Title: Qualitative Methods in Health Systems Research
Keywords: Research (in general)
Qualitative methods
Country: Netherlands
Institution: The Netherlands - Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Amsterdam
Course coordinator: Marjolein Dieleman
Anke van der Kwaak
Date start: 2019-01-22
Date end: 2019-02-08
About duration and dates: 2.5 weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: KIT (Royal Tropical Institute), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
ECTS credit points: 4 ECTS credits
SIT: Student Investment Hours: 112 hours
Contact hours: 23 hours plenary class sessions, 12 hours tutorials, 9 hours practical exercise
Self-study hours: 68 hours
Language: English
At the end of the module/session the participants should be able to:
• Explain the concepts, paradigms and application of qualitative research methodologies in health systems research and differentiate between qualitative and quantitative research
• Critically appraise research proposals and results of research carried out by others on technical as well as practical merits
• Clearly formulate research questions based on a problem analysis
• Select and explain an appropriate mix of research instruments to investigate public health issues
• Formulate a feasible, consistent and logical small scale qualitative research proposal
Assessment Procedures:
Assignment to develop individually a research protocol (80%) and a critical review of a research proposal as a group (20%).
The focus in this module is the use of qualitative research methods within health systems research
• Introduction to HSR: Role of HSR; appropriate use of quantitative qualitative research methodologies; process of qualitative research
• Review of problem analysis and problem statement, formulation of research objectives, variables/issues, study type, data collection techniques, sampling/selection and recruitment of respondents for qualitative research
• Quality assurance and ethical considerations in health systems research
• Practical exercise on the full research cycle
• Qualitative data analysis
• Report writing, use of research for policy and practice
• Critical reading of research proposals
Interactive plenary sessions, group exercises, practical exercise among others on data analysis, tutorials, individual assignments

• Academic training or a professional qualification in a relevant area equivalent to BSc level.
• At least 2 years professional experience in a related area including public health management and planning, in a low income country
• English level TOEFL 550 or IELTS 6.0 (academic version)/
For the Spanish version no language test is required
25-30 students per group
Fees: 1980 EUR.
Scholarships: For this course funding from the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP, former NFP) is available for applicants from OKP countries. Additional information available at: https://www.kit.nl/health/study/okp-orange-knowledge-programme/
Major changes since initial accreditation:
1. A clearer focus on qualitative research has been introduced in all sessions and in the learning objectives, with more elaborate explanations on:
a. The process of qualitative research (reading material and practical examples)
b. The difference between qualitative and quantitative research during the introductory session
c. The course handbook used is: Anita Hardon et al (2005) Applied health research manual: Anthropology of health and health care. Amsterdam: Aksant

2. More time is spent on qualitative data analysis during teaching and the practical exercise
3. The module has been revised, with less number of hours in plenary teaching and within class more time to work on own proposal. In addition, four tutorials are offered instead of three. The aim is to allow more time and guidance for students to develop their own research proposal.
4. There is less focus on conceptual framework and students can do the problem analysis in different ways and this has proven to be effective
5. More consistency between tutorial sessions of different tutors is assured as:
• Guides and instructions for tutorials are provided
• Before the start of the module the tutors, who also mark the assignments of the students, come together to discuss the module in general and the tutorials in particular and during which they jointly mark and discuss a research proposal from the previous year
• After each tutorial session feedback sessions are organized with the facilitators to harmonize approaches
• During all session beamers/ projectors are used for presentations so less photocopying and printing is needed.
6. A more elaborate format for the assignment is provided to the students at the start of the module, including a tutorial guide.
7. Students critically assess a research proposal in groups and this assessment counts for the final mark.
Student evaluation:
Students are positive about this module, but mentioned the following issues:
1. They still need more time for understanding qualitative data analysis
2. There are still differences in approach among the 9-10 facilitators
3. They like the assessment of the proposal which helps them in strengthening their writing skills
4. They like the book which is clearly structured.
Lessons learned:
There is a need to spend more time on qualitative data analysis as this is still commented upon by the students.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited Bordeaux 2002 with 3 ECTS,
accredited in Edinburgh 2004 with 4 ECTS
re-accredited in November 2010 and in Basel, September 2015. This accreditation is valid until September 2020.
Remarks: Main changes since last accreditation

Most important evaluation remarks of students and facilitators:
1. A number of students had difficulties distinguishing qualitative and quantitative research; many people link research mostly to quantitative methods
2. Students were confused about data analysis for qualitative research
3. Tutorials should be expanded with less class sessions.
4. Students spent too much time on problem analysis and their problem tree, leaving insufficient time to be spent on other parts of the research proposals (eg sampling ,data collection techniques)
5. Tutorial groups were not harmonized in guiding students and during tutorials not all proposals received sufficient attention
6. Students did not all follow the provided outline for the proposal and the proposals at times had too many words on problem analysis, justification, and not enough text on sampling, data collection techniques, ethics and quality assurance
7. A session on critical reading of research articles and on using research for policy making was lacking

online application
Email Address: F.Maldonado@kit.nl
Date Of Record Creation: 2015-09-14 15:59:46 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2015-09-14 20:36:45 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2018-07-18 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2018-07-18 20:36:13 (W3C-DTF)

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