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Qualitative Methods in Health and Medicine

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Learning outcome

The following learning outcomes will be achieved after completion of the course:
The PhD candidate will:
  • Possess advanced knowledge of qualitative methods as a research field.
  • Possess advanced knowledge of classical and contemporary theoretical approaches and methods in qualitative research.

The PhD candidate can:
  • Consider and apply relevant qualitative methods for different concrete research projects.
  • Critically consider strengths and weaknesses in applying different qualitative methods for different problems and projects.

General competence
The PhD candidate can:
  • Organize and present selected research literature on qualitative methods and lead discussions in open seminars/groups.
  • Search for and apply qualitative methods to analyze a self-selected research problem that can be developed into a scientific article.


The course addresses a broad variety of approaches to qualitative research relevant to health and medicine. Through the course the PhD candidate is firstly provided with an overview of what characterizes qualitative research, which subsequently leads onto further development of in-depth knowledge and analytical skills at an advanced level. The course focuses on topics that are key to understanding and performing qualitative analysis in research within health and medicine, with the aim to build the candidate’s own competency to develop and conduct research projects.
Examples of topics:
  • Qualitative Research Approaches
  • Qualitative Research Designs
  • Qualitative Methodology and Methods
  • Reflexivity in Qualitative Research The Subjective Researcher
  • Challenges and Potentials for Practice-Near Research
  • Different Approaches to Data Analysis such as
      Qualitative Content Analysis
    • Systematic Text Condensation
    • Metasynthesis
    • Narrative Analysis
    • Practice Research
    • Text and Discourse Analysis
    • Psychosocial Analysis
  • Required prerequisite knowledge

    Master level within medicine, health sciences, societal safety, social science, or similar educations.


    Weight Duration Marks Aid
    Individual paper1/1 Pass - Fail
    • Individual paper of 5000 words (-/+ 10%) on a self-selected topic approved by the course coordinator.
    • List of self-selected literature (approximately 500 pages) to be submitted together with the individual paper.
    • The paper will be assessed as Pass/Fail.

    Coursework requirements

    • Presentation of scientific literature in open seminars/discussion groups.
    • Prepare a short abstract (approximately 250 words) on the self-selected research topic to be addressed in the individual paper. Abstract should include background, topic, research problem/question, and plan for relevant literature searches. The abstract will be approved by the course coordinator.
    • List of self-selected literature of approximately 500 pages relevant for the individual paper.

    Course teacher(s)

    Course teacher
    Birgitta Haga Gripsrud , Ellen Ramvi
    Course coordinator
    Birgitta Haga Gripsrud

    Method of work

    The working methods of the course will vary depending on research topics and number of participants. The methods will include supervision, scientific paper writing, presentation of scientific material, critique and defense. The course will be based on open seminars/discussion groups where the candidate(s) and invited lecturer(s) present(s) and lead(s) discussions related to the curriculum contents. A detailed timetable will be made available at the beginning of the semester.

    Open to

    PhD candidates enrolled in PhD programmes at the University of Stavanger (Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Health Sciences) or accredited universities/university colleges in Norway or abroad.

    Course assessment

    Early dialogue with the PhD candidates and submission of final electronic evaluation form according to UiS regulations.


    Mandatory course curriculum:
    Adjustments in the mandatory course curriculum may be made. Any adjustments will be published at Canvas at the start of the course.
    Main book
    Braun, V. and Clarke, V., Successful Qualitative Research - a practical guide for beginners, SAGE Publications 2013, Thousand Oaks, CA, 382 pages - selected chapters
    Articles and book chapters
    Alvesson, M. & Kärreman, D., "The use of empirical material for theory development" in Qualitative Research and Theory Development: Mystery as Method, SAGE, 2011, pages 1-22
    Alvesson, M. & Kärreman, D., "Research guided or assisted by mystery" in Qualitative Research and Theory Development: Mystery as Method, SAGE, 2011, pages 111-121
    Alvesson, M. & Skjöldberg, K., "Introduction: The intellectualization of method." In Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research, SAGE, 2009 (2000), pages 1-14
    Bondas, T., Hall, E.O.C, "A decade of metasynthesis research in health sciences: A meta-method study", International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being , Volume 2, 2007 - Issue 2, pages 101-113
    Creswell, J., & Poth, C., "Introduction" in Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks Calif: Sage, 2018, 1-14
    Dickson-Swift, V., James, E. L., Kippen, S., & Liamputtong, P., "Researching sensitive topics: qualitative research as emotion work" in Qualitative Research, 9(1), 2009, pages 61-79
    Froggett, L., and Briggs, S., Practice Near and Practice Distant Methods in Human Services Research, December 2012, Journal of Research Practice 8(2), 2012, pages 1-17
    Graneheim, U.H., Lundman B. Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness , Nurse Education Today, Volume 24, Issue 2, February 2004, Pages 105-112
    Graneheim, U.H., Lindgren, BM, Lundman, B., "Methodological challenges in qualitative content analysis: A discussion paper", Nurse Education Today, Volume 56, September 2017, pages 29-34
    Hollway, W., "Emotional experience plus reflection: countertransference and reflexivity in research. Special issue "The creative use of self in research: explorations of reflexivity and research relationships in psychotherapy." The Psychotherapist (62 (Spring)), 2016, pages 19-21.
    Longhofer, J., Floersch, J. and Hoy, H., "Quick-Start to a Qualitative Research for Practice", Qualitative Methods for Practice Research, pages 31-81

    Malterud, K., Siersma, V.D., Guassora, A.D., "Sample Size in Qualitative Interview Studies: Guided by Information Power", Qualitative Health Research, Vol 26, Issue 13, pages 1753 - 1760
    Malterud, K., Systematic text condensation: A strategy for Qualitative analysis., Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 2012; 40, pages 795-805
    Morse, J. and Niehau, L., "Mixed Method Design: Who Needs It?" in Mixed Method Design - Principles and Procedures, Left Coast Press, CA, 2009, pages 13-22
    Ramvi, E., et al., "The Visual Matrix Method in a Study of Death and Dying: Methodological Reflections." Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 2018, pages 1-22
    Ramvi, E., "I am only a nurse: a biographical narrative study of a nurse's self-understanding and its implication for practice. ."BMC Nursing 14(23), 2015, pages 1-9.
    Sørly, R., Karlsson, B. and Grant, A., "My mother's skull is burning: A Story of Stories", Qualitative Inquiry, SAGE, 2018, pages 1-11

    Suggested hand books as starting point resources for self-selected curriculum
    Ed. Seale, C., Gobo, G., Gubrium, J.F., Silverman, D. Qualitative Research Practice, SAGE, newest ed. 2007
    Ed. Denzin, N. K. and Y. S. Lincoln. The SAGE handbook of qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, newest ed. 2018

    This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

    Sist oppdatert: 27.05.2020