EER501 Qualitative Research Methods (8)

This subject introduces students to the field of qualitative research. The first half of the subject requires students to critically engage with some of the major theoretical debates which both define the field and delineate between different kinds of qualitative research. The second half of the subject asks students to apply the ideas discussed in the first half by conducting a piece of qualitative research in an area of their own choosing. Taken together, the two halves of the subject seek to help students to make connections between the theory and practice of qualitative research. Using a structured and sequential list of readings, stimulus questions and spaces for student reflection, the subject prosecutes a single objective; that all research method choices should derive from philosophical and theoretical principles which can be explained and defended, as opposed to simply conforming to taken-for-granted ideas about how research should be done.


Session 1 (30)
Bathurst Campus
Session 2 (60)
Bathurst Campus
Session 3 (90)
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: EER501. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Teacher Education

Assumed Knowledge

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to discuss different rationales for using qualitative as opposed to quantitative research methods and provide examples of contexts in which qualitative research methods may be appropriate;
  • be able to describe at least three different ways in which theories may be used in and produced by qualitative research;
  • be able to discuss two examples of the way specific philosophical positions might lead to specific methodological decisions;
  • be able to offer arguments for and against the proposition that qualitative researchers should take explicit political positions concerning the subject matter of their research;
  • be able to pose a precise and manageable research question and appropriately defend the use of particular qualitative research methods to answer this question;
  • be able to competently complete a single phase of qualitative data collection, using a research method of their choice and in a subject area of their own choosing; and
  • be able to conduct and document the systematic analysis of a single qualitative data set using a data analysis tool of their own choosing.


This subject will cover the following topics:

- methodological and philosophical diversity within the field of qualitative research; - the 'social' and the 'cultural': exploring the subject matter of qualitative research; - using different kinds of theories: folk, grounded and grand; - the question of politics: should researchers take sides? - ethics in qualitative research; - refining research questions and selecting cases; - data collection and analysis 1; - examples of fieldwork data collection techniques; - data collection and analysis 2; - analysis and going beyond the data.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of EER501 in Session 3 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Brief proposal for a trial
Report and reflection on the trial

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: October 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.