Advanced Qualitative Research Design and Data Collection Methods


About this course

The course’s educational activities comprise workshops with both lecturing and interactive learning, pre- and post-session exercises to practice and reflect on specific methods and their effects, required readings for study outside formal class time, and development of an individualised data collection methods strategy.

Students learn about & practice key qualitative methods while gaining exposure to how diverse theoretical lenses make use of these methods. The course covers: interpretation, representation & validity; reflexivity & positionality; power relations & ethics; participatory action research; interviewing; participant observation; actor-network and more-than-human approaches; data collection for discourse analysis; arts-based research methods; and visual research methods.

Two assignments are assessed in this course: 1) a group-generated portfolio of methods session reflections (25%) and 2) a personalised medicine wheel (60%) and personal learning reflection (15%). The medicine wheel (planning tool) invites students to consider and account for how what happens in one field (e.g., ‘Existential grounding) influences what happens in another field (e.g., ‘Harvesting & sharing’); to draw attention to what different fields (e.g., ‘Relational awareness’, ‘Cultivating co-learning & -creating’ and ‘Harvesting & sharing’) require of a researcher (e.g., ‘Existential grounding’); and to pay attention to how all of these four fields and the relationships between them transform throughout the course of a research project. This planning tool recognises the dynamic complexity and non-linearity of doing research and, in so doing, offers a more realistic (albeit messier!) insight into qualitative research design and data collection.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Assess the analytical value of different types of methods relative to the student’s own research questions and epistemological/theoretical positionings
  • Identify different types of methods’ particular logistical requirements and challenges
  • Anticipate ethical issues posed by the use of specific research methods
  • Design an individualised data collection methods strategy aligned with the student’s own research question and epistemological/theoretical positioning

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
Either Advanced Social Theory (RSO 58306) of the WASS Graduate Programme, Critical Perspectives on Social Theory (PhD Course) OR WASS Research Methodology: From Topic to Proposal (PhD course). The course targets both advanced Msc students as well as PhD candidates

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    6 January 2025

    • Ends
      31 January 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
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    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 24 Nov 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University