Qualitative Methods of Research – EDUC 817

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 10/18/2022

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)

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


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 provides 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. At the core of our society’s need to stabilize itself against a relentless current of revisionist historians, secular interests, and extreme ideologies is the need for Christian scholars to become skilled at developing and asking questions that support the spirit of the scientific method to seek both facts and truth.

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and Presentation

The Creswell and Poth (2018) textbook is used for this course and includes readings from the following chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11.

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 the Course Overview.

Five Approaches Table Assignment

Candidates will complete a chart that will allow them to define, explain, and discuss five major qualitative research methods. (CLO: A, D, G, H)

Article Critique Assignments (2)

During Modules: Weeks 3 and 6, candidates will read and critique an article based on information provided in Chapter 5 and the Appendices of the textbook. While there are five major qualitative approaches, this course focuses on the two most common methods: phenomenology and case study. Candidates will review one (1) phenomenological journal article and one (1) case study article related to their broader dissertation topic area of interest with a focus on reviewing the aspects of the qualitative method used in the article. The phenomenology article review will be completed in Module 3: Week 3, and the case study article will be completed in Module 6: Week 6. Candidates will use the online search resources found in the Jerry Falwell Library https://www.liberty.edu/library/. (CLO: B)

Discussions (3)

During Modules: Weeks 3, 4, and 7, the candidate will complete Discussions 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 Module: Week the Discussion is assigned and replies should be posted by the end of Sunday of the same Module: Week. (CLO: C)

Developing Interview Questions Assignments (2)

During Modules: Weeks 2 and 4, candidates will practice developing interview questions based on assigned research questions. This course offers 2 instances of developing questions and conducting interviews to develop a novice’s exposure to interviewing as a qualitative research skill. The first interview question assignment will be completed in Module 2: Week 2, and the second interview question assignment will be completed in Module 4: Week 4. (CLO: D)

Peer Interview and Interview Transcription Assignments (2)

In Modules: Weeks 4, 5, 6, and 7, candidates will practice collecting interview data by conducting two interviews with classmates from this course. Each interview should be brief and be audio recorded for transcription, which is the assignment deliverable. The first interview must be completed in Module 4: Week 4, and the associated manual transcript will be submitted in Module 5: Week 5. The second interview must be completed in Module 6: Week 6 and the associated automated transcript submitted in Module 7: Week 7. (CLO: E, F)

Initial Coding of Transcript #1 Assignment

The initial coding of raw interview data is the most common start to qualitative data analysis. After transcribing the initial data from interview #1 during Module 5: Week 5, the candidate will perform initial coding on that raw data in Module 6: Week 6. (CLO: G)

Theme Development Activity Assignment

Many steps to qualitative data analysis can be completed by the researcher depending on the approach used; however, all qualitative data analysis starts with initial coding and ends with theme development. The candidate will develop themes based on an assigned set of intermediate codes and submit the assignment in Module 8: Week 8. (CLO: H)

Quizzes (4)

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the assigned module. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 - 25 multiple-choice questions and have a 60-minutes time limit.