Qualitative Methods of Research – EDUC 817

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course examines qualitative methods used in educational research, focusing primarily on participant-observation, asking questions, writing field notes, and on the transformation of these primary field data into written ethnographic documents. (Formerly EDUC 717)




The research problems addressed by the process of educational research often present a more complex problem than the use of traditional quantitative research approaches can satisfy. As a result of this complexity, there is the need for alternate ways to answer research questions. Qualitative research (as a paradigm of thought and as groups of methods and approaches) seeks to provide this alternate approach. Christian educational researchers must develop a diverse understanding of research methodologies and approaches to best apply the proper method in the practice of educational research.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the candidate will be able to:

  1. Define qualitative research and distinguish between it and qualitative research.
  2. Critique articles that use qualitative methods.
  3. Describe ways qualitative inquirers gather data.
  4. Delineate five major qualitative inquiry approaches.
  5. Write field notes based on participant interviews.
  6. Describe the general procedures followed in the analysis of qualitative data.
  7. Successfully implement APA writing guidelines.
  8. Identify criteria to use in evaluating a qualitative study.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

As the first activity in this course, please read the syllabus and Student Expectations. After reading the syllabus and Student Expectations, the candidate will then complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (7)

The candidate will complete discussion forums in two parts. First, the candidate should post a new thread in response to the provided prompt. Then, the candidate should reply to the specified number of classmates. Threads should be posted by the end of Thursday of the week the forum is assigned and replies should be posted by the end of Sunday of the same week (except for the final discussion forum in week 8; replies should be posted by Friday 11:59 pm of that week). (MLO: A, C, D, E, G, H)

Reading Summary

In Module/Week 1, candidates will have the opportunity to practice their APA writing and formatting skills through composing clear and concise chapter summaries for their assigned reading that week. The summaries should follow the format provided in the course and should clearly reflect APA style and writing. (MLO: A, D, G)

Research Plan Overviews

Throughout the course, candidates will build a preliminary research plan that will be submitted in three different stages (weeks 2, 4, & 6). (MLO: C, F, G, I)

Five Approaches Table

In Module/Week 3, candidates will complete a chart that will allow them to define, explain, and discuss five major qualitative research methods. (MLO: D, G, H).

Article Critiques (2)

During Modules/Weeks 3 and 5, candidates will read and critique an article based on the information provided in chapter 5 and the appendices of the textbook. The critique should be a double-spaced review of the study’s purpose, theory, methods, and major findings. Both critiques should also follow APA style and should match the formatting guidelines provided. (MLO: B, D, F, G, H)

Field Notes Interviews

Candidates will practice collecting data in the field through conducting two interviews with individuals who have earned a doctorate degree in the field of education. Each interview should be kept at about a 1-hour time limit and should be audio recorded for official transcription, which will be submitted. An interview template is provided with a detailed list of questions. Initial interview must be completed by Wednesday of Module/Week 5. The completed interview templates will be submitted in Module/Week 7. (MLO: C, E, G)