incorporate a wide umbrella of approaches, from ethnography, action research, discourse analysis and process studies to more traditional case studies that may blend elements from many traditions. Typically, qualitative research will  focus on phenomena and processes that are subjected to repeated iteration between data collection, analysis and theory development, often involving thick description. Under scrutiny are typically processes and events in organizations (or parts of them), linked to all aspects of organizational behavior, such as leadership, innovation, learning, knowing, relationships, decision making or motivation.

The course provides an overview over types of qualitative studies, how to document, interpret, analyse and explain processes in the field using different types of data (written sources, interviews, field work). Data gathering can be viewed as implementation of research strategy, where the theoretical focus, sampling of the processes under scrutiny, categories for description and analysis as well as the write up of findings are closely connected.

The course emphasizes the relationship between formulation of research problem, design, data gathering and analysis. In addition to lectures and discussion, the participants will present and get feed back on how to apply qualitative methods in their own projects related to planned or ongoing data gathering or analysis.

Inspired by recent advances in "social science fiction" and to ensure availability of rich data, all students will be challenged to pick one or more scenes from a movie or tv-series as comparative data to sample and analyze in their term paper. This sampling should somehow be connected to the students' own primary research questions and core phenomenon or thematics that they are investigating.

The course is designed to cater to students at many levels of preunderstanding and is highly participative. The format is five intensive days, including one day for a term paper workshop where all students present and get feedback on their work - plus one shorter session for summary and evaluation.

Course content

The course takes place over 5 intensive days plus a two-hour summary session and individual feedback (36 teaching hours). See detailed schedule below under "teaching activities".

In addition to lectures and discussion, the participants will present and receive feedback on how to apply qualitative methods in their own projects. The exam will be a 15 page term paper (ca 5000-6500 words) that builds from data that the students have sampled and analyzed themselves.

Additional readings list will be made available. Articles through Google Scholar.


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.