Courses » Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative Research Methods

About the course

Qualitative research methods serve to explore the grey areas that remain outside the confines of quantitative predictive research in human behavior. Training in qualitative research is absolutely essential to understand and explore the dynamic nature of the society in which we function.This course introduces students to qualitative research and helps them understand how qualitative research supplements quantitative inquiry in human behavior and the social sciences.

Bachelors Degree

Industries that will recognize this course


Course instructor

Aradhna Malik earned her Masters in Child Development from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India and PhD from University of Denver, USA. She has been serving Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur as faculty in the School of Management since 2008.Aradhna teaches intercultural communication, business ethics and organizational behavior to Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level students. Her research and academic interests include, ageing, orality, human technology interaction, intercultural communication, communication disorders, management of public health and neuro linguistic programming (NLP).


Course layout

Week 1: Introduction to qualitative research

  •  Introduction
  • The Qualitative Researcher
  •  Quantitative vs. qualitative research
  • History of qualitative research
  • The process of qualitative research

 Week 2: Major paradigms & perspectives

  • Dominant paradigms of qualitative research
  • Interpretivist thinking
  • Verstehen
  • Constructivism
  • Properties of constructions
  • Constructivism: Sub paradigms
  • Criticisms of interpretivism & constructivism

 Week 3: Major paradigms & perspectives (Contd.)

  • Critical theory
  • Characteristics of critical theory
  • Critiques of critical theory

 Week 4: Strategies of inquiry

  • Introduction to qualitative inquiry
  • Qualitative research design
  • Ethnography
  • Autoethnography
  • Case studies
  •  Analyzing interpretive practice

 Week 5: Strategies of inquiry (Contd.)

  • Grounded Theory
  • Participatory Action Research

 Week 6: Methods of collecting & analyzing empirical materials

  • Observations
  • Interviewing
  • Interpretation of documents & material culture
  • Images & visual methods
  •  Autoethnography, personal narrative & reflexivity

 Week 7: Methods of collecting & analyzing empirical materials (Contd.)

  • Analyzing talk & text
  • Data management & analysis methods
  • Software & qualitative research

 Week 8: Interpretation, evaluation & presentation

  • The problem of criteria
  •  Interpretation
  • Writing
  • Evaluation and social programs
  • Qualitative research and social policy
  • Conclusion

 Certification exam:

• The exam is optional for a fee. Exams will be on 23 April, 2017

• Time: Shift 1: 9am-12 noon; Shift 2: 2pm-5pm

• Any one shift can be chosen to write the exam for a course.

• Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.

• The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.


• Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score.

• 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of 8 weeks course: Best 6 out of 8 assignments.

• E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT KHARAGPUR. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.