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Emory University

Qualitative Research Design

This course is part of Qualitative Research Design and Methods for Public Health Specialization

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

Karen Andes, PhD

Instructor: Karen Andes, PhD

Financial aid available

12,897 already enrolled

Coursera Plus

(101 reviews)

What you'll learn

Design a qualitative research project to respond to specific public health problems/questions.

Design strategies and instruments for qualitative data collection linked to study objectives and appropriate for the population of interest.

Address ethical concerns in qualitative research design and implementation.

Details to know

lecture on research design

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There are 6 modules in this course

This course introduces qualitative research, compares and contrasts qualitative and quantitative research approaches, and provides an overview of qualitative methods for data collection. It outlines a step-by-step approach to qualitative research design that begins by identifying a public health topic of interest, works to hone in on a specific research problem, and then specifies research questions, objectives, and specific aims. The course emphasizes the iterative nature of research design in qualitative inquiry and highlights the importance of specifying a population of interest, an appropriate sampling strategy, and potential approaches to recruitment. It introduces the relationship between these considerations and key concepts such as saturation and transferability in qualitative research. Finally, the course considers ethical concerns specific to qualitative research and potential solutions. Learners of this course will not only be able to put what they learn into practice, but they'll also develop a portfolio of qualitative research materials for career advancement.

Introduction to Qualitative Research

In this first week, you'll get the chance to explore characteristics and approaches of both qualitative and quantitative research, understand their differences, and acknowledge how both are complementary.

What's included

6 videos 4 readings 1 quiz 1 peer review

6 videos • Total 20 minutes

  • Welcome to the Course! • 2 minutes • Preview module
  • What Is Research? • 2 minutes
  • What Is Qualitative Research? • 3 minutes
  • How Is Qualitative Different From Quantitative? • 4 minutes
  • Five Basic Approaches to Qualitative Research • 4 minutes
  • Qualitative and Quantitative As Complementary Methods • 3 minutes

4 readings • Total 145 minutes

  • Course Outline and Grading Information • 5 minutes
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research • 20 minutes
  • Qualitative Inquiry • 90 minutes
  • Mixed Methods Design • 30 minutes

1 quiz • Total 20 minutes

  • Practice • 20 minutes

1 peer review • Total 60 minutes

  • Week 1: Comparing Quantitative and Qualitative Studies • 60 minutes

Qualitative Methods

This week, we'll look at two types of data that can be collected and dive into the three main data collection methods used in qualitative studies. Finally, we'll wrap up by discussing the concept of saturation and consider the lingering question, "how much data is enough?"

6 videos 2 readings 1 quiz 1 peer review

6 videos • Total 15 minutes

  • A Look at This Week • 2 minutes • Preview module
  • Types of Data • 1 minute
  • Observation • 4 minutes
  • Interviews • 3 minutes
  • Focus Group Discussions • 2 minutes
  • Saturation: How Much Data to Collect? • 2 minutes

2 readings • Total 135 minutes

  • Data Collection • 90 minutes
  • Saturation Point • 45 minutes
  • Week 2: Exploring Qualitative Methods • 60 minutes

Objective-Driven Design

In our third week, we'll discuss how to develop a problem statement from a topic of interest, craft research questions and aims, and discuss how this process all relates to objective-driven design.

5 videos 2 readings 1 quiz 1 peer review

5 videos • Total 21 minutes

  • A Look at This Week • 3 minutes • Preview module
  • What Is Objective-Driven Design? • 1 minute
  • Uncovering a Problem • 6 minutes
  • Developing & Refining a Problem Statement • 3 minutes
  • Developing Research Questions & Specific Aims • 6 minutes

2 readings • Total 75 minutes

  • Setting Up a Qualitative Project • 30 minutes
  • Resources for Developing Your Research Problem & Question • 45 minutes
  • Week 3: Identifying Your Research Problem • 60 minutes

Methods, Population, Sampling, & Recruitment

For our fourth week, we'll take a look at how to choose data collection methods that are best suited for your aims, explore the various sampling and recruitment strategies to select participants, and finally consider how research design is an iterative process.

  • A Look at This Week • 1 minute • Preview module
  • Aligning Methods with Aims • 2 minutes
  • Identifying a Setting and Honing in on a Population • 2 minutes
  • Sampling Strategies • 6 minutes
  • Recruitment Strategies • 2 minutes
  • Iterative Design • 0 minutes

2 readings • Total 95 minutes

  • Resources for Selecting Appropriate Methods • 35 minutes
  • Resources for Identifying Your Strategies • 60 minutes

1 quiz • Total 30 minutes

  • Practice • 30 minutes
  • Week 4: Identifying Your Methods, Population, Sampling, & Recruitment Strategies • 60 minutes

Research Ethics

Our fifth week is all about ethical considerations in qualitative research. As researchers, we need to be aware and take precautions to ensure our work with human subjects is never exploitative, deceitful, or harmful. We'll go over the key ethical principles to keep in mind when beginning a qualitative study.

4 videos 3 readings 1 quiz 1 peer review 1 discussion prompt

4 videos • Total 12 minutes

  • Overview of Research Ethics • 4 minutes
  • Key Issues and Benefits of Qualitative Research • 5 minutes
  • Strategies for IRBs and Ethics Committees • 1 minute

3 readings • Total 130 minutes

  • CITI Certification for Human Subjects Research • 10 minutes
  • Studies with Questionable Ethics • 30 minutes
  • Resources for Ethics in Qualitative Research • 90 minutes
  • Week 5: Considering Ethics in Research • 60 minutes

1 discussion prompt • Total 10 minutes

  • Ethics Around the World • 10 minutes

Course Project and Design Examples

In this final week, you'll combine all items of your research design for a final submission. We'll also review real cases of graduates in the MPH program to see the different approaches that can be taken.

5 videos 2 readings 1 peer review

5 videos • Total 47 minutes

  • Elements of Research Design: An Example (from Tamar Goldenberg's MPH Thesis Research) • 5 minutes
  • Candace Girod: Menstrual Hygiene Management at Schools in Nairobi, Kenya • 13 minutes
  • Wendy Avila: Exclusive Breast-Feeding among Women in Managua, Nicaragua • 15 minutes
  • Jasmine Kelly: Maternal & Child Nutrition in Rural Tanzania • 11 minutes

2 readings • Total 60 minutes

  • Interview Series • 30 minutes
  • Preparing Your Research Design • 30 minutes
  • Week 6: Your Qualitative Research Design • 60 minutes

Instructor ratings

We asked all learners to give feedback on our instructors based on the quality of their teaching style.

lecture on research design

Emory University, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the world's leading research universities. Its mission is to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.

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Learner reviews

Showing 3 of 101

101 reviews

Reviewed on Oct 2, 2023

It was really a difficult nut to crack but a very useful and descriptive course for those people who wants to do research

Reviewed on Feb 4, 2021

highly productive and a good source of learning. Thank you very much for organizing this professional platform for learners of enhancing their skills and knowledge.

Reviewed on Aug 10, 2022

It was excellent lecture by Dr Karren Andes and nice to be a student of this course!

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Frequently asked questions

When will i have access to the lectures and assignments.

Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in audit mode, you will be able to see most course materials for free. To access graded assignments and to earn a Certificate, you will need to purchase the Certificate experience, during or after your audit. If you don't see the audit option:

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What will I get if I subscribe to this Specialization?

When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. Your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

What is the refund policy?

If you subscribed, you get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. See our full refund policy Opens in a new tab .

Is financial aid available?

Yes. In select learning programs, you can apply for financial aid or a scholarship if you can’t afford the enrollment fee. If fin aid or scholarship is available for your learning program selection, you’ll find a link to apply on the description page.

More questions


  1. SOLUTION: Lecture 17 research designs

    lecture on research design

  2. Lecture Series

    lecture on research design

  3. What Is Research Design And Methodology

    lecture on research design

  4. How to Write a Research Design

    lecture on research design

  5. What Is Study Design In Research Methodology

    lecture on research design

  6. Lecture 2 Research Design

    lecture on research design


  1. Introduction to Research Design

  2. Research Designs and Elements . 28th April 2020 Lecture شرح مفاهيم مناهج البحث العلمي

  3. Lecture#17| intro to Research design| Reseach Methodology| elements of research design

  4. Presentation 2A

  5. Mixed Methods Research Design

  6. Introduction to research design #researchmethodology #research



    what research design is and what it is not. We need to know where design fits into the whole research process from framing a question to finally analysing and reporting data. This is the purpose of this chapter. Description and explanation Social researchers ask two fundamental types of research questions: 1 What is going on (descriptive ...

  2. Introduction to Research Design and Methods

    Next, we turn our discussion to a series of more pragmatic issues involved in research design generally. These include the most basic tasks such as selecting a topic, conducting research, structuring a research design, and constructing a theory to more advanced topics such as building hypotheses, writing a literature review, as well

  3. Qualitative Research Design

    Five Basic Approaches to Qualitative Research • 4 minutes. Qualitative and Quantitative As Complementary Methods • 3 minutes. 4 readings • Total 145 minutes. Course Outline and Grading Information • 5 minutes. Introduction to Qualitative Research • 20 minutes. Qualitative Inquiry • 90 minutes.